We had a 7am pick up from the hotel. We also had a local guide with us, plus Dave. The guide was very friendly and kind. A bit hard to understand his English. He was extremely helpful to me and always carried my camera bag and sometimes my camera. Dave did the driving. I should have asked the year of the SUV. It is a 97 and not in the best condition. Shawn usually sat in the back and his window wouldn’t roll down. Twice the SUV wouldn’t start. Evidently, he had just had his car cleaned under the hood and they didn’t connect the wires properly. Then the last time he said there was a crack in the battery. I do have to say that he is a good driver and can maneuver in and out of the crazy traffic.
We drove to Bantreay Srei. It is a small and unique temple with very fine carvings. It was restored in 2005. We were there pretty early so not too many people around. Although, Mr. Sorn (the guide) was very nice, he was directing me every second about where to stand and what photo to take. Shawn was just wandering around on his own and doing his own thing. I got irritated, but didn’t say anything. After a while, I walked around by myself. Here are a few photos: I enjoyed taking the view from the pond with all the lily pads and flowers.
Kbal Spean – Valley of the 1,000 Lingas. These were a series of stone carvings in sandstone formations carved in the river bed and banks. The motifs for the stone carvings are phallic symbols of the Hindu god Shivah as well as various animals and depictions of other Hindu gods. Our guide, Sorn, led the way in sandals, carrying my bag, water and most of the time – my camera with the heavy lens. The temperature had to be in the 90s and humidity 100 per cent. You had to watch where you were walking every minute and much of it was pretty steep. There were very few opportunities to take photos and nothing really to see but huge rocks, trees, and large red ants. I got bitten twice by the ants. When we finally arrived at the river bed. We saw the carvings in the river bed and along the side. Then we had to walk down a ravine and you could see water falls and more carvings. The figures were carved by hermits around the 11th or 12 centuries. The whole hike took about 3 hours. I didn’t realize that we would be hiking so far or through such difficult terrain. I can’t say that we enjoyed the experience. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.