6:20-8:00 Banteay Srei
Falling asleep on the back of a moto might seem difficult, but waking at 4:45 coupled with the soothing drone of the engine put me in a weird stupor, punctuated by sharp, panic-filled jerks whenever I tottered to the side or clunked heads with the motodop. Slapping myself in the face seemed to do the trick.
How did I get in this situation? I wanted to see Banteay Srei, a less-touristed temple 45-min north of Siem Reap on the back of a moto. I also wanted to see a sunrise on my last day in Angkor, but the weather didn’t cooperate (again). Banteay Srei was deserted for the first hour I was there, and then only a handful of people showed up. It was one of the more architecturally interesting temples I saw thanks to impressive restoration efforts.
View from across the moat
Detailed sandstone arch
Inside Banteay Srei
8:30-9:45 Banteay Samre
On the way back to Siem Reap I decided to make a detour to nearby Banteay Samre. Only a handful of people here as well.
Blue sky finally
Inside the courtyard
10:00-10:30 East Mebon
The sun was finally out and East Mebon was baking. A big tour bus pulled up just after I got there, so I made quick work of this temple.
Looking up at the towers
One of four guardian elephant statues
4:15-4:40 Ta Som
After the mandatory lunch/nap/photo upload session a huge storm rolled in, throwing a wrench into my plans. By 4 it had let up a bit, so I bought a ridiculous rain poncho, covered my gear with a plastic bag and took the moto to Ta Som. It wasn’t worth the effort. The rain miraculously stopped when I got there, but Ta Som turned out to be a small temple that paled in comparison with the giants I’d explored previously. It was also infested with mosquitoes, who didn’t bite but swarmed around my face trying to land on my eyeballs. I complicated things by accidentally plunging my tripod into an anthill. It wasn’t a pleasant place.
(ten billion mosquitoes not pictured)
4:50-5:30 Pre Rup
Hoped for a magnificent sunset here but it wasn’t going to happen. Pre Rup was still very cool. For some reason every other person here abruptly left at 5, leaving the place to myself.
12 sec auto timer, really had to scramble for this shot
Rest of the temples here.
Next: Bangkok and Chiang Mai