Posted by: Googie | February 20, 2010

Wrapping up Siem Reap

With Paul & Juli gone their own ways, and Talita gone ahead to Phnom Penh, I was all by myself today (Echo seemed to have totally disappeared from the scene). I had planned to wrap up the last few temples on my list before my 3 day ticket would expire.

I rented a bicycle from the guesthouse and started off towards Angkor Wat. On the way, I saw a volleyball match in progress so I stopped to watch for a while.

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Volleyball match

Later, I went to Sras Srang & Banteay Kdei, which had nothing spectacular to offer. Next I went to Ta Phrom, and had a pleasant surprise. There was a board that said that this temple was being restored and preserved in joint collaboration of the Indian & Cambodian governments. I was very proud that India was also funding the conservation efforts, and asked a tourist to click my picture with the board. While clicking the picture he said that the Indian government was also involved with some other restoration work at Angkor Wat. I hadn’t noticed that, so I decided to go back to Angkor Wat to find it.

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Indiyeah!!

The Ta Phrom temple was decent, but the most impressive part were the huge trees growing inside. These were the trees that one could see in the Tomb Raider movie.

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With the huge trees at Ta Phrom

On the way back from Ta Phrom, I spied a tall temple that didn’t seem to have any visitors. It turned out to be a temple called Baksei Cham Krong, and was totally devoid of tourists. I climbed the steep steps to the top to find a reclining Buddha and looked all around peacefully.

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Baksei Cham Krong

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The reclining Buddha

Next stop was Angkor Wat. I found the board that I was looking for. The Indian government was involved in restoring a section of the bas reliefs that depicted a famous episode from Hindu mythology – the churning of the sea of milk.

Despite multiple visits to Angkor Wat, I felt that I hadn’t really done justice to it. Although on an earlier occasion, I had been privy to sections that were off limits for tourists, there was a lot that I had missed in Angkor Wat. I simply didn’t have the time to cover it now, so it would have to wait till the next visit.

In the evening, I went to Kantha Bopha hospital for a cello concert cum fund-raising event by Dr. Beat Richner. Dr. Richner had set up the hospital to provide free treatment for the dying children in Cambodia, and spoke about all the work he has been doing for more than 15 years. If you wish to support his cause, please take a look at http://www.beatocello.com.

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Dr. Beat Richner with his cello

Came back to the guesthouse and packed all my stuff. Met Benjamin, Matthew & Julian from France, and Megan & John from the USA; and played a nice game of pool with them before calling it a day.

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