TWO HOUR RIDE
This would be my first time here so I was pretty excited. Sana and I left at around 8:15 then took the national highway. The trip took close to 2 hours so by the time we got there, it was already 10:15AM. I got my $5 entrance ticket then was deposited right at the entrance.
There's a causeway that leads to the front (the south gate). By the time I took the stairs, someone was already following me - a nice guy named Kak. He would also become my unofficial guide as I navigated the 3 concentric areas within the temples, now basically temple rocks strewn all around the grounds. It is not an easy feat walking through these uneven stones, at any time, one could easily fall off and hurt your self.
I was careful, and sweating profusely going through windows and following Kak's lead. He would point at the special carvings and I'd take snaps. There were ponds, moats within these concentric areas - "lotus ponds" which is how "Beng Mealea"is translated. There were also 4 "libraries", mostly closed. Some wooden walkways have been constructed around the area. According to Kak, these were part of the concessions during the filming of "Tomb Raider". Hollywood filming has its pleasant use after all.
The ride back from Beng Mealea was relaxing, but upon arrival in Siem Reap, there was a torrent of rain that soaked Sana (my tuktuk driver) and made muddy puddles around Siem Reap. It must have rained for a couple of hours while I recharged and took a nap inside my room.
Later that day, I roamed around the city and found Preah Prohm Rath Monastery, Siem Reap's biggest and oldest. I chanced upon chanting monks. I just stood in front of a huge open door, gazing at a half dozen monks kneeling down the floor, singing what would be dissonant sounds. I got goosebumps listening to them. These sights never fail to transport me to a dream land.
As I winded down my Siem Reap visit, I chanced upon a Fish Massage shop (they call it "Fish Spa"in Bangkok, 150 baht for 15 minutes) along Pub Street (Siem Reap's Eastwood City). And I had the most ticklish encounter as I dipped my feet in an aquarium of hungry garupa (grouper fish). The sensation is out of this world as you feel their toothless mouth sucking away your dead epidermis. Hordes of them coming on to you! At $2, I had my feet devoured by a pack of ravenous fish while I was sipping my Coke. At another shop, they had to put a sign that says, "These are no Piranhas!" Haha. But they might as well be! It is such an experience being eaten alive.
What more could you ask for in a day?