Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

Tuk tuk getting flat tyre repaired

Ruins of Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Arching tree root at Beng Mealea

Green depths of Beng Mealea

What's through that door...?

One of the old causeways across the moat at Beng Mealea

More to explore....

Reflections of the beautiful Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

The gorgeous red sandstone of Banteay Srei

Sandstone doorway at Banteay Srei

Some of the exquisite carving at Banteay Srei - Shiva going "boom-boom"

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(AVI - 1.33 MB)

The greener side of Beng Mealea

(AVI - 1.69 MB)

Another part of Beng Mealea

Ended up having an early night last night, all this drinking, bike-riding and being overawed was wearing me out. An interesting phenomonom with money here, in that $1US = about 4,000 of the local cash, and nearly everything is costed in dollars, but as there are no cents, change is always in riels. A slightly complicated system that reminds me of pre-decimal money in England. And another tip: don't buy any guide books unless you want to plan in advance, they are all cheaper here as OK bootlegs, as little as $2US, sometimes less.

What to do today? My guidebook talks about a place called Beng Mealea, about two hours from here, as "the ultimate Indiana Jones experience". What more motivation do I need! So last night I negotiated a tuk-tuk for Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei, the prettiest of the Angkor monuments, and also a bit far for a bike. (The tuk-tuks in Siam Reap are slightly different in that they are very much trailers fixed to a bike, and come on or off as necessary). What a great day I had!

Beng Mealea was just fantastic; completely overgrown, piles of huge stones and bits of ruins all mixed up with jungle, and you could go wherever you liked, none of that Health and Safety bollocks. There were very few other people there, just mostly the incessant noise of the crickets and weird jungley whooping noises. I got lost a bit a couple of times, and some ways were either impassable or potentially dangerous, but basically I just clambered and climbed and burrowed for hours, indulging my Victorian explorer fantasies. It was great! The best place yet around here. And then a long, bumpy and dusty drive to the small but extremely pretty red sandstone temple of Banteay Srei, covered with exquisite carvings, and glowing in the sun. Heart-lifting in its beauty.

And then back to town, where after a daft amount of mind-changing I have finally settled on a definite plan, specifically to leave here tomorrow night, heading for Saigon via Pnomh Penh. So, its back to Vietnam!

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