ur final day of temple hunting took us back to some favorites, and also took us off the beaten path around the main complex of Angkor Thom. Again, our excellent guide Lim was an essential tool, taking us in, though, and around the various complexes.
We woke before dawn for the rather long tuk tuk ride to Pre Rup. The temple location was an excellent venue for sunrise, and we’d confirmed it two days earlier on our early morning venture to Banteay Srei. This time we stopped and made our way around the temple, looking for the best spot from which to capture the early morning color.
During our stay in Siem Reap, there was a photo exhibition and contest going on. One of the exhibitioners had a rather impressive set of work and one very impressive image of his was the lions at the Pre Rup temple. In the right light, with the right backdrop, magic happens.
Anne and I spent a bunch of time capturing the majesty of the temple, and I helped Anne by acting as a subject, both posing for various images as well as performing action “jumps” from different levels of the temple.
As the Lonely Planet puts it, “there is something of the spirit of Ta Prohm here, albeit on a lesser scale…” They have that right. The road to the temple was covered in sand and our tuk tuk driver had to make a heroic effort to both keep his moped upright and the tuk tuk from getting bogged down in sand. But the trip was worth it.
Like Ta Prohm, Ta Nei shows just how much the jungle can take back that with humans have tried to conquer. Roots and moss roam freely. Small in scale, this temple is large in atmosphere and given the general tree cover, seems like a ripe photographic subject at just about any part of the day.
We concluded our tour of new temples with Preah Kahn. We exited Angkor Thom via the north gate and shortly arrived at the temple. Much like Ta Nei and Ta Prohm before it, this temple is also home to the influence of the jungle, though on a lesser scale.
Lim quickly angled back towards an area of the temple that was being restored, and into a camp used by the workers. There we came across a small fire over which was a set of frogs on skewers. Frogs are considered great eating, and the workers had set traps to catch frogs for just this purpose!
It was a beautiful temple, and I was sorry that I was feeling both dehydrated and tired because I would have loved to stay for longer or come back in the morning when the light would have been softer.
Angkor Wat and Bayon
We concluded our last day of temples with Angkor Wat and Bayon. We’d been to both of these temples before but it was only fitting that we ended where we started. These temples are simply magnificent at any time of the day and Anne and I are both sad that we’ll be leaving soon. However, we feel truly overwhelmed that we’ve had such a magnificent time exploring such a magical place!