Angkor Wat Off The Beaten Path

  • Household on stilts, Kompong Phluk village
    Household on stilts, Kompong Phluk...
    by Traveling_Duck
  • Komplong Phluk village
    Komplong Phluk village
    by Traveling_Duck
  • The guest house in Kompong Phluk
    The guest house in Kompong Phluk
    by Traveling_Duck

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Angkor Wat

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Banteay Srei

    by richiecdisc Updated Jul 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a tranquil morning at Banteay Srei

    Banteay Srei is a bit out of the way, but well worth the effort to get there. One of my worst regrets was not having Mr. Tha stop so we could take some photos on our way out to the temple. As fantastic as the temple itself was, it was the ride through small villages to get there that was the unexpected highlight. We did stop to get some bananas from a young local girl, who was very shy and obviously enamored by a couple of foreigners’ attention to her. Banteay Srei is reported to be only thirty-seven kilometers from Siem Reap but when you are in the back of a tuk-tuk, it can take a good amount of time! It was a good hour but we enjoyed every minute of it. The temple itself is a lot smaller than you might expect and seems a miniature on first sighting. This lack of stature adds to the overall fairy tale atmosphere that emanates from the pink-hued material from which its built, especially in the early morning sun. But it is not the overall grandeur that draws visitors to the Hindu temple, but the intricate carvings that adorn many of the structures. We got there at sunrise and had it to ourselves the whole time we were there. That’s another good reason to make the thirty-seven kilometer trek.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Wildlife in Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 9, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Snake, Kbal Spean

    The lazy divas started late in the morning and took a leisurely drive from Siem Reap in a comfy Toyata Camry . It took them an hour before they reached their destination but upon reaching, they were told to do an additional trek to the site of Kbal Spean. They got excited since they loved the great outdoors but the trek proved to be a challenging, uphill climb*. The divas pressed on the well-marked trail though, and stopped only to chat with other determined adventurers. Along the way, they observed lots of wildlife in the atmospheric Cambodian jungle. Gorgeous butterflies in shades of blue and luscious looking lime-green snakes in trees. It was enough to spur them on to the river of a thousand lingas.

    *The 30min trek is not definitely not recommended if you've gone through knee reconstruction surgery! I talked to an elderly French couple on the way up and felt really sorry for them as thet told me that the pain was killing their knees..

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    River of a Thousand Lingas / Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 9, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hundreds of Phalluses in a river bed

    Heard of Kbal Spean or a the River of a 1000 Lingas? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. This ancient Hindu pilgrimage site is situated deep in the jungle, in the north eastern part of Angkor*. Join the 3 divas from Singapore as they went on an amazing journey to a river where hundreds of phalluses are carved on a riverbed...

    *You'll take about an hour or so to reach there by car. Make it two hours if you're going by the torturous tuk tuk.

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Hundreds of Carvings in Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 23, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Linga and Yoni in Kbal Spean

    Spurred by the finds, the divas pressed on only to discover more phallus-shaped lingas underwater. Now, the divas had earlier read that the lingas represented the Hindu god Shiva, and they were placed in the river to bless the waters. Sometimes, Shiva would be represented together with his wife, Pavarti, so the linga would be placed within a womb- shaped receptacle known as the yoni, just like what you see in the picture.

    Well, in all honesty, the divas found it quite funny that a god should be represented by a male sexual organ but their demeanour remained serious as they were in awe of the ancient pilgrimage site. Why, a thousand and two hundred years before, Hindu pilgrims would come to this ancient site to bathe in the blessed waters and quite possibly drink vast quantities of it too. This was a mini river ganges of sorts for the cambodian Hindus

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    up high at Angkor Wat

    by richiecdisc Updated Jul 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    escaping the crowds even at Angkor Wat itself

    You’re not likely to ever have all of Angkor Wat to yourself as you might manage at less famous counterparts, but by getting there very early, you will avoid some of the crowds and by heading up high, you’ll be surprised at just how empty the World Heritage Site can feel. Many seem to start their exploration of the temple in the lower portion and the vast bas-reliefs, but we saved that for the less crowded lunchtime as it is completely in the shade anyway. Instead, we headed up the steep steps and got nice early morning views and some nice quiet spots to enjoy the serenity of the mist coming up off the surrounding jungle. Oh, and there are some nice carvings up there too.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Another reclining figure and a waterfall

    by bpacker Updated Jun 12, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Vishnu and gang at Kbal Spean, Cambodia

    After finding the wizard of Kbal Spean, the divas were rather satisfied but they kept walking on . And lo and behold, another surprise found them. Right in front of them were two more wizards in addition to the one they found earlier downstream! Despite the fact that some parts of the sculpture looked hacked off , the divas were able to detect double images of Vishnu, or so they thought..

    This time, the images of Vishnu were reversed with rows of shiva lingas in front of them. Yes, the 3 divas could see two reclining Vishnus on his thousand-headed serpent (Ananta) and his consort (Lakshmi) at his feet . Also tickling one Vishnu's feet was a little waterfall, which no doubt would be more forceful during the wet season. Other than these, the divas detected the faint image of a lotus and Brahma springing out from one of the Vishnu's navel . Try and see if you can spot the characters yourself, if not, read on and I'll point them out to you. Also, I'll explain the who's who..

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Face/Off with Brahma in Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Face/Off with Brahma at Kbal Spean

    Can you guess who the four-faced god is ? Well, he's Brahma, the Hindu creator of the universe, the god with many faces and hands. Well, he appeared again, further upstream this time, in Kbal Spean.

    Now, the divas noticed that Brahma appeared on a large-than-life, horizontal bas relief . During the wet season, the sculpture would undoubtedly appear as though it were floating on the brown water! Now in the wet season, its whole form was exposed, mutiple faces and all. Hmm, it would no doubt do well in John Woo's action movie, face/off. Why, it could replace its face 3x if any one of them was stolen by a villian...

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    More Carvings on a Hill Ledge in Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 9, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Carvings on a hill ledge

    After discovering the cow, the divas heard shouts of excitement. Unfortunately, it was in quick Japanese so they couldn't decipher what the fuss was about. It was only when they got closer that they saw carvings of kneeling figures on a ledge near the waterfall...

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Finding the Wizard of Oz in Kbal Spean

    by bpacker Updated Jun 10, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Vishnu reclines, Kbal Spean

    As the divas followed the linga-paved river upstream, they were hoping to see the Wizard at the end of the road. And they did. When they reached to one end of the river, they discovered their wizard ! It was a huge bas-relief on a rock. From far, it looked like a human figure lying langarously on a couch but as the divas came closer, the couch turned out to be a serpent. One of the divas mentioned that this was the god Vishnu reclining on his serpent on the Ocean of Milk and the womanly figure at Vishnu's feet was Lakshmi, his consort .

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Ta Som

    by richiecdisc Updated Jul 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the rear gate worth walking to

    Ta Som is a small temple on the grand circuit but many seem to pass this little gem by due to the state of disrepair of the central grounds. The eastern gopura (gate) is, however, a favorite of professional photographers and is best shot in early morning light. It is being destroyed by a huge tree, much in the same vein as more famous Ta Phrom, but makes for a great photo opportunity. We got there early and again, had the whole place to ourselves.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    The south gate of Banteay Kadei

    by richiecdisc Updated Jul 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the southgate we sought

    Like many others we became fascinated with the gaporas or gates into the temple grounds. The most famous are obviously those leading into Angkor Thom, but there are hundreds to check out and it’s nice to find some where there are not hordes of tourists cramming in for that one great shot. Though Banteay Kadei is right on the main circuit, not many head there early in the morning and we found it totally empty, with its Bayon-style gapora begging to be photographed by us alone. This particular one was on the south side of the complex.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    The Mona Lisa of Banteay Srei

    by bpacker Updated Dec 12, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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..

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Roluos Group Temples

    by atufft Written Jun 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bakong Overview in the Rolous Group of Temples
    3 more images

    About 30 minutes over a washboard road is the Roluos Group of three temples scattered somewhat apart from each other: Bakong, Prah Ko and Lolei. These were built earlier than those at Angkor Thom or Angkor Wat, and for that reason are totally worth the effort to see them. Along the way, one can observe the Khmer country living lifestyle. When king Jayavarman II came from Java to take power at the beginning of the 9th century, he settled twice at Hariharalaya - already an existing city, - first before his investiture on Phnom Kulen (Mahendraparvata) where the cult of the "Devaraja" was inaugurated, and then again afterwards, dying there in 850 after a reign of 48 years. His successors remained until Yasovarman founded the first Angkor, centred on Phnom Bakheng. I spent the most time at Bakong, which has a strange relief where only one block is NOT eroded away. I also liked the jungle shrouded setting of Prah Ko.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpacker's Profile Photo

    Bantaey Srei - Combine this with a Kbal Spean trip

    by bpacker Updated Jun 15, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Delicate Pink carvings on the temple roofs

    Other than Kbal Spean, the divas also made a pit stop for Banteay Srei, the most beautiful and intricately carved temple in Angkor. The draw here, for the divas, was the legendary carvings that was reputed to be rose-coloured! This temple, lesser known to the tourists, is some 35km from town, so the divas combined a visit to this place with Kbal Spean.

    How to go there
    A trip by taxi will cost you about $35 and the journey to Bantaey Srei from town is about 40min long.

    Was this review helpful?

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo

    Roluos Group of Temples

    by thedouglas Updated Jun 29, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Angkor Wat

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

60 travelers online now

Comments

Angkor Wat Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Angkor Wat off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Angkor Wat sightseeing.

View all Angkor Wat hotels