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Roluos Group, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Another of the outlying temples, the Roluos Group is strangely laid out, as though still unfinished

Everywhere there seems to be piles of rocks like this

The temple itself is simple, a single tower surrounded by unfinished smaller structures

What I love about the temples is how you can find carvings and sculpted figures in the most obscure nooks and crannies. Every rock, whether standing or discarded, seems to bear some significance or hide some carved secret.

Me & Tara, enjoying a rare breeze atop the temple. Climbing temples all day is no easy feat under the scorching sun :|

Photos: Fuji underwater camera

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Banteay Samre, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Banteay Samre is one of the more outlying temples, so it was much less crowded than the ones in the central loop

These kids seem to live/hang out here, and at first were game for photos but soon were trying to corner me into giving them money. So much for that.

I guess compared to other temples, there doesn’t seem to be anything different or unusual about this, but actually, you get to appreciate it more because it’s so deserted. I got to explore and walk and climb about freely, and it was not as vast an area as the other bigger temples so this really felt like a life-sized temple playground. The temple “heads” are built so close to each other that you can climb from head to head just by hopping over or carefully stepping over the gap between them

In one of the central heads, there was a small makeshift prayer room of sorts, with a candle and mat. It was a serene moment.

That’s Tara trying to mimic a kowtow

Still worth a visit, if you seek a more personal and quiet time around the temples, as opposed to the sneaker-clad crowds bustling around everywhere. Even though temples can start to look alike, you can still find details and corners to love and appreciate. I guess that’s why in a lot of ways I prefer these outlying, more obscure sort of temples.

Photos: Fuji underwater camera

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Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia

After our waterfall trek to Kbal Spean, we visited the temples along the outlying areas of Siem Reap. One of these was the Banteay Srei, which also turned out to be another favourite of mine.

There was a marked decrease in number of tourists here. Maybe it was the sheer distance? It was farther out compared to the temples in the main loop (the ones we visited in the days before), so maybe tuktuks frequented these less? I don’t know, but in any case, I was grateful for the breathing room!

Happy li’l kids. They were nice enough to pose and smile for my camera

There was a small area along one wall where artifacts and such were displayed

Look at those gorgeous details

Now entering the main temple area (I’ve noticed that for most, if not all, temples, there is usually an entrance, followed by a long walk through a park or garden of sorts, before coming upon a second entrance that leads to the actual temple)

More beautiful ornate stone carvings

I love how you can always find little surprises in the carvings—like stories or special characters or unusual subjects marked into the stone

See the elephants framing the god/deity below? So many intricate details!

Through a little window, a peek into the temple—are those monkey men statues?

Those monkey-men-looking statues are everywhere. It’s a distinctive feature of Banteay Srei—I didn’t see any other temple with these monkey-like deities

How cool is this

Aside from the main temple, there are also all of these random smaller structures in ruins all around. Toolsheds and guardhouses, maybe? Haha

I love trees, especially leafless, branchy, spindly, veiny ones. Basically the ones that look mangled and old and like they came out of a tim burton film. So you can understand why I love this tree stump!

I think I’d like a chair like this in my room.

Another cheery kid cycling about

This is the entrance/tourist information center of sorts for the site. Interesting pattern the shadow makes from the bamboo-laden roof.

Photos: Sony P200, Fuji underwater camera

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Kbal Spean, Siem Reap, Cambodia

One of the things I was most interested in seeing/experiencing was going to the waterfalls of Kbal Spean (sounds kind of like the name of a Mortal Kombat character). I’ve only ever heard of temples and temples in Cambodia, and it would be interesting to see a more nature-hinged site.

Little did we know, it would be a 1500m hike up to the waterfall (3km roundtrip). I was ill-prepared. I wish I’d worn my scuba shoes instead, but I had on my white leather Supergas, which were great for walking but I didn’t think they were really made for hiking :|

It was a boulder-filled trek, and at some point a giant boulder jutted out into a cliff overlooking the jungly overgrowth of the mountain (the picture really doesn’t do it justice)

Yay at the 500m mark!

This rock was being photographed by a lot of people, so I snapped a quick shot of it. But I have no idea what it is :|

On the way to the falls, lots of Twilight-esque sun-streaked meadows

We found this spot funny because of how the light and shadows were, dramatizing the whole scene. Tara and I both have shots looking like kids of the jungle.

Majority of the trek looked like this: boulders! Well lots of little rocks too, but look at those boulders!

Finally at the falls! It was kind of underwhelming because we were expecting a 10-storey high cascade of water down the side of a ravine, and instead got this tiny little thing.

It was still a picturesque place though

Very jungle book/ tomb raider ish

And of course I had to get on top of those boulders, and sacrificed my Superga babies! My socks got a bit damp but luckily my shoes were fine :))

Don’t expect an epic waterfall, but the hike and the views and the jungle are all worth the excursion!

Photos: Fuji underwater camera

Filed under cambodia cambodian asia siem reap kbal spean waterfall waterfalls travel travels adventure trek trekking rock boulder bouldering hike hiking nature excursion superga asia 2010

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Pre Rup / East Mebon, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Pre Rup and East Mebon are similar (not sure if identical) temples built North and South of each other, and our driver brought us to one—I’m not sure which.

The most distinguishable aspect here is the red color on the brick—most of the other temples had natural stone-colors. These were a combination of mudbricks, minerals and bricks and rocks I think.

This was a more chill sort of temple, but maybe only because there weren’t as many tourists when we were here. It was a pain to climb, because at this point the sun was really on our backs. I had to use my umbrella as a climbing stick to keep from touching the hot rock. Still worth the visit (maybe you can just pick one, too!)

Photos: Sony P200 + Fuji Underwater Camera + Makeshift filter (my shades!)

Filed under cambodia cambodian siem reap pre rup east mebon asia travel travels adventure backpacking temple temples ruins history angkor bricks tomb raider asia 2010

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Thommanom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thommanom is one of the first few temples we visited, and it was very understated (I can’t think of another word for it). It wasn’t grand like the Angkor Wat, or labyrinthine like Ta Prohm…it was laid out quite simply, with a few low-standing structures and steps which are humble compared to the stairways-to-heaven that other temples had.

I liked it, though. Maybe it was the novelty of the temples, or maybe there was just something about it being so small and disregarded that made me like it.

And of course we took this opportunity to pose as statues (this is one of the few pedestals that weren’t too high that we’d be dead if we fell off)

Photos: Sony P200

Filed under travel travels cambodia siem reap thommanom thommanum temple temples ruins cambodian asia history asia 2010

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Preah Khan + Ta Som, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is also one of my favourite temples, a large part because of the awesome trees

I love how the rocks have a reddish/greenish hue, sort of like they’ve imbibed the earth over the years. I don’t think the rock started out looking that way

And I love how ginormous trees randomly sprout up out of structures, or wrap around temples, or just rise up from the ground like something out of the Lord of the Rings

An ancient structure which, despite everything beside it having fallen down, is still quite intact

One of my favourite trees. We had so much fun camwhoring here

This seems like such a great tree to build a treehouse on

Look at these awesome agey textures

I’m miniscule compared to those tentacley roots

In the back, another temple extension (I’m not sure which one is Preah Khan and which one is Ta Som, but I think the temple in the back is Ta Som)

Another favourite tree! How awesome is it

And what a giant!

I am an ant in comparison

And look, a little hidden surprise nestled in its branches! <3

Photos: Sony P200

Below: BTS on how we got on that ledge hahaha

Love love love <3

Filed under cambodia cambodian ta som preah khan asia travel travels siem reap temple temples ruin ruins ancient trees textures asia 2010