Monday, April 20, 2015

Siem Reap, Cambodia (2013) Day 5: Banteay Srey, Kbal Spean & Beng Mealea

Date Visited: 5th March 2013

Another day for another temple sightseeing in Siem Reap but this will be our final day to do so, cause on the next day, we will leaving this incredible and amazing place permanently. Compare to the most temples of Angkor Grand Circuit we visited on the forth day, the temples we visited on final day were slightly crowded with the number of visitors. 

Banteay Srey
Banteay Srey is another Cambodia temple dedicated to Shiva, the God of Hindu. It is built largely of a hard red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are remain well-preserved until today.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Banteay Srey 01
#1: Red coloured stone of Banteay Srey 

Originally, it was called "Tribhuvanamaheśvara" which means Great Lord of the Threefold World and Banteay Srey is the temple's modern name. Banteay Srey indicates citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty which this name was given due to the many devatas (celestial dancing girls) carved into the red sandstone walls.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Banteay Srey 03
#2: Banteay Srei is well-known for the intricacy of its carvings

Kbal Spean
From temple, we moved on to Kbal Spean, an archaeological site of Angkorian era which located more than an half hour from Banteay Srey. Luckily my friends and I all came here with an appropriate footwear cause it requires to climb the hill for like almost 30 minutes before we could reach the temple itself. But no worry, it's not that difficult to climb after all and along the journey up to the hill, the rainforest path was absolutely stunning and breathtaking.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Kbal Spean 04
#3: A series of stone carvings in the river bank.

Upon reaching the site, we saw a series of ancient and sacred carved into the riverbed. These carvings are commonly known as "Valley of a 1,000 Lingas" or "The River of a Thousand Lingas". They’ve been etched into the river at Kbal Spean for almost a thousand years, and are believed to bless the river water that washes over them. Besides the lingas, there are actually various Hindu mythological motifs, including depictions of the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama and Hanuman as well as animals such as cows and frogs.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Kbal Spean 05
#4: Waterfall and at Kbal Spean

Before we make a move down the hill, we came across a clean and clear waterfall and we took some time to touch it as it believed to bring luck. It was indeed cold but at the same time, it was pretty refreshing. 

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Kbal Spean 06
#5: Part of the trail in the rain forest

Beng Mealea
Among all the temples and sites we went, Beng Mealea is one and only tourist spot that my friends and I had to fork out additional US$5 before we could possible visit the site whereas for the rest you could possible utilise by using the 1 Day Pass or 3 Days Pass. This is because Beng Mealea is not part of Angkor Archaeological Park.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Beng Mealea 01
#6: An entrance fee of Beng Mealea cost US$5

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Beng Mealea 02
#7: Part of Beng Mealea

Before we could eventually enter into the main area of this temple, from the outside we could see that this temple was completely ruin and collapsed. And because of this, we were absolutely intrigued and can't wait to explore what can this temple offers.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Beng Mealea 03
#8: One of the raised libraries of the outer enclosure

Beng Mealea, means lotus pond in Khmer is indeed a spectacular sight to behold. It's one of the most mysterious temples at Angkor, as the nature has well and truly run riot. It is one incredible hidden jungle temple and in order to access into main area, this is where the real Indiana Jones adventures begin. My friends and I had to climb over the huge piles of stones which were unstable and uneven as there is no proper pathway provided. Seriously, I don't this place is suitable for small kids and elderly to visit as it requires dangerous climb.

And because of that, without I realised upon climbing this, my two and half years Nike sport shoe was totally damaged by the end of the trip. But thank goodness, my shoe chosen on the final day to end its lifespan instead on the first day because buying completely new shoe and travel around is totally inconvenient for me. However, I am absolutely disappointed with Nike shoes lately cause I thought it could be last for at least 5 years but I was wrong.

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Beng Mealea 04
#9: The ruin temple of Beng Mealea

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 5 - Beng Mealea 05
#10: When the nature has well and truly run riot

It is recommend to arrange at least a day trip to visit Banteay Srey, Kbal Spean and Beng Mealea as they are located quite far distance away from the city centre.

[Credit To: Wikipedia, Lonely Planet]


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