Now playing: John Williams – Indiana Jones Main Theme.
Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples may be all tourist attractions, but they’re a few levels higher than your average Disney World fare. But nothing beats a 1 and a half hour tuk-tuk drive up north to Beng Mealea, where Lonely Planet describes as:
Angkor’s ultimate Indiana Jones experience. Nature has well and truly run riot here — jumbled stones lie like forgotten jewels swathed in liochen, and the galleries are strangled by ivy and vines.
Not being able to tear ourselves away from such a description, we paid an extra $15 USD to our tuk tuk driver for a drive up to Beng Mealea. This is what we stumbled upon:
Don’t let the lighting fool you in the photo below; I had to jump this gap with a camera in one hand and a backpack with nothing to hold on. Had I missed the jump, that would’ve been very bad.
This was pretty dangerous stuff; with one hand unuseable from holding a 10 lb. DSLR camera and a 25 lb. bag on my back, I had to figure out how to swing from vines to cross some serious gaps among the temple ruins, duck under some low-rise doorways made even lower by the jumbled rocks piled up on the ground, climb up to the tops of various temple structures with the assistance of loose branches, and almost lost footing on a giant rock that appeared to be secure. If you want to know how Harrison Ford felt when shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is your chance.
Before Beng Mealea, we managed to get to Angkor Wat at sunrise. Prior to the visit, it seemed every painting and Google Image of Angkor Wat is of it during sunrise and I was compelled to say: BFD (Big Frkin Deal)! But when I got there at 5:30am, this is what welcomed my sore sore eyes:
Enjoy the rest of the pictures. After 3 days of temple-raiding, we’re totally spent and we’re going out on the town. Tomorrow we’re flying to Vientiane in the “forgotten country of Asia” of Laos, where we’re meeting up with Caitlin Halpern. Let’s see how she measures up with the Monsoon Diaries team.
– At time of posting in Siemreap, it was 82.4 °F –
Humidity: 78% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: scattered clouds