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Monday, June 21, 2010

Siem Reap - The Imaginarium Of Banteay Srey, Neak Pean, Preah Khan, & Night Market

We had to cross the road and walked another 100 meters to find our tuk-tuk driver. We went behind a row of stalls that sell food and drinks for lunch.

“Mana dia nih?” “Dia mesti tido kat mana-mana ni…” hubby claimed. “There…there…” a man, who was a tuk-tuk driver, directed us.

We walked behind the stalls and found few drivers were sleeping under the trees. From afar we recognized our tuk-tuk that was in blue and orange color and saw Mr. Saly was sleeping in his hammock that has been hung from end to end of the tuk-tuk.

“Mak aih, camtu pun bleh ke?”

We approached him, speechless. Didn’t know whether we should wake him up or not. I sat on the platform nearby. Hubby later said,

“Tak leh jadi ni…kang lambat…” “Salyyyyyy, Salyyyyyy…bangun…” he continued.

Mr. Saly quickly woke up and smiled. He dissembled the hammock and invited us onto the tuk-tuk.

“Semalam saya chit chat dengan ustaz…sampai pukul 6 pagi…” “Tak balik rumah?” “Tak…”

No wonder this morning we saw him slept in the hammock, in front of the hotel. He must have been afraid of getting up late.

“Ok…brapa temple lagi?” “Ada 5 temple lagi…”

He drove us to the East baray of Angkor and we stopped at one reddish stone temple, Pre Rup, that usually heightened during early morning and late afternoon under the sunlight. It has 4 pyramids that encircled the main pyramid, where each tower represented Hindu god. Anyhow, almost all the passageways, towers and the walls were partially collapsed.
We didn’t go deeper into this multi-tier temple. We just stopped at the first tier and snapped few funny pictures at the door frames and temple ruins, in Hindi style. Hahaha! We were too scared of heat, and that was it, off we walked out from the temple. Tak pasal-pasal je kang mati katak kena runtuhan.

We walked back to the tuk-tuk and continued our journey. On the way, we had a very interesting experience, where refill in air into tyres, is chargeable! See, how bad Cambodian need money for their living. It was a kid who refill it in, with both of us on the wheels! We felt so bad but Mr. Saly said we were not needed on the ground. Hmm…as you wish.
Along the way to Banteay Srei, we saw another familiar vista where their village was similar to ours. Houses and stairs were made of wood, half bricks at the ground floor, with zinc or “nipah” rooftop, just exactly like our “rumah kampung”. Villagers’ handicrafts were sold along the road, with their famous palm sugars are cooked at the front.

However, they were so poor till 80% of the houses were built using “daun nipah” and only “daun nipah”…sorry to say, just like a chicken barn. Doors and windows were covered by a piece of curtain, with not a single room in it. And yet, they have many kids. Few donated water wells from other countries and companies were seen in front of these houses, ready to be shared. Or else, they will dig a pond or spread out plastic bag and waited for rain to fill it in. No clean water in Cambodia and that is why, NEVER, EVER drink pipe water!
Buttttttttt…people with car, ARE truly rich in Cambodia. They have big and beautiful house, more rooms, and enough food for the family. Lucky huh?
Since it was still at the end of dry season, the surface of soil was still dried and the canals were still waterless. After almost an hour, we reached Banteay Srei temple in 38km from Siem Reap. It was known as the citadel of women and was built in 10th century, a century after Borobudur, Indonesia. It was popular with beautiful carvings, that best watched during afternoon, where the reddish stones lightened by the sunlight.
Looking at the map, we had to walk another 200meters L-shaped dirt road to reach the main temple. The entrance here was much far better than others, as it has ATM, info counter, toilets, expo, shops, café and restaurant.
While ignoring the sellers who kept on calling us to buy things, we saw a group of men busy cutting a very big tree into pieces. There was also a man cutting grass around the fast grown “sen pidor rice”, that yield crop only in 110days. Many tourists walked in a group with their tour guide, especially Japanese and Koreans, who were not well versed in English. We once in a while, threw a chance to hear what has been explained about the temple. Hehe!
We reached the main gate of Banteay Srei and saw many people loitering in front of it, waiting to get in. We snapped a picture at the Angkor Patrimoine Mondial monument while waiting. We later went in and adored the walls that covered with beautiful pink sandstone carvings, that gave it a fairytale ambiance. There were 3 possible visits, left, right and front. We went to the right and snapped few pictures by the wall. We saw a pond behind it.
Since too many people in front of the temple, we walked towards the outer right part of the temple. There was an observation platform for tourist to view the temple without any obstacle from the 6feet-height wall. The view was serene since only two of us on the view deck and no one else. We decided to walk around the outside of the temple to enter from the back side of it. The path was cleared from grass, so we had to make sure we were on the right track, to avoid landmines. (Eiii takut! Ada lagi ke?)
There was a group of landmine victims who played instrumental Cambodian song at the back entrance. The same method, they will play a song when someone is approaching. We passed by and enter the temple area. From here, we can see wall carvings that be carved exactly like wood, that tell visitors of Hindu myths and epics. The central tower was seen being guarded with figures of monkey-faced statues and guess what, this was the only temple that wasn’t built by the monarch, where else, it was credited to the counselor, who served the king. Haaaa…glamer kan? Again, with RM3 umbrella, we gave a shot lah.
We noticed that we were walking in the opposite direction when everyone started to walk towards us to the back side of the temple, where we first came. We thought of getting out via the front door was a brilliant idea, but, we actually had to put extra effort by squeezing ourselves in between groups of Korean and Japanese and English and Germans and you name it, just to get ourselves out from there! Hahaha! Anyway, we managed to get ourselves out…yeay!
On the way out of the temple, we stopped at one of the shops and bought a piece of t-shirt for me, and walked out to find our tuk-tuk driver.

“Mesti tido lagi ni…mana dia?” “Tuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Jauh gile!” I pointed to one tuk-tuk that located 20 meters away.

“Dia bleh tido kat situ pakai hammock je…” “Adeh…asik kena jalan jauh je…kena bagitau dia ni pasni…nasib baik la dia baik…” I said.

We approached him and woke him up. We later continued our true Cambodia style journey, both, via the dirt and tar roads, village and federal roads, to reach Ta Som temple. Short cut la ni. This small, classic, haunted look, miniature version of Ta Prohm, had almost collapsed but restoration works were currently being done by Apsara. We just snapped few pictures of the front view and at the front gate, since we had enough of the same design and built, again and again.
Noticed that funny SATELLITE-shaped of his umbrella? That's what you get when you buy RM3 umbrella at MyMydin. Hahaha!The next temple would be Neak Pean, a small island temple that was also known as coiled serpents, taken from the coiled nagas (again, not dragon ye, ular kepala banyak) that encircled the temple. Before the eight pools surrounded the lotus-shaped tower, there was a statue of a horse, saving the drowning sailors. Thus, the water here were thought to have healing properties. Since we came on dry season, there was no water in the pond. Anyhow, it was the best time for us to see animal and human headwaters, spouted at the outside center of each and every pool.
Walking back from the temple took another 100-150 meters. At the end of the road, there were locals selling fruits and souvenirs. (I tell you, asam dia sedapppp sangat.)

“Kita pegi temple lagi satu…the last one…” Mr. Saly informed us. He must be weird and tired, having us on his tuk-tuk, and never stopped asking what’s next on the list. Bila tah nak abis.

The final stop of Angkor trip was ended by visiting Preah Khan, which was 2km from Neak Pean. It was a huge complex that was named as sacred sword which served as Buddhist monastery and school for 1000 monks, which was also a residence of the king in a short period of time. Similar to the architectural of Ta Prohm, that was built for the king’s mummy, this Preah Khan was built for the king’s daddy. Fair lah kan, sorang satu.
Anyhow, opposed the Hindu god that built to enter a temple from the west, this temple was built in the name of Buddha, that entered from the east. Sebab tu banyak yang kena vandalized, sebab pengikut lain-lain. We took our chance to snap few pictures in the middle of the temple ruins, by the side of one big garuda statue carved on the wall. Takut je ada ular keluar ke hape…eiiii!
This Prasat Preah Khan had its own gallery where the staff sedap je tido dalam hammock masa kitorang masuk. Hahahaha! Tak kuasa dia nak melayan kot. Tido lagi baik. We entered the gallery and read those info boards. Next to the side table, there was a guest book.
“Ha kita tulis nak? Ramai gak orang M’sia ni…” I suggested.

“Ramai cina…” hubby browsed the M’sian visitors name wrote in the book.

“Kita tulis kita dari Papua la…” we laughed. “HAHAHAHA ok dah!”
We went back to the tuk-tuk and headed back to where we came from. It was good to know that we had to bypass the memorable Victory Gate and the great Angkor Wat again. Leaving behind the rural area and approaching the town, caused a mix feeling. We saw mothers carried babies in line, must be a free-treat by government to the hospital. Few kilometers from the hospital, there was an Angkor National Museum that was having statues exhibition.
We asked Mr. Saly, where we can get a halal food in town. He told us he loved to eat “amok”, a famous local fish curry, but it was kinda expensive for him. He showed us one shop but there wasn't any halal sign, and all nice restos served pork. We ended up eating at one Western resto that served seafood.
While waiting, we heard one noisy sound came from the outside of the restaurant, macam bunyi loud speaker orang ajak tengok boxing tau. Satu round, hilang bunyi tu. Then datang lagi satu round. I asked the waitress,

“What is he doing?” pointed at one topless petite guy with six packs tummy.

“Errr…I don’t know how to say…errr…like doing magic…” she hardly explained.

“You mean, he does tricks in front of people?” I even asked harder.

“Aaa…like that…” she confused.

I enthusiastically looked at that guy and waited for him to do something amazing. He was pushing one cart that contained single-sized mattress, cleaver, circle-shaped steel ring with spikes around it. He later took out the mattress and laid it down on the road, preparing the steel ring, ready to jump in and landed on the mattress (I guessed). Great! It's a mini Circus! He then aware that I was looking and waiting for him to do the circus act, but…
HE PACKED HIS THINGS AND PUT THEM BACK IN THE CART! Cipet tul…I was frightened when he looked straight to my eyes! I moved nearer to hubby...asking for perlindungan la konon, but hubby dah gerak dulu! Haha!

I think, I might need to pay that circus guy some amount of money kot before I can see him doing some act…takkan free je kan. Hahahaha!

We went back to the hotel and rest for few hours. We then went to the Angkor Night Market that was located 5 minutes from the hotel. Another tuk-tuk driver was provided by the hotel and this trip was a complimentary. How bout coming back to the hotel? We need to get a chargeable tuk-tuk lah.
This market was an awesome place where local products and souvenirs sell in low-priced. I managed to get fridge magnets, t-shirts, and souvenirs for loved ones. In short, whoever wants to try variety of tea and coffee, you can get them here, but not the famous Kampot pepper of Angkor. And not to forget, the beautiful traditional Krama shawls. (Weird enough, hubby bought one...)
We thought of going back on our own but we were lucky enough to meet the same tuk-tuk driver, who just parked his tuk-tuk right in front of us. Without any further question and a smile on his face, he ignited the starter and invited us, and drove us back to the hotel, for free! What an excellent customer service he had provided us. Bravo Palm Garden Lodge!

More pictures here!


byya said...


your driver tu u chartered from the hotel ke? if pegi sendiri bleh ke?

Lily Riani said...

i tak pegi the first temple.... u hired tuk2 jek? guide?

Biqque said...

byya, if u cari tuk2 luar pun bleh, but kena study la tempat2 yg u nak gi tu...ada gak diorang buat tour camni...i amik tuk2 hotel sbb rega cam sama je, lagipun senang...and hotel kitorang kat area dalam skit so malas nak cari tuk2 luar...

lily, kitorang hired tuk2 je, guide tarak...mmg slalu camtu pun sbb kitorang jenis dah ada info dlm buku hikmat tu, so baca je la...cuma kekadang tu pepandai la tanya2 local ke, dengar2 guide orang lain ke hehehe...

Fatt said...

sengah jek ko tulis camtu..hahaha...pasni aku nak tulis BM lah jgk! :D

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