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TS and the Temples of Doom, Well, the Doomed Temples Anway

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 28, 2013

I had a few rest days over the weekend, mainly because I was sampling the local brew and did not feel like taking my bike out amongst the suicide drivers, not while under the weather anyway 🙂 But, today seemed like a good day for it as I had a booze free night last night. 🙂

I was up early, had an early breakfast and was on my way by 07.30. The tourist site at Angkor WAT was my goal, it actually opens at 5am, a lot of people go there for the sunrise shot, but I decided against it. Shonny and Fintan had told me about all the scaffolding around the place and that it may be difficult to take photos without that in shot. On that basis I was not going to worry about getting up early and then be unable to get a decent photo, I will nick one off the net from somewhere 🙂

Also scattered within the site were some Geocaches, so I planned on trying to find them as well. The people I had spoken to told me the place is massive and it is best to ride a bike or rent a tuktuk with driver. I was intending to ride my bike around, although I had no idea what to expect. So, the first thing I did was go to the wrong place, I ended up at the back gate entrance where the ticket inspectors told me to go away? They had no tickets to sell here either, bummer, but I did not see any signs pointing to a ticket office, they told me where to go 😦

Now, on my way out here my bike was playing up something shocking, it kept coughing and spluttering and stalling which was going to be a problem. The fuel was low, about 100km left, but I thought I would go and fill it up anyway as I had had similar problems with crap fuel in the past. That worked a treat, the new fuel fixed the problem, which now means I have to empty the tank and replace the fuel filter, I have spares with me.

Anyway, I finally get onto the right road and end up at the correct entrance, this one had a ticket office 🙂 But, there were no ATMs, so I needed to go back again, find an ATM and get enough cash out to buy a ticket. Just for the record, here in Cambodia they use their own currency, Cambodian Riels, or US dollar. So, I finally got to the ticket queue, with money in hand and bought a 3 day pass for $40.

The reason there is only one entrance selling tickets became clear, they take your photo and print it out on the ticket with the expiry date.

This was when a pig, I mean tourist policeman came over to me and told me I could not ride my bike through the site. WTF, what bullshit is this? He told me to go and rent a tuktuk, well I was becoming pissed off real quick and they would not take a refund, so it looked like I had wasted my money and time 😦 After I sat and fumed for a bit I recalled his parting words, ‘I have told you, if you go in and get caught, you have been warned”. Hmm, bugger it, I calmed down and decided to go and show my ticket at the back gate.

Once at the back gate I showed my ticket, they clipped a hole in it(you can see the hole in the ticket, on the reverse it corresponds to the 28, the date I entered). I can now enter and leave as many times today as I want and I have a week to use up the three days 🙂 As soon as I enter I am at the moat that surrounds Angkor WAT, I did not know this at the time as I had no map of the area. I rode around for a bit and I used one of the Geocaches as a destination, so I could become familiar with the site. There were scores of people, on pushies, tuktuks, cars and heaps of big tourist buses and small people mover buses. It was like normal traffic anywhere and the place was huge!!!! I crossed a bridge over a moat and came to a big gate, which turned out to be the south gate into the walled city of Angkor Thom. I stopped for a few photos here, the traffic through the gate is one way, once the traffic has flowed in one direction, the other gets a go. You can see the bridge in the photo with elephants.

The first temple I came to was called Bayon so I stopped for a look, it was quite run down but some of the carvings were still in good shape, erm, maybe that is why they are called ruins 😉

The next place, only about 300m up the road was the Baphuon place. Here I parked up once again under the shade of a tree and went hunting a Geocache called Elephant Angkor. My bike was getting quite a few stares and I have seen some cops, but nothing has been said to me yet 😉 This complex was quite large with arrow signs advising which way to travel, but I took a short cut across to the cache location and I had soon bagged my first Cambodian cache 🙂

Next I headed over to the temple area and here I climbed some very steep steps to get a nice view from up top.

I was getting a bit hungry and needed a few things that I had forgotten, like a pen and some new SPOT batteries, so I headed away from here through another gate on the other side of the grid then I took the long way round back to the back gate where I had entered. This was about 20-30km, a massive area. Going through town I spotted what looked like a patient as a passenger on a bike, he was holding his IV bag up, but the tube was going down towards his groin area, maybe happy juice?

Once I had picked up what I needed and had lunch I ventured back out to the site with no issues on entry. One of my Vstrom riding friends that I met in Vientiane had sent me a message that said riding with lights on in Cambodia is illegal, nothing was said at the border!!! Far from me to do anything illegal 😉 but I prefer my safety with the headlights on, so people can see me. I guess I will find that out first hand one day about this, but until then, I know nothing. During the rest of today I saw hundreds of cops and tourist police, nobody said a word about my bike not being allowed here, nor about the lights(which are on with the ignition and won’t turn off unless they are unplugged, but they cannot be unplugged otherwise the regulator/rectifier will burn out). On arrival at the first bridge that I had crossed earlier today(with the elephants on it), I noticed zero traffic nor people, a nice time for a photo 🙂

My next destination was an old ruin called Ta Nei, it was along a dirt track as it turns out, this was to the second of today’s caches and the cache description did say it was an isolated place and very quiet, it was 🙂 The cache is called Ta Nei – Temple of Butterflies. I did an external circuit of this place before entering and searching for the cache. I had to read the cache info quite a few times until I finally, after about 10 minutes, found the cache 🙂 Sometimes the difficulty in finding it can be the satellite signal, if the signal is a bit weak or blocked by trees for example, then the accuracy is not the best. And the accuracy I have today, is different from when the cache was placed. My ‘ground zero’ for this cache was actually about 5 meters away, but because the description was good, I went by that instead.

There were some Travel Bugs in here so I grabbed them for release when I return to the colony 🙂 Then it was off to the third cache location, this one looked like it was going to be impressive, going by the cache name and description. The actual temple name is Ta Prohm, but the cache is called Tomb Raider – The Sequel. This one is a walled enclosure, about 1,000m by 700m and once through the entrance gate, this is from the west, there is a long walk to the temple itself. I have to say I am impressed by this one, lots of walls being overgrown by trees, very cool 🙂

Once inside the temple compound I found the cache very easily, I mean the description left nothing to chance. I looked at the tree covered wall from both sides, before managing a close up sidle, to snatch the cache with no muggles seeing me 🙂

A couple more travel bugs were inside, so I grabbed them prisoners and will take em to Oz for release 🙂 Once I had signed the logbook, I managed to sneak the cache back into its hiding place, without being noticed as far as I could tell 😉 From here on I was a tourist, no more caches today, but this temple and the strangler trees were brilliant, I love it 🙂 Here is a choice selection and I still haven’t seen the most famous one at Angkor WAT itself.

This is the other side of the wall from that last picture above.

Some more impressive root systems.

After that I decided to call it a day. There was no need to over indulge and it was a hot day, so I cruised back, still no interest from the cops 🙂 Once back at the Home I refreshed the outside and then the inside 🙂

I had a few of these, but as there was no need to rush back, I decided I would have a quiet day tomorrow and return the day after.

Cheers from Siem Reap, Cambodia

12 Responses to “TS and the Temples of Doom, Well, the Doomed Temples Anway”

  1. Bob said

    I’m told some European V-Stroms have switches to turn off their headlights, so I assume no R/R damage would result from running with no lights.

    • Not sure on that, but I do have an after market switch on one headlight. This is only used if I start running my heated gear where the extra 55w of power is needed.

      All the excess power is dropped across the R/R which is in shunt mode and can burn out from overheating, especially if the wind flow is not cooling it down, like in slow mode at tourist sites.

      At a pinch I could put tape over the lens, but do not wish to

  2. Ron2wheels said

    Other guys have had hassles with lights on, so many take black tape to cover the light.
    They seem to be inconsistent with allowing/disallowing bikes in or not.
    Glad you’re enjoying the place; it’s special.

  3. ron2wheels said

    The shadier side; #1

  4. ron2wheels said


    (A couple of days of light rain here Richard)

  5. DS said

    Still enjoy seeing the world through your camera, have a safe trip Richard…

  6. biwoz said

    Amazing. Pompeii and Rome have been on my bucket list since I was a kid (I’m 62) and I finally got to go there last year. They blew me away.

    But I think I just found something else to go on my bucket list … Angkor Wat … and Macchu Pichu … and Leptis Magna … and 😉

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