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Meanwhile, we headed to the entrance of the Angkor Archaeological Park to get ourselves a 1-day pass which costs USD10 per person. This pass will be used when we get into various temples later. Optionally, you can buy a 3-day pass for USD20.
Some 10 minutes later after getting our passes and being drove around, we have reached the first of many archaeological wonders of Angkor, Phnom Bakheng.
Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910 A.D.). Located atop a hill, it is nowadays a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger temple Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast. The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor. [Source]
The crowd was building up as everyone tried to beat the time to watch sunset. If you reluctant to walk, you can always pay USD10 and take the elephant ride to the top. And you most probably won’t be able to avoid these pushy souvenir sellers trying to convince you to buy from them. And these sellers are only few years old!
The journey to the hilltop was pretty enjoyable, partly because of the cool breeze. It took us about 10 minutes of walking non-stop and soon after, the sight of the temple was in front of us. And my jaw dropped upon seeing those stairs.
The stairs are so narrow and steep! And how we going to climb that?!?!
We stood there watching how others actually climbed up. Maybe we should have learned few tricks from Alain Robert before coming here. Time didn’t wait so we proceeded and started to climb slowly and carefully.
I think I reminded them to be extra careful every 30 seconds during the climb-up. *shivers*
It was not so hard after all. Maybe I was too worried. Hahaha.
There aren’t much to see at the top because most look like this…
Our guide did not follow us, so we were a bit lost of what to see here except for the sunset.
Constructed more than two centuries before Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng was in its day the principal temple of the Angkor region, historians believe. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital, Yasodharapura, that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya in the Roluos area located to the southeast. [Source]
No doubt this is the best place to witness sunset but we did not manage to see any because it was partly hazy and cloudy. 🙁
I continued on my photo-taking while others tried to look for a suitable spot to have a rest. Actually this is a good place to have a rest but the huge crowds and the noise will instead make you restless.
We decided to end our visit before the sky turned dark.
And a photo to mark our visit…
The sky already darkened by the time we reached the foot of the hill. We then headed for dinner which I didn’t touch even a single dish because my fever came back! We decided to call it a day earlier as we need to conserve our energy for the next day.
I crashed out very early that night with a hope I’ll recover in time for more adventures.
Next on day 2… full day at Angkor Archaeological Park.