Angkor Wat Off The Beaten Path

  • Household on stilts, Kompong Phluk village
    Household on stilts, Kompong Phluk...
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  • Komplong Phluk village
    Komplong Phluk village
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  • The guest house in Kompong Phluk
    The guest house in Kompong Phluk
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Angkor Wat

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    The Mona Lisa of Banteay Srei

    by bpacker Updated Dec 12, 2007

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    Devi, Banteay Srei

    Unlike Angkor Wat, the female figures at Banteay Srei are not apsaras ( celestial nymphs) but dieties.Most of them are simply dressed in a loose sarong, with garlands of pearls around the waist and bangles around the feet and feet. Some of them also wear heavy earrings on their elongated ear lobes. They are more life-like compared to the female figures found in Angkor as their feet point in a natural direction instead of sideways like an Egyptian figure.

    Now, other than Sanskrit Writing, the divas noticed something different about the female form in Banteay Srei. Most of them found here were goddesses rather than dancers. How did they tell the difference? Well, take a look at this picture for instance. The female figure that you see in this picture is a devi (female deity) as she is placed in a shrine and depicted as an auspicious figure of fertility and blessing. Note a lamp suspended over her head and the geese below her feet.

    Extra note of interest.
    This devi with the alluring smile was nearly stolen by Andre Marlaux, the French novelist . So in love was he with the Mona Lisa of the Jungle that he later went to jail for her. Tsk, tsk, crime doesn't pay but does it? Marlaux got out of jail and went on to be a Minister in France. Sheesh..

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    A Sad Little Zoo

    by Etoile2B Written Oct 3, 2007

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    A sad little monkey.
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    Sadly I don’t know whether to list this here or under ‘Warnings or Dangers’. Walking up to the trailhead at Kbal Spean we noticed a zoo. We wanted to hike up to the lingas before the sun got too hot so we decided to check it out on the way back down. The gates were slightly ajar and there wasn’t another soul in site but we entered anyway. This was a pitiful excuse for a zoo and the few poor souls imprisoned here were horribly neglected. I wish there had been some way to liberate the crane and monkeys, sadly their cages were locked so all we could do it pity the poor unfortunate souls housed here.

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    • Zoo

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    Roluos Group of Temples

    by thedouglas Updated Jun 29, 2007

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    Entry to  Bakong

    The three temples of Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei are located near the village of Roluous, and extend over a rougly 3km area. These date back to the 9th Century, and is the earliest accessible group of Angkor architecture. The style of these temples - architecture characteristics, decoration, material and construction methods - are said to represent the beginning of the classic period of Khmer art. They are brick structures with sandstone deities in niches and lintels.

    One of the best reasons for visiting this area is the remarkably good condition of the artwork here.

    Roluos is roughly 12 klms from Siem Reap, taking the road to the Central Market out of town. The temples are signposted. There were very few tourists here when we visited - but still plenty of kids to surround your car with postcards and scarves!

    Roluous is the site of the Hariharalaya civilisation - where Jayavarman II relocated the capital from Mount Kulen in 802AD. Successors stayed here until the capital was moved to Bakheng in 905AD.

    The temples are constructed of square shaped brick towers, with stucco facing. The columns, lintels and sculptures are carved in sandstone. The artwork and decoration of this group are kala (monster head), Vishnu, garuda, female figures, guardians and apsaras. There were some really beautiful, well preserved carvings and sculptures to see here.

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    • Architecture

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    Angkor Wat Tower

    by iwys Updated Mar 27, 2007
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    Each of the towers of Angkor Wat reperesents one of the peaks of Mount Neru. They are covered with bas-reliefs, but you can see that weathering is taking its toll, as many of them are badly worn.

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    Along the waterpath....

    by Monster78 Updated Mar 23, 2007
    To where? I do not know.

    Above the engine powered slow boat, I peer below at the man's belongings. He is en route, like me, but to where I am uncertain.

    "Excuse me, sir, please don't move. I'd like to capture this moment because you and your wares make the contrasting turquoise paint come to life." I ask politely in the privacy of my head.

    I'm drawn to color. I appreciate the fading but once bright color of the boat's deck to his peach short sleeve shirt. The unripe green bananas next to crumpled white bags and a background of dark rippling waters creates a dimensional effect.

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    Roulous Group

    by blisscoti Written Jan 2, 2007
    Lolei
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    The Roulous is located about 13km southeast of Siem Reap, away from the other temples. It consists of three temples built by Indravarman I, namely Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei. The temples are representatives of the Preah Ko lintel styles of architecture. They have some of the most beautiful of all Khmer lintels - rich, well-craved and imaginative.

    Preah Ko is an elegant small brick temple with six towers and lime mortar decoration. You may find inscriptions encraved on the sides of the door jambs.

    Bakong was the first significant temple-mountain, with its five tiers of its pyramid symobolising Mount Meru.

    Lolei was an island temple. The artificial island on which the temple was built is today a large terrace. It has blind doors that are carved from stone monoliths. One interesting point about this temple is that I noticed that there are neatly placed piles of loose stones around the temples. Probably the work of the local children, but it makes up for a queer sight.

    Roulous is not one of the must-sees, especially given that it is not near the other popular temples. But as it is less popular with tourists, it gives you the solitude of exploring the temples and you get to interact with the school children who hangs around the temples. If they give you flowers and weed rings with a smile, do return their request for some money to buy books with a smile too.

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    Les Chantiers Ecoles Silk Farm

    by blisscoti Updated Jan 2, 2007

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    Dyed silk treads
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    There will be a silk farm guide who will lead you through a tour through the process of silk production, right from the cultivation of mulberry tree to the weaving of silk. There is no entrance fee but feel free to tip your guide for his service.

    My guide is earnest and despite having just learnt English, he gave us a comprehensive tour of the silk farm. There is a gift shop at the end of the tour where you can get some of the best silk products produced in the country apparently.

    The driver will know the place. Not the most interesting place, but it's good to know more about one of Cambodia's main trade.

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  • blisscoti's Profile Photo

    Miniature Replicas of Angkor's Temple

    by blisscoti Written Jan 2, 2007

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    Miniature Angkor Wat

    It is actually the garden of a respected local master sculptor that showcases the miniature replicas of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and Banteay Srei. Entry costs US$1. The miniatures are the results of years' of hard work by the sculptor. It provides you an pseudo-aerial view of the temples and great detailing that are reminiscent of the actual temples.

    A quaint place to visit if you have time to spare.

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    Land Mine Museum

    by blisscoti Written Jan 2, 2007

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    Land Mine Museum

    The Land Mine Museum is run by a local de-miner, Aki Ra who was jailed on more than one occasion by the authorities on accusations that there are still live weapons kept at the site. It is believed that this brush with authorities come from the fact that there was another War Museum open near the airport.

    There is no charge to the museum. Donations are welcomed. The museum is located a distance away and you have to pass some rather rough terrain of deep potholes in order to reach the humble museum. If you are looking for a building with glass encased landmines, you have come to the wrong place. This museum is a simple shack with informative posters and explanation of the curse of land mines in Cambodia. You can to fully apprehend the extent of the curse as you meet the victims themselves who are living at the museum itself.

    On the outskirts of Siem Reap, the driver will know where the place is. This is indeed an off the beaten path place to explore to know more about the history of Cambodia and how its war past still haunts its people years after.

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    Praying at Angkor Wat

    by MikeAtSea Written Nov 8, 2006

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    A nun at Angkor Wat

    Within the temple complex one can find many monchs and nuns. In this particular temple I was the only tourist around and this nun took my hand and did a prayer for me. A moving moment, even though I did not understand what she was saying, her gentle way and this little gesture was one of the most enchanting moments I had during my visit in Cambodia.

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    Bantaey Srei

    by wen_viaggio Updated Oct 22, 2006

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    The temples of Bantaey Srei
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    Bantaey Srei was known as the citadel built by women, and those meticulous and intricate carvings on the temples reflect their monumental effort.

    It was unfortunate that, on my trip to Bantaey Srei, the skies decided to rip and let loose their buckets of tears. The rain and clouds blotted out the sun, and the temples lost a bit of their glow that comes with the aid of sunlight.

    Bantaey Srei is located about 18km away from Siem Reap. A tuk tuk would be able to get you there.

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    Beng Mealea, Peace In The Jungle

    by kidfree Updated Sep 25, 2006

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    Outer Walls
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    Imagine Angkor Wat just discovered, overgrown by jungle, barely explored and once entered only the sounds of nature for company. Opinion seems divided on this temple for some reason but for me it was a real highlight.
    It takes a couple of hours to reach from the main Angkor site and the road is dusty and fairly uninteresting although there are one or two villages to see along the way for a rest stop or to see macadamia nuts being harvested. Having paid our five dollars ( each ) to enter the road to the site we parked our car and began the walk to, where? Once into the light jungle our guide pointed to the outline of a moat and scrambling across we came upon the remains of an outer wall and he led us surefootedly up and over walls, rooms, tunnels and through libraries. I have to say a good guide is an absolute must for this temple and the only occasion I did use one, without him it would truly have been just a pile of old bricks in the jungle but he bought it to life for our small group, the only people in the temple that afternoon which was another plus.
    Well worth combining with a trip to Bantaey Srei which is on the way, arranged by Peace Of Angkor Guest House who run a selection of off the beaten path tours. Sturdy but comfortable shoes are the only sensible choice here.

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  • Mine Museum

    by JodyStowe Written Sep 12, 2006

    Do you know what a landmine looks like? I did not, until I stumbled upon the small " Mine Museum" in Siem Reap after visiting the temples. Ask a tuk tuk driver to take you . It's very close to town. The road is quite bumpy, but worth the effort. You will come away from this self guided "hole in the woods" location with a new found appreciation of the daily struggles of the Cambodian peoples. I only wish I had discovered this small encampment that takes in, and educates, children who are victims of land mine accidents earlier in my stay. A small paper tacked to a tree invited visitors to volunteer for a few days or a week to "teach" your native language to the children who were living there at the time. What a simple gift you could leave that would impact a rehabilitating child. Go to the museum. Educate yourself about the horrors of land mines. You will never forget it.

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    Bike of burden

    by thedouglas Written Jun 8, 2006

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    Carry that load!

    Just how much can you carry around with one small motorbike? All through SE Asia, there are examples such as this one, of bikes loaded to the hilt and used to the max - which would never get past a police car or station in Australia! Whether its the maximum number of people (without helmets) or a trailer load such as this one, animals etc., it never ceases to amaze me! This was on the road north of Banteay Srei temple.

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  • thedouglas's Profile Photo

    Kbal Spean - Waterfall

    by thedouglas Written Jun 8, 2006

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    Guarded waterfall - NO PICNICS!

    This 15metre waterfall was flowing into a crystal clear pool when we visited. There were staff attendants present here, and a sign saying that picnics were not permitted at the waterfall - for some unknown reason. We were the only visitors that day - and did not come expecting a picnic anyway. But, it seemed like the perfect place.

    There was a designated picnic area a little further upstream, if you have a mind to visit and enjoy a lunch up there.

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    • Archeology

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