The Hypnotic Appeal of Khmer Temples

I adore temples.

One of the stunning architectural marvels in the world, they were part of the reason why I registered in the 6th Khmer Empire Marathon in August 2019. 

Aside from setting foot in Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s most iconic temple, we were promised to visit other religious monuments in the eighth-day marathon tour package which I availed of at Dream Travel Canada (DTC).
These photos from Stephen Price’s travel agency were enough to whet my yearning and tickled me by the mere thought that I’d soon be in the same shrine where Angelina Jolie shot one of the action-packed scenes in her 2001 film Lara Croft:Tomb Raider. 
The first day of this temple exploration began on August 2 after breakfast at our Phnom Penh accommodation. 
Here, please allow me to share our day’s itinerary verbatim. 

Aug 2 (B, L, D included)

After breakfast at the hotel, you will take a private transfer overland from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap province. We’ll stop first at Skun Market known for its big spiders. Then you’ll visit the Angkorian temple of Wat Norkor Bachey (12th century) and discover the temples of Phnom Bros and Phnom Srey, located at Kro La Commune, Kampong Siem District. It is Seven‐ kilometers away from the provincial town of Kampong Cham. The pagoda of Phnom Pros official name is “What Sovan Kiri Rotanak Phnom Pros”.  Just 1KM to the North there is another mountain, which has a pointed peak called “Phnom Srey”. North of the Phnom Srey there are ranks of mountains such as mountains of Dang Rek, Ba Ley and Chhuk. In addition, at the top of Pros Mountain, we can view the stunning scenery of Kampong Cham province. From 1975‐1979, the mountain of Pros was used by the Khmer Rouge as a detention place for torturing Cambodian people living in Kampong Cham province. The mountain of Srey has pointed peak and can be climbed up by 308 steps. We’ll then continue on the road to Kompong Thom by crossing Skun “Spider Village”. The town well‐known for selling deep‐fried spiders to travelers who stop by on their way. We’ll arrive in the capital of the Kompong Thom province in the afternoon, have lunch at a local restaurant, then continue to Siem Reap.

Dinner will be at a local restaurant and you’ll overnight at your hotel in Siem Reap.

Note: 314km, 5‐6hours by overland

After going through this timetable, are you now ready to take a visual trip with me? 
 
From the icky but surprisingly finger-licking good fried spider eating challenge, we trooped to the first set of temples where I willingly subjected myself to hypnosis.

Touring the temples was more than an hour. Then, we went on with our trip. Along our way, I appreciated the view of the rural landscape which felt like home to me. 

We reached Prey Pros Rest Area in time for lunch and did a lot of stretching. 
With still more than four hours travel by land, Patricia and I could have just run the remaining distance as our warm-up. Hahaha.
But, we had to hop in the MB van which is our transportation service and prepare our body for the free non-relaxing massage. Tee-hee-hee.

To be continued…

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