Angkor Wat Day 3

Angkor Wat day 3 – I started to become very confused about the temples.

Entrance of Beng Melea
Ruins of Beng Melea

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.

Ruins of Beng Melea
Beng Melea survived the war and the reason why it has turned to this state is mainly due to erosion or natural disaster.
Imagine how big the spider would be.
A goddess hidden amongst the roots and stones
If you want to find some treasures, like this statue, you really have to pay attention and look around. They can be behind the roots or above some stones.

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.

Bamboo rice. The tour guide said, ‘ok, I am going to take you to try some local authentic Cambodian food.’ The driver pulled over and the tour guide showed me the bamboo rice. The rice was wrapped with bamboo and then the whole thing was burnt.
This is what the bamboo rice looked like. It looked like a banana, doesn’t it?

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.

Lolei

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.

Sanskrit was found on the walls in Lolei. It tells the story of this place.
Bakong. Another part of the Rolous Group. Bakong is a lot bigger than Lolei. It has 7 or 8 big towers and several small towers.
Preah Ko
Preah Ko

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.

Sanskrit can also be found in Preah Ko.

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.

The tour guide’s kitchen. He emphasized that he didn’t have gas for these stoves. It looked like the kitchen in the village where I stayed at in 2019. Click here to check that one out. In fact, the tour guide was a beneficiary of UNICEF. A water pump in his house was donated by UNICEF.
Christmas trees could be found in the night market in Siem Reap.

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.

Catholics were attending mass in a Catholic church on Sunday morning. This was also very similar to most of the churches I went to in Cambodia in 2019. In Phnom Penh, since there are more expats, Catholics don’t need to sit on the floor if you attend the mass in English. However, for the Khmer ones, you still need to sit on the floor. The reason why they all sit has something to do with Khmer Rouge. You can find it here in my other blog.
National Museum in Siem Reap. It displayed many artefacts from Angkor Wat temples. Highly recommend you to go there before you go to Angkor Wat then you don’t need to hire any tour guide. In fact, some of the things that the tour guide told me were different from the ones stated in the museum.
A hot air balloon flying above Angkor Wat
Goodbye Siem Reap. See you again in 2019. LOL!

12 – 14 December 2008

2 thoughts on “Angkor Wat Day 3

  1. On both of our visits to Angkor Wat we didn’t take a tour guide, which just hired a driver. The first time in a car, but the second time when we knew that this is sufficient we just took a Tuktuk. The information given in our travel guide was sufficient for us.

    1. Yes, it’s true. Many tourists didn’t use a tour guide. I don’t recommend it too. The tour guide said something different from the national museum anyway. That reminds me of the kid in Slumdog Millionaire. Lol!!

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