Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Today we were up bright and early to leave by 7:30 am in the hired car with a driver and the hotel owner Marco. We set off for the Koh Ker ancient ruins. The trip was about 3 hours each way on mostly paved road. The last 10 km was red gravel. Our destination was North East of Siem Reap. It’s far enough off the beaten track that the crowds are no where to be seen. Along the way we passed through many rural villages that are completely agriculture based. The crops we saw were rice, bananas, mangos, cashew nut trees and potatoes. The potato plants don’t look anything like what we grow! They have long, almost stick like stalks with leaves on top probably 6 feet high. Not quite sure what type of potato they are, the driver said the noodles we had at lunch were made from them.
The ruins were very impressive. The largest temple had a very different look compared to some of the others we saw the other day. It reminded us very much of the ruins we saw in Mexico. There are signs around the main temple and nearby temples that indicate the area was cleared of UXO (unexploded ordinances) and mines.
There are warnings that we read that indicate you shouldn’t try to visit the farther out remote ruins as there are still ordinances in those areas. We climbed to the top of the main temple, they have built wooden staircases up to the various levels. While it may sound easy, it’s certainly a hike as the steps are pretty steep.
The view from the top was really impressive. It was a great spot to sit and just take it all in.
After we got back down we walked back out to the entrance where there were a number of small shops and two restaurants under thatched roofs. We enjoyed a nice cold beer and some lunch.
From there we drove into the local village to find the home of one of Marco’s neighbours. They live and work in Siem Reap but have a home in the Koh Ker village. The home is built on stilts and has a very nice covered sitting area at the front of it. Once we’d checked on the home, we made our way back out the dirt road leading into the village. When we’d first turned on to the road both of us thought it was only used for motor bikes but our driver managed to navigate our small car safely down and back! We then followed the main road that loops around from the main temple, to see probably 10 smaller temples of varying sizes and styles.
We arrived back at the hotel around 4 which gave us time to have another cold beer and cool off in the pool. It was an early supper tonight as tomorrow morning we have to be up at 4:00 a.m. to go to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. After sunrise we will have time to come back to the hotel for breakfast, grab out bags and get to the airport for our 11:45 am departure to Bangkok.