Motorbike to Banteay Srei, Landmine Museum, and some more Temples

My final day exploring the temples of Angkor Wat turned out to be the busiest. After two days mostly on a bicycle I decided it was time to speed up things and give my shoulders a break from carrying way to many things. So I rented a guide and a motorcycle Tuk-Tuk for 22 Dollars to take me to Banta Srei, a beautiful pinkish colored temple about 25 kilometers northeast of Siam Reap that they started building around 967. It’s not one of the biggest temples, but surely one with many details and delicate carvings and well worth the 80 minute ride on bumpy roads. On the way back I made a short stop and the landmine museum that was set up by a former Khmer Rouge child soldier, who helped demine some 50.000 Landmines. While this sounds pretty amazing, there are estimates that there are up to 3 to 6 !!) million landmines still hidden all over Cambodia. Countless victims, missing legs or other parts of the body are a constant sad reminder that Cambodia was hell on earth not so long ago.

Before returning to mesmerizing Ta Prohm for late afternoon light I also visited Eastern Mebon and Pre Roup, visiting each temple for about half an hour. The difference of visiting Ta Prohm in the morning hours and in the later afternoon is amazing, its like visiting two complete different sites and a lot of places that looked amazing in the morning felt very different, whereas spots that I walked by hardly noticing earlier on caught my attention and made me stop for a couple of minutes just to marvel about. A very quiet but very beautifull spot for Sunset is Srah Srang, where Phnom Bakheng was crowded with people, there were only two others sitting at the giant ancient artificial lake, enjoying a very scenic sunset. I spent my last night in Siam Reap at my favorite Indian Restaurant “Kama Sutra” and later joined the pool party at the Sieam Reap Hostel. There I got to talk with an Australian who works at the hostel, who told me that Cambodia can still be a very tough place and that Siam Reap and Angkor are just Tourism bubbles. Only two years ago it became a federal crime to kill someone in Cambodia. Before they passed the law, the killer would basically go into negotiations with the family of the victim and settle over a “price” for the killing. And if you witness a car accident in Cambodia, the best thing to do is RUN, as police will look for the richest person on at the scene and arrest them as the wrongdoer to get the most money out of them.

Banteay Srei, Tah Prom, Srah Srang

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