Angkor Wat day 3 – I started to become very confused about the temples.
According to the tour guide, Beng Melea used to be the palace of the king. The place is huge, and there is quite a lot of empty space. The tour guide explained that the space was for houses but since those houses were made of wood, they were eroded away. He said most of the people lived in this palace were women. So, I asked him, ‘were they the king’s concubines?’ ‘No. The king didn’t get married at all, unlike those ones in China. The women were here to accompany the king.’ That sounded like concubines or mistresses to me.
The place was full of fallen rocks. We had to climb up and down the big rocks. Some of the paths were very narrow and sometimes we couldn’t find the paths at all. It was fun. The brochure said, ‘live out your Indiana Jones dream here!’ Yeah, it did feel like that.
As we left Beng Melea, I smelled something strange in the air. The tour guide asked me, ‘Can you smell something?’ ‘Yes. What is it?’ ‘It’s dog meat. People are cooking dog meat.’ ‘What?!’ Oh, poor doggie. :_( I didn’t want to stay there any longer.
The tour guide told me the rice that they used was Siem Reap rice and Siem Reap rice was exported to other countries. With USD1, you can buy 2 pieces of bamboo rice… or more. But the tour guide said to me, ‘Since you are a tourist, it costs USD1 for 1 piece.’ Huh?! And then he asked the vendor not to give me the change (the vendor took some Cambodian money out from her pocket and handed that to me but the tour guide waived at her and told her not to) and then the tour guide took a few more pieces of bamboo rice from the vendor without paying. So, I paid for him. It was something about honesty. I didn’t really like it. Even in 2019, this kind of dishonest behaviour still existed.
|Related post: Check out other Authentic Local Cambodian Food that I ate in 2019 here.
After tasting the bamboo rice, we headed to Roluos Group. Rolous Group was built in the late 9th century. The architecture style and the carving are therefore different from Angkor Wat. There are 3 temples in Roluos Group – Lolei, Bakong and Preah Ko. And here we were at Lolei. Lolei means city. Well, there are only two towers in this city. The towers were built for the ancestors.
Lolei, Bakong and Preah Ko share similar architectural style. After all, they were built during the same period. Preah Ko is bigger than Lolei but smaller than Bakong. It has only 6 towers – 3 in the front row and 3 at the back. Like any other temples, you can find Sanskrit on the columns of the towers.
After visiting all the temples, the tour guide asked me where I wanted to go. Yesterday, after visiting the NGO school, he said he could take me to his house and I think he had forgotten about his promise so I reminded him. He obviously was quite surprised that I could remember, so there we went.
It was Christmas time when I went there. Most of the Cambodians are Buddhists so they don’t celebrate Christmas but in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh where you can find more tourists (and even expats) than other cities in the countries, you can find nicely decorated Christmas trees. Most of the time, they are for commercial purpose. However, there are also Christians in Cambodia. Those people celebrate Christmas in churches and then have dinner or party afterwards. You can also check out the Christmas dinner I attended in Phnom Penh in 2019 here.
12 – 14 December 2008