(this post will be short — the keyboard at this cafe is miserable at best)
We started the day off by switching hotels, and dropping our stuff off at the Golden Banana. We rented bikes from the owner (2usd/day) and started biking to the Angor complex. After about an hour of biking, we made it to the first group of temples (names escape me now), and then did about another 4 groups of temples culminating at Angkor Thom. Like all the temples so far they are all incredible and beautiful. Some are restored to perfection while others have trees growing out of them.
Doing the day by bicycle was both rewarding and punishing. The former obviously since we set our own pace and were able to take the detours we wanted and see all the temples up close. We spent a lot of time hiking thru the temple grounds and walking up the steep steps to the their top hights. The punishing part without a doubt was the incredible heat. I was constantly soaked and round trip we probably did around 22km on our bikes, plus the walking. We’d started around 8:30am and didn’t get back to Siem Reap until 3:30pm, the whole time spent hiking and biking around. What I really enjoyed of being on our own was the ability to take time to relax in the shade of the complexes and take in the enormaty of it all.
Spending more time in the temples today really drove home the point of how Hindu the temples are. I was able to recognize various images and deities carved in the stones. At times, it was only the more modern Buddha image that was placed inside that made it clear what the temple was used for. When I have my notes on me, I’ll post what exact temples I saw, since my pad is back at the room.
Tomorrow, it’s more temples, probably the more distant ones. The plan is to hire a tuk-tuk since I might die if we do another day of biking. Looks like we may end up in Bangkok for the last few days of the trip.