Part 2 - Preah Vihear
Our next few hours were spent leaving Beng Melea and heading to Prasat Preah Vihear. The roads were rough because most of it was not paved. It was dirt road...and dirt road in a flooding country does not make for a pleasent drive.
Allllsooo, since its in the country side, theres cows!
After the three or four hour drive, we had to take motor bikes up the mountain bc taxis are not allowed to go there. The common price found on the internet was $5. We were asked for $8 - they settled for $7. Scammed again.
Obviously the two of us cant fit on one bike (theres a driver too) so we were on separate bikes. I asked for the one who didnt smell (it was a hot day). Lol. I didnt take that many pics on the way up bc i was holding on for dear life. Instead of hugging the driver, you just hold onto your seat...but Some bits were very steep so you really had to hold on tight to make sure you dont fall backwards off the bike.
Prasat Preah Vihear is currently a military base camp. The Cambodian military dont just station their soldier there, but their whole family. The purpose of this is to ensure they do not flee. Soooo, we saw tons of families and military.
This site was declared a Unesco World heritage site in 2008 and so fix ups were done to ensure it was safe for people to visit and more easily acessible.
This was also a strong hold of the Khmer Rouge. A group responsible for the masacre that happened thrity years ago. If you don't know about them, i suggest you google them because its a sad history. They've left their mark on the ruins here too.
The site is made up of five temples, built around nine hundred to a tousand years ago.
As mentioned, these temples are situated atop a mountain, with a spectacular view of Cambodia and Thailand.
Unfortunately, because of the strains between Thailand and Cambodia, the Cambodians keep watch with these binoculars of the military base across the Thai border.
Similar to Siem Reap, there were kids hanging around, but differentmfrom Siem Reap, then kids werent trying to sell anything, they were there just being kids running around the grounds and staring at the tourists. (although aparently coleman looks cambodian)
One of the most attractive things about this world hertiage site is its location. I think i may have stopped at beng meelea, had it not been for this spectacular view.
Im pretty sure the military personnel who took us around the site were not official tour guides, but they were able to offer a lot of recent historical information, showing us the battle scars of the ruins, having been hit by thai fire arms. As with everything in Cambodia, we were oblgated to give tips to them, as well as buy packets of cigs for many of the men. Scammed again, but at least it was educational.
I took a ton of photos on the way down. I hope people recognize that its amazingly hard to take photos while on the bike.
Whats an even more amazing skill is getting the two motor bike drivers to get close enough together so that i can pass my camera to coleman. Sucess!
After several days in Cambodia, checking out the temples and the town, coleman booked us a romantic getaway in the nearby village in a resort...name of which escapes me right now.
The night we got there, it was raining like crazy and the taxi driver we had hired for the day to drive us to beng melea and priah vihear refused to drivr us to our new hotel bc the "roads were closed" but in fact he was just too lazy to drive us that extra ten mins. The lovely hotel picked us up in town instead.
The hotel was delightful, we were greeted with smiling faces and this yummy sugar pancake roll and tea. Everyone who works at this hotel is fro, the local village.
When they started working in the hotel seven yrs ago when it started, they barely knew any english, but have been learning it slowly. Now, they probaly have the best english we've heard in siem reap.
After settling in, we headed back into town for some cambodian bbq, made of random raw meats. The grill in the middle is similiar to korean bbq, but then on the side, there is soup boiling, similar to chinese hot pot. Best of both worlds, mmmm mmmm good.
Beginning of meal:
End of meal:
All in all? The best day of my trip thus far. The sites were amazing, and even tho we got scammed a few times, it was still an unforgettable day. Not to mention the beautiful and romantic resort to end off with :)
Location:Country roads, Cambodia