Our last couple of days have been very exciting, Mr Phon picked us up early on Saturday for our last day of temples. We decided to visit Banteay Srei, a temple about an hours tuk tuk drive north near the Kulen Mountains.
I loved the tuk tuk journey there, driving along the dusty red earth roads, the soft warm breeze on our faces, we got to see the countryside going about its business. Passing through open fields, rice fields then small villages with wooden houses built high on stilts. Each home had a little stall out by the road selling fruit and vegetables from their fields. Children walked and cycled to school in their blue and white uniforms, and younger children played happily in the dust with the animals. There were pots of food simmering away and teeny cafes for lunch stops! It was so nice to see!
When we finally arrived at the temple we were surprised on how miniature this temple was compared to others we had visited. But again such exquisite decorative carvings on all the stonework and being built even earlier than Angkor Wat it was impressive.
Next we drove to what I’ve decided is definitely my favourite temple, Preah Khan. For me this temple had it all, very similar to Ta Prohm (tomb raider temple) but bigger, less busy and I loved that you could be walking down a deserted stone passageway and then suddenly find a dead end due to the walls caving in! It was exciting everywhere you looked there were more detailed carvings of faces and statues looking at you, plus lots more overgrown trees snaking their way all over the walls giving a great lost city atmosphere! Just Loved it!
Feeling very happy to have this as our last temple, we decided to head back to the hotel! As we got into the tuk tuk we heard a rumble of thunder in the distance and a few raindrops began to plop down! Mr Phon wisely put down the rain cover at the front of the tuk tuk, put on his waterproof and sped off but it was only a couple of minutes before we were in a full monsoon downpour! Mr Phon was worried we were getting a bit wet from the huge splashes coming in the sides, but in truth we were loving it, it wasn’t long before the roads became rivers but it was so exciting! By the time we got back we were a little wet but all full of smiles and laughter. Plus it was lovely to have a warm shower, pull on cosy joggers and sit watching the rain fall on the balcony.
On Sunday….well yep we just blew the budget…..and decided to take a helicopter ride over the temples!!!!! Actually the price was a lot cheaper than anywhere else in the world and we thought if you’re going to do it, here’s a pretty good place!
We were picked up mid morning and whisked over to the airfield, all so excited, butterflies in all our tummies and mega grins on our faces! After a quick chat about safety and emergency exits 😳 with our pilot we climbed aboard, buckled up and popped on our headsets so we could talk to each other during the flight! And then we were off, gently lifting up into the sky, leaving the town and countryside below, Daisys squeals of excitement were very loud…our poor ears!
It wasn’t long before we were flying above the Angkor Wat temples we had spent the week visiting, from the air you could see their magnificent size and all the perfectly formed moats surrounding them! We loved every expensive minute of it!
After such an exciting day we decided to keep it going by heading out in the evening to see the absolutely amazing Cambodian Circus, Phare! Look them up on YouTube!!! Such skilled, strong and talented people, what they could do with their bodies left us in awe! All the artists are trained at a school in western Cambodia, which offers free education and training in arts for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Set up by 9 Cambodian refugees after the fall of the Khmer Rouge the school now has 1200 students and all the donations and profits from the show go back into the school. Such a great show we didn’t want it to end! And such a great finish to our time in Siem Reap!
We really hope to be back one day!