Our second day in Siem Reap was just as exciting as our first. We got to ride in an original “Tomb Raider style” military jeep which took us to Phnom Kulen–the mountain is considered the birthplace of the Khmer empire and a sacred place for the Khmer people. Here we got to discover ancient stone carvings in a riverbed and visit several hidden pagodas, including Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha. It required a light trek on our part which wouldn’t have been so taxing if not for the heat. I guess you can say we experienced the real Siam Reap–with its rough roads, flying dust and rising temperatures (it was 42 degrees Celsius that day). Don’t get me wrong, it was all very fun in the beginning, until the heat finally got to us. We also experienced a bit of bad luck for this trip. The military jeeps–we had two at our disposal–kept breaking down, until the tour group finally called us a van and later on a car. We lost precious time as they attempted to fix the broken vehicles, so we weren’t able to do all the things in the itinerary in one day. It didn’t really bother us though, because it gave us more time to chat (that’s what girls do) and we were able to visit the hidden temple on our last day so all is good.
Some of these lingams date back to the 9th century. The lingas are symbol of God Shiva’s essence and were built to purify the water of the river and make it fertile to then irrigate the rice fields.