Beyond Angkor: Two Temples Less Visited
From Siem Reap it is possible for clients to take a unique opportunity and visit the remote countryside seen by few other travelers before. The non-profit Cambodia-Dutch Organization (CDO) works on community development projects in the rural areas of Cambodia. We visit one of their health centers and a primary school. The instructor, Mr. Lous, introduces us to the class, and travelers can do a “show and tell” about their life back home. We enjoy a Cambodian lunch with staff of the CDO and in the afternoon we can choose to visit two Angkorian temples far from the main roads. We then either depart for Chhuk village or continue our way to Beng Maelea.
Prasart Banteay Ampil
Our party arrives in Chhuk village and from here we will venture out by oxcart to Prasart Banteay Ampil, an exotic remote temple ruin that has been taken over by jungle vegetation. Chances are that we will be the only people around. While exploring the site, our guide narrates on the imposing history of the Khmer empire.
Beng Mealea is another seldom-visited ruin and a spectacular jungle temple. The temple lies on the road to Preah Khan Kompong Svay and its name literally means Lotus Pond. Almost no restoration of the area has been undertaken so the jungle is becoming one with the carved sandstone. Roots of kapok trees twist and wind their way around the carvings and galleries. The intricately carved depictions are well preserved, including scenes of the bird-god Garuda giving birth to Vishnu.
After having explored either temple, we return to Siem Reap around 4.30 pm. Travelers’ support on this project of the CDO is vital to its on-going success so that they can continue to purchase hospital equipment, books and other utensils for the children.
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