Siem Reap 2015 || Banteay Kdei & Phnom Bakheng Sunset

Hi, guys! Sorry, it took four separate posts just to cover the Grand Circuit – imagine what I could have written if I had a guide with me. Haha! But anyway, this is the last post on the Grand Circuit then I’ll start with the Small Circuit. Before we all know it, I will be scrambling over here in my small corner of the world to try and find out what else I can write about. 🙂

We entered Banteay Kdei via the East Gopura Fourth Enclosure. This entrance is across Srah Srang. I have no photos of the lake, but it’s populated by so many souvenir stalls and peddlers will hound you when all you want is to stare at the lake and think about your life.

The third enclosure. Banteay Kdei also used to be a temple city but no one has any idea about its actual function.

Buddha.

There were a lot of Apsara dancers sculpted on the columns so I’ll be taking a wild guess and say this is the dancing hall.

It was already the golden hour when I went and I swear, it looks more whimsical in real life. It felt like I was in a scene straight from a movie.

I actually do not have a lot to say about Banteay Kdei.. and not a lot of photos as well. At this point, I was taking breaks like crazy. My legs are tired and covered in a sheet of sweat.

Nature meddling with thousand-year-old structures by growing within.

West gopura and another pillared structure.

After exploring Banteay Kdei, the tuktuk driver, Tet, brought me to Phnom Bakheng for the sunset. If you’re not wearing a shirt, you can buy from any of the souvenir shops at the bottom of the hill where the temple is located. Tet settled for a bottle of water while I had my nth cup of $1 fruit shake. I think I spent so much on fruit shakes while in Siem Reap. It was just so hot!

You can opt to climb up the hill by an elephant for $20/person.

I swear I weighed my options. $20 is equivalent to a fancy meal back home and I would burn it for a 15-minute ride. I have also read somewhere on the *~internetzzz~* that riding an elephant is supporting animal abuse. I was mulling over these thoughts while waiting for another tourist to book an elephant ride (I wasn’t willing to pay $40 to go solo), but the lady told me I could go on a solo ride as long as I tell anyone who asks me that I paid full price.

I swear I had a bunch of mini heart attacks while riding the elephant up the hill. Since I was alone, I was left to balance on the seat by myself and I could feel the chair tilting sideways a couple of times. We encountered around four elephants on their way down and the elephant I was on had to walk near the edge of the road. I had to mentally berate myself when I looked down my possible cause of death after chanting “don’t look down, don’t look down” for the past 10 minutes.

But the scenery when we got to higher ground was so worth it. You can see Angkor Wat from here!

The queue to the temple for the sunset was crazy! Only a limited number of people can go up and you need to get an ID, which they collect from the visitors who are leaving the temple. All of us tourists had the brilliant idea to climb early to wait for the sunset so it’s best to come an hour before sunset. I got in because the woman manning the elephant booth tipped me that I would need a shirt to enter the temple, so do buy/wear one when you go. I have no photos of the sunset, though.. well I do, but it’s really something you have to see for yourself (because I took crappy photos that do not do it justice). Sitting cross-legged on thousand-year-old bricks of a temple above the hill in Siem Reap, watching a sunset that would probably fetch a lot of money if it was a painting, have made me very grateful. Whatever has happened, is happening and would happen, I am fortunate enough to live through and witness so many sunrises and sunsets in one lifetime.

This is Tet who drove me around the whole day

Hello, OOTD on my way up to my room at Cambana d’Angkor Suites.

I ordered room service for dinner because no matter how hard I tried to push myself, there was nothing more I wanted that evening than to watch CSI while in a tub.

So there you have it! I foresee 4-5 posts to go before I finish this series! 🙂

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