A monumental afternoon

Cambodia Part 4 – Temple hopping

Sometimes food abroad is a bit iffy. I’m quite wary of what I eat because I’ve had one or two dodgy experiences but the food in the hotel was great. Yes there were Cambodian dishes but there were also some familiar dishes to refuel for the afternoon ahead. 

Back at the South entrance to Angkor Thom our Cambodua guide and English tour leader had a set too about mini buses and we were invaded by a group of Thai tourists all wearing the same bright pink baseball cap. For a moment I saw so much pink I thought I’d blundered into a flock of flamingos!. 

We eventually arrive in a clearing which contains two intimate temples set apart from each other by the main road. Disembarking from our vehicles we are immediately assailed by a chorus of Cicadas that would put most heavy metal bands to shame. They’re deafening!. The entire clearing echoes to the sound of frenetic chirping and I can honestly say that I’ve never heard such sustained noise from a group of animals in my life. And it doesn’t let up. It’s a constant accompaniment. 


Cicadas are a benign insect that neither bite nor sting humans and their song, for want of a better word, can exceed 120 decibels in volume. And that’s loud. As someone with noise sensitivity I can truthfully say that, within ten minutes, all I could hear was a very sharp drone in my ears as the high frequencies had been smoothed away by the bombardment!. 

Anyway, one of the beautiful little temples was called Thomannon and its sister, Chao Say Tevoda. Both temples are quaint little ones and are under the restorative eyes of the Chinese who do a lot of work in the archaeological zone. Both have, in their own way, gone back to nature and become more closely knit with their environment but they’re great places to clamber on and they both have some lovely carvings if you look closely enough. 


They also come with their own child entrepreneurs who follow you about trying to sell you a fridge magnet or twenty. 

We like fridge magnets. We collect them when we go abroad and sometimes friends will bring one back for us. Some are truly garish and ghastly whilst others are like tiny little artworks. We have a bag full of them from Cambodia. We could start our own business. A young girl detaches herself from the group and approaches me with a fistful of magnets. I give a knowing smile, tell her I have no money, point at my partner and, as she turns her head to look where I’m pointing, I scarper rapidly in the other direction. It’s a strategy. It works!. 

Our days adventures end at Ta Keo, a mountainous temple built in sandstone and originally called “The Mountain with Golden Peaks”. The climb to the top is described as being “steep when compared to other temples”. I would describe that as an understatement. It’s very steep. Not bad going up but coming down isn’t for the faint hearted and the assistance of a guide rail or coming down on your arse is recommended. A guide displays a nimble sure footedness as he bounces up and down the steps and puts us all to shame. I take comfort in the fact he’s probably done it all for years whereas we are merely mewling babes. 


I return to the bottom to find that Karen (the partner) has done very well with her fridge magnet purchases by purchasing 11 of the bloody things for $6!. We are single handedly keeping the fridge magnet makers of Cambodia in business!. 

We wend our way back to the hotel. I think that those of the group who decided not to come out this afternoon have kind of missed a trick. Why travel all this way to not see some fascinating sites and sights but go and do some shopping instead ?. I know the afternoon is optional but the temples are all so unique and interesting, the more the merrier for me. I do appreciate getting templed out as it’s happened to me before but Angkor Thom is famous for its temples, not its local branch of Woolworths!. 


Our dinner that night is at a local restaurant. Again we can’t fault the quality of the food with a variety of tasty dishes set before us including Snake headed fish and fish amok ( a bit like running amok but involving less exercise!). 

It’s been a grand day! 

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