October 24, 2008: Roluos Group and Siem Reap
Had breakfast at 7:30 am and
at 8 met my guide and driver
for one last temple tour. We
drove east to the Roluos
Group. This group consists of
three temple complexes and
dates back to the 9th century.
Our first stop was at Lolei. The
main attraction are 4 towers,
but overall it is in poor
condition. On the temple
grounds is a new Buddhist
temple and several buildings
which house monks.
Next stop was at Preah Ko, the Sacred Bull. This complex has 6 towers remaining, but the surrounding
buildings are pretty much in ruins. Some of the carvings, however, are still in pretty good shape. Two little
boys were climbing around on some of the stones.
Our last stop was the largest monument in the Roluos Group, the Bayon. Bayon's temple mount is
another replica of Mount Meru. It has 5 levels, which represent the 5 cosmic levels of Mount Meru, the 5th
level of which is reserved for the gods. Around the Bayon is a large moat. We entered through a
causeway over the moat. On the main temple, elephant statues are on every corner of the first three
levels. Some still in decent shape, some without head and trunk. Schoolchildren were asking for a
donation for their school and I gave them a couple of bucks. We stayed their for a while before going back
to Siem Reap.
We were back at the hotel by about 11 am. I wanted to take advantage of the decent weather (i.e. no rain)
and walked into town. Visited the Old Market and went through its stalls. Bought a couple of T-Shirts and
a soccer shirt for my son. Walked around Siem Reap for a while longer until the sky threatened to open
up. Back at the hotel I had a late lunch.
Later in the afternoon, I went back to Angkor Wat. I took a tuk-tuk. Lots of them to choose from outside of
the hotel. Once at Angkor Wat I was hoping for some nice weather to take some more pictures, but it
remained cloudy and relatively dark with some on and off drizzle. Around 5 pm I went to the carpark,
found my tuk-tuk driver and he brought me back to my hotel.
At the hotel they had buffet for dinner and as I am not a buffet guy, I decided to go to the Tell restaurant
again. There was an elder Australian guy staying in the hotel who also disliked buffets, so he joined me.
My tuk-tuk driver was still outside the hotel and we took his tuk-tuk to the restaurant. The food again was
really good and there were a lot of Westerners in the restaurant. After dinner, we both went to downtown
Siem Reap to Pubstreet and sat down at one of the bars outside. Had a few beers. Next to us was an
Italian photographer who I had met earlier at Angkor Wat and we were talking for a while. Again, Siem
Reap has a nice atmosphere to it. Luckily, it was not raining anymore.
We finally went back to the hotel on a tuk-tuk. There were so many tuk-tuk guys there at Pubstreet, it was
surreal. They kept watching the tourists in the bars and as soon as one stood up and left they were
swarming over them to offer their rides. Same happened to us and as there were so many, we bargained
hard and got a 2 dollar ride back to our hotel. After a night cap at the bar I went to bed.
|Tower at Lolei (left) and
more than thousand year old
bas-relief of Apsara (right)