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  • Writer's picturebella-illenberger

Cambodia - Road-trip & Temples

Banteay Srei ist einer der älteren Tempel Angkors ( 967 n. Chr.) und der einzige, der nicht von Herrschern sondern von Priestern gebaut wurde. Er ist dem Hindu-Gott Shiva geweiht und der Name bedeutet „Zitadelle der Frauen/Schönheit“ wegen der vielen heiligen Frauen(Devata/Aspara), die auf den Reliefs zu sehen sind. Der Tempel ist im Vergleich zu den anderen klein, die unzähligen feinen Details bei den Reliefs und Statuen übertreffen jedoch alles. Das ist besonders faszinierend wenn man bedenkt, wie alt sie sind.

Different floods leaving their marks

Instead of heading over to the main Temple of Angkor Wat for the sunrise, we go to the second most popular „Tah Prom“ aka „Angelina Jolie Temple“ after being the set for one of the Tomb Raider movie. When we visited this one 6 years ago we were highly frustrated by the waves of Chinese tourists and their selfie sticks and could hardly see, let alone enjoy the Temple and it’s impressive trees overgrowing parts of the ruins. Thus we are determined to avoid this happening again and are ready as the gates open and thrilled to be almost along as we walk through. The sun is just rising and the overall atmosphere is breathtaking. Quiet chanting from the modern temple next door is carried over to us with the breeze and interlaces with the call of birds in the trees above us. We have over an hour of this peacefulness before the first of the busses come rolling in and we hear the shouts of „cold coconut“ and „coffee, hot“ coming from the stalls outside and we head out.

Rare view without tourists and selfie sticks

Fabi as a size reference

Receiving a blessing

We continue our road trip back down south past Siem Reap and to the Tonle Sap lake to see the floating villages, which as the name suggests, float on the lake during the rainy season and little wooden boats are the main mode of transportation. We are at the end of the dry season though and the floating village is not so much floating on water but up in the air, several meters above the ground. We planned to spend a night in a homestay in the village, (you sleep in the home of a local, being able to be a part of their day to day life) but the advertised homestay resembles more of a hotel set up for westerners and highly overpriced. We try to find a traditional homestay but quickly notice that the people here are not used to interacting with tourists and very shy, partially dismissive to our enquiries. We settle with having lunch at one of the road side stands and walk around the village a bit. Even though visiting the floating villages has become a tourist attraction, the village has not seem to changed much to accommodate this trend. There are no hotels and no restaurants, the tourists are shipped in by the bus load, (AC and darkened windows of course) get taken around the lake or to the crocodile park, and get shipped out again. There is an entrance fee which we hope goes back to the community but the poverty stricken look is not reassuring. The main trade is fish, and there is fish in every form imaginable being sold along the street - fresh and alive, fresh and dead, chopped, minced, dried, smoked, hanging or lying in the sun. We catch glimpses of daily life as we stroll past the local barber shop, a beauty salon and pear into open windows and doors. We pass a local school which has just finished classes and are as usual serenaded with “hello”, “how are you”, “what is your name” and high fives by crowds of children.

Fabi's "tan"

This is a video put together of various clips for this part of the trip. You might need "Instagram" to view this video, it might also work without needing the App:

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