Asia’s Lost World, Siem Reap

We decided to go off the usual tourist circuit and explored other temple ruins which were less popular but just as impressive as Angkor Wat. We visited Banteay Srei which was constructed in the late tenth century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat which were made of mainly laterite stone, Banteay Srei is made of red sandstone which can be carved almost like wood. As a result, it features one of the finest carvings in the world with unbelievable detail and texture. It is also the only temple to have been built, not by authority of a king but under the authority of a Brahmin advisor to the king. *Also Read: Hidden Wonders of Orchha and Khajuraho About twelve kilometres from Banteay Srei is the riverbed of Kbal Spean also known as the “River of Thousand Lingas” noted for 1,000 carvings of lingas in this rocky riverbed. The linga or lingam came to be seen as the divine phallus of Shiva in Hinduism and in Cambodia, lingas are found everywhere particularly in Angkor temple sanctuaries where worshippers have been pouring water over them for centuries. In the riverbed of Kbal Spean, the water

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City of Temples, Siem Reap

We flew from Kuala Lumpur directly to Siem Reap – the gateway to Angkor – and we stayed at the Steung Siem Reap Hotel located in the Old French Quarter within walking distance to the markets, restaurants and Pub Street. Conveniently located next door to our hotel is an orange vivacious-looking cafe serving Tex-Mex and Cambodian food. This was our hang-out in the evenings to have pre-dinner drinks with delicious nachos and tacos 🙂 We did not want to dive in straight into temple exploration on our first day because we were lacking sleep due to an early start in the morning for our flight (why do low-cost airlines love to fly at dawn?!). Instead we took it easy by going on a boat cruise on Tonle Sap. Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South-East Asia and is an important lake and river system to Cambodia. It’s also unusual for two reasons. Tonle Sap flow changes direction twice a year – from November to May (dry season), it shrinks and drains into the Mekong River but expands and reverses again to form an enormous lake during the wet season starting in June. Interestingly, Tonle Sap is home to many ethnic Vietnamese who have

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