Our second day around the Angkor Temples was suppose to start with an opportunity to catch a sunrise over Angkor Wat, but when our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am, I realized it was raining and the our sunrise was cancelled.
I trudged back to bed and we only woke up again for breakfast, as we had another day temple raiding to do, only this time, we were going off to see the less popular temples outside of the main circuit of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Our first stop was Pre Rup, which gave us a taste of things to come, as it was a temple built with stone much redder than those of the temples we had seen previously, also these temple seemed to be worse state. However, here the red stone and the green moss on it, created a brilliant contrast of colours, especially with the grey morning clouds in the background.
From here we moved to some more sandstone temples at Banteay Srei, which lie 25 Km from the main sites of Angkor. Banteay Srei, like Pre Rup is made from sandstone, but what this temple different to the others we had seen, is its scale, as it times it feels like a miniature temple.
We walked around taking in the magnificence of the intricate stonework, but also the hilarious Korean, Japanese and Chinese tourists and the photos they love taking at these sights…
Once we were done, we returned towards the main Angkor complex, having lunch on the tuk-tuk ride down (especially after paying almost $20 for lunch the day before).
By the time we got to Eastern Mebon temple, the clouds had opened and the blue sky gave some great contrasts together with the red sandstone sculptures dotted around the temple. When we arrived at the temple, my first instinct was to ask whether we hadn’t been here before, as it seemed so similar to Pre Rup.
Temple fatigue was starting to set in, as some of these temples on their own are enough to be a major pull in any other location, but next to places like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, some of the smaller, less preserved temples lose some the well deserved ‘respect’ and magnificence.
After Eastern Mebon, we headed to Ta Som, a temple, which unlike, Pre Rup, Banteay Srei and Eastern Mebon, look much more like the temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, more greyish stone. Ta Som also, like Ta Phrom, at places is overrun with trees.
It was here that we met a very sweet, but annoyingly persistent girl trying to sell her tourist souvenir wares to us. She heard us speak Portuguese, and thinking it was Spanish, started trying to flog her things in Spanish, to our amusement as we soon saw here do the same in English and Chinese.
After being amused by this little girl we went to find Thu, to take us to the final temple of the day just outside Angkor Thom, Preah Khan. This temple is odd due to its cruciform shapes, with its almost never-ending corridors spanning in four directions from the center. We walked along only two axis’ missing out one of the Preah Khan’s oddity, a two-storey building, which still has no explaining as to its function.
Day two at Angkor was coming to an end, and we were exhausted from our temples traipsing, and yes, despite suffering from temple fatigue, these were still amazing structures and still well worth visiting this country for.
This post is based on our day of the 25th of September 2012.
Entrance Fee: Three day ticket for use of up to a week = $40
Transport: Tuk-tuk for a day to Banteay Srei and other Angkor Temple= $16