A view of ordinary Cambodian life on our way to Banteay Srei
On our agenda today are the more remote temples of Angkor Historical Park; Banteay Srei in the north and the Roluos group in the east. First, we head to Banteay Srei. Our driver Djam wants some extra dollars for this trip because of the distance we are going to cover; this sounds reasonable to us. Moreover, he correctly requests it in advance, so we agree. On the way, we get a glimpse of ordinary Cambodian life; we pass primitive stilt houses, cattle, water buffalo, and rice fields. Without making too explicit photos, I take a few shots whenever there is an opportunity.
A Hindu temple with refined sculptures
For those willing to make an effort to visit the more remote temples of Angkor, I would say that the temple of Banteay Srei is worth the trip. It is located 32 kilometers above Siem Reap. The temple has refined sculptures; that is why some people claim it must have been designed by a woman. Moreover, this place of worship is not dedicated to a king, as it is devoted to Hinduism. And it is genuinely, breathtakingly beautiful. After the visit to the temple, while when we consume a drink, Djam tries to explain why the Thai and the Khmer politically disagree; despite a common cultural background, Thailand still claims land from the Khmer.
Endeared by a boy while visiting one of the remote temples of Angkor
The next temple we visit is the Banteay Samre, which I forgot to check during the preparation for this trip. And that is undeserved because again this is one of the more unique remote temples of Angkor Park, with many remnants still in good condition. During my walkabout an 8 years old boy, Pui, invariably follows and approaches me; he is only wearing shorts.
A cookie instead of handing out money
His English vocabulary is limited to a few words, like one hundred, one dollar, photo, and bonbon. I try to make it clear to him that he is not getting money from me. As I am almost through my temple tour, I give him one of my remaining cookies. Pui is pleasantly surprised, folds his hands together, and thanks me twice. When I leave the temple, he says: ‘Goodbye friend.’ Little gestures can be endearing.
An unrealistic proposal
Then we retake lunch at the place where we did yesterday, near the Eastern Mebon. The girls still know us there, and of course, they want to sell more goods to my traveling partner. This time, however, he refrains from buying. My adorer from yesterday does not leave my side. She wants to drink beer tonight, and, if I pay for the trip, she will follow me to Battambang, our next stop. That all sounds appealing, but it is hardly realistic.
The Roluos group temples are somewhat disappointing
Djam takes us to the Roluos group, where we visit the Lolei temple, not that special in itself. At the food stalls, advised by our driver, I taste a pork satay with salty vegetables. Then we explore the Preah Ko temple site, also not a great place of interest, to end our tour of the remote temples of Angkor at the Bakong temple. Unfortunately, this also remains below my expectations. Anyway, we did see enough important monuments during our 3-day tour.
Siem Reap was a highlight
At the farewell and the settlement for the guiding services back at the guesthouse I give Djam a bonus for the extra gasoline he had to buy today. My partner and I decide to have dinner at the hostel tonight. Siem Reap and Angkor Historical Park were an absolute highlight while in Cambodia. Tomorrow we will be on the way to Battambang to visit new horizons and gain new experiences.