Big Ancient Temples via Bike

Angkor Travel Blog

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Angkor Wat (those colorful blobs at the bottom are people)

To start the day, we packed-up all of our things in anticipation of moving to a new guest house or at least a different room.  After talking to the lady at the guest house and looking at a room with a worse fan, Arum agreed to stay where we are as long as they clean the room (especially the toilet).  We had breakfast of fried rice and noodles with tea.  We got our bikes from our guest house that we asked for the last night.  They turned out to be alright but not the best.  The bikes were pink and blue but I ended up using the pink bike since the seat on the blue bike was tilted really far up in the front, which I didn't like.  The brakes on the pink bike didn't really work but it was ok.

We rode to the Angkor temples and bought our $20 day passes.

Side of Angkor Wat
  The Lonely Planet guidebook said anything less than 3 days would be an injustice but we seemed to see everything in one day without a problem.  All of the temples were spaced out so the bikes were needed and a good choice.  First, we saw Angkor Wat, which is the pride of Cambodia.  It is on their flag and is the name of their national beer, etc.  It supposedly is the largest religious temple in the world but that might be just counting the 1 square kilometer that the temple sits on.  There is a large rectangular moat surrounding it and then the exterior wall.  Once you get inside, there is a huge courtyard but it is so big and filled with trees it really isn't a courtyard.  Before entering the actual temple, I had to use the restroom and after using the outside urinal some guy appeared asking me for money but I refused and walked away since it seemed pretty sketchy.
Steps on last level of Angkor Wat


On the outside of the bottom of the temple is a series of bas relief carvings that were pretty neat.  A whole ton of carved figures all around the bottom.  After circling it, we climbed up the first flight of 'stairs.'  All of the temples today had stairs that were so steep that sometimes they were more like a rugged rock wall.  The temple had three levels that you kept climbing up and some beehive structures on the very top.  It was impressive since the whole thing was so massive.  After Angkor Wat, Steve went up a really steep hill to a temple on top where you could oversee the whole area.  Arum didn't want to climb all the way up so she waited.

Then, we went to Angkor Thom, which was a big city enclosed by a wall.
Top level of Angkor Wat
  Inside of the wall, we passed a group on monkeys in the road.  There were at least 20 and one snuck up behind me and jumped on the back reflector of my bike.  We went to the main temple there, which has more bas relief carvings on the bottom and a couple levels you climb up.  A neat feature were 30-something rock pedestals that had rock faces carved in on all 4 sides.  Everywhere you looked there were these rock faces looking down at you. 

Arum had to go to the bathroom so after finding out they put the bathroom ridiculously far from the main attraction, we biked to it.  Then we had lunch and upon walking near the restaurant area, three people with menus came running at us.  Arum couldn't decide between the three menus while the employees competited for our business by lowering their prices and offering us free fruit with our lunch.
Bas Relief of Grilling Animals and Meat Sticks (Angkor Thom)


After lunch, we went to another temple in Angkor Thom.  Except for one side, it had ridiculously steep steps, which were an adventure to climb.  We rode our bikes around looking for what was labeled the 'Royal Palace' on the map but didn't really find anything.  We left Angkor Thom and went to another tall temple that had almost no detail in it and climbed to the top.

Finally, we got to the last of the three most popular temples.  It has not been reconstructed and the forest is not cleared away from the temple.  There were a lot of trees growing on the temple in crazy ways that you wouldn't think was possible.  Apparently 'Tomb Raider' the movie filmed at that temple.  We went to a similar temple but it started to rain.  Our long bike ride back to our hotel was an adventure since it was raining most of the way.

We returned our bikes at our guest house and changed.  We had dinner and used the internet.  Then, it was time for bed.

 

Steve

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Angkor Wat (those colorful blobs a…
Angkor Wat (those colorful blobs …
Side of Angkor Wat
Side of Angkor Wat
Steps on last level of Angkor Wat
Steps on last level of Angkor Wat
Top level of Angkor Wat
Top level of Angkor Wat
Bas Relief of Grilling Animals and…
Bas Relief of Grilling Animals an…
Angkor Thom (see the faces)
Angkor Thom (see the faces)
Steve on top of the temple
Steve on top of the temple
Climbing the really steep stairs
Climbing the really steep stairs
Arum at the top of a temple
Arum at the top of a temple
Angkor
photo by: ulysses