We had to bike about 9 km to get to our first stop, Prasat Kravan, a series of 3 brick towers from the 10th century (though reconstructed in the early 20th century). The central tower had 5 levels getting gradually smaller. The bricks had been arranged to create step arches and levels. Inside the central and right towers were beautiful bas reliefs of Vishnu (center tower) and Lakshmi (right tower).
Carving at Prasat Kravan
Banteay Kdei was built in the late 12th to early 13th century. We entered through a gate with the characteristic large faces. The first building had lots of faint Buddhist carvings of someone in a lotus position though many were scratched out. Though the monastery complex was a popular stop for tour groups, it was large enough to escape and sit quietly in the ruins surrounded by large stone blocks and tilted columns and towers. The other main buildings had apsara column carvings. Piles of stones-- some with traces of carved decorations-- littered the ground. Huge spiderwebs adorned the corners of lintels and arches.
Columns in Banteay Kdei
Apsara at Banteay Kdei
One thing that is hard to deal with at Angkor are the touts at the entrance of many of the sites selling books, souvenirs and drinks. At Bantae Kdei, they were inside as well. Children try to sell things then beg for candy. Sometimes you say no and they still try to persuade. It makes me hate people but then I feel like a jerk because they are just trying to make a living.
Tamia does not want to buy any bracelets
Pre Rup rises unexpectedly from the flat landscape as if the Khmers wished to make up for the lack of hills in the area. Its base and the towers are built of red sedimentary stone which is now pockmarked since the sediments have weathered out making it look like lava. The red stone contrasts nicely with the green jungle.
Pre Rup rising from the jungle
Though most of the street we'd been biking on were surrounded by jungle, the stretch after Pre Rup opened up and we were among rice paddies where water buffalo walked. On our way back Rowshan saw a woman giving a bull a bath.
Bull getting a bath
Our last stop was East Mebon, another temple mountain. This one used to be on an island surrounded by water of a reservoir (Baray) but now it is dry. There were some nice elephant statues and carved doorways of the towers. It was afternoon and kind of hot so we headed back stopping to get a quick look at the crowded Angkor Wat.
Towers of East Mebon