Our hotel, Teav Boutique Hotel, was a nice place, although not within easy walking distance of the Mekong River, restaurants and other night life. It was, however, clean and comfortable and fine for one night.
After breakfast, our guide and driver picked us up and delivered us to the airport for a short morning flight to Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples and cities of Angkor.
Arriving at Siem Reap, we met our new guide, Sokna and our driver, Hab. Our hotel room was not yet ready, so we headed out to see the temples of the Roluos Group. But first, they dropped us at a nice restaurant outside of Siem Reap, the Stueng Trorcheak Restaurant and Garden Bar. Pat ordered Fried Serpent Fish with Tamarind. I had Khmer Red Curry with Chicken served in a fresh coconut.
After this really tasty lunch, we visited our first temple of the Roluos Group, “The Roluos Group is a collection of monuments representing the remains of Hariharalaya, the first major capital of the Angkorian-era Khmer Empire. It has become known as the ‘Roluos Group’ due to its proximity to the modern town of Roluos. The ancient capital was named for Hari-Hara, a synthesis of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu. Though there was an existing settlement in the area before the rise of Angkor, Hariharalaya was established as a capital city by Jayavarman II and served as the Khmer capital for over 70 years under four successive kings.” (Ankor Temple Guide).
The first temple we visited was Lolei. “Lolei is a Hindu temple constructed in 893 AD by King Yasovarman I who ruled from 889-910 AD. He dedicated this temple to his ancestors, in the concept of Hindu belief. (Lolei Temple) Unfortunately, the site was under restoration/conservation, so the we didn’t take an over-all photo.
Next to the old temple was an active Buddhist temple. Pat went in but I didn’t (I should have, it turns out!)
Next we went to Preah Ko. “Preah Ko was one of the first major temples of the empire at the early Khmer capital of Hariharalaya. Preah Ko (Sacred Bull) derives its name from the statues of bulls at the front of the central towers.” (Angkor Temple Guide)
Our final stop of the day was Bakong. “The temple, dedicated to the god Shiva, was the core of Hariharalaya, the first Angkorian capital…” (Bakong—the gateway temple to Angkor)
As part of our “experience”, we were given a very, very bumpy ox cart ride around the Bakong site. It gave us a better understanding of how vast the temple grounds were. The right side ox was not always willing to walk straight, felt kind of like a car with a wheel out of alignment.
We then returned to the hotel, La Residence Blanc D’Angkor, checked in, rested and ate in the hotel restaurant.