Banteay Srei: Oldest Hindu Temple In Cambodia

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I have been thinking a lot about blogging, the commitment, consistency and quality needed for this venture of mine. I have been reading all the helpful tips that travel bloggers leave for each other and especially newbies so I decided to take the plunge and really devote time to the growth and development of my blog.

I contacted these awesome bloggers at www.mytanfeet.com and lo and behold, Yeison Kim agreed to mentor me and help grow my blog.  Yeison and Samantha Wei are young and exciting bloggers who live in Costa Rica and are trying to disprove the edict that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks!

http://wheresidewalksend.com/

http://wheresidewalksend.com/

So here we are-at a new juncture with the unveiling of a recently revamped foreignfeasts.com  I hope you like the design.  The goal of the blog remains the same, to explore travel through local and affordable food.

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As always I will include interesting sights along the way and I am also going to start a new segment where I will introduce good buys for those who like to shop, which I must admit  is a weakness of mine.

This is part II of my trip in February to Cambodia.  I have been reading a lot of articles about Cambodia and no one seems to have mentioned how incredibly hot it is.  It is some serious heat and humidity and I was there during the cool season!

I was with a group tour which started  at 8 am and we would all be drenched in sweat by 8:30 from our casual strolling.  We’re talking serious  rivets of sweat dripping down our faces and backs.

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Forget about makeup and yes, even waterproof makeup.  I was armed with my arsenal of primer, HD foundation and waterproof mascara but it was for naught.  Hey-a girl can be adventurous and glamorous or at least try!  ; )

So, Make Up Forever, Urban Decay or Bobby Brown,  you have a willing human subject if you ever want to put your makeup through some rigorous sweat trials!

On my second day in Cambodia, I visited a thousand year old temple called Banteay Srei. It is 25 km north of Siem Reap and was built around the 10th century.  It was built from red colored sandstone and is just simply beautiful.

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Banteay Srei temple was built for Lord Shiva and is one of the few structures that was not converted to a Buddhist temple when the Khmer Kingdom switched to Theravada Buddhism at the end of the 13th century.

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The original Hindu architectural features are still intact.  The fine detailing and the structural style of the smaller scale buildings are so feminine and elegant  that  Banteay Srei, is also referred to as the  “Citadel of women”.   (Most probably the harem!)

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We walked to the next historical site; Kbal Spean, which is a series of stone carvings in the bed and banks of the Stung Kbal Spean river.  It is also known as the “The River of a Thousand Lingas”.

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A linga or lingam is a stylized phallus which is a symbol of worship for Shiva.  Oh there are so many, many jokes or entendres that one could insert here but this is a PG blog after all…..

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It was 1500 m to the river and there were people doing this hike in flip flops, which I do not recommend because of the giant roots, sandy soil and boulders that form the pathways. There is a beautiful vista midway and interesting foliage and vegetation along the hike.

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The waterfalls at the river were so cool and welcoming after the hike in the early afternoon sun.

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The summit is peaceful and set in a forest of large trees so it is understandable why the ancients Khmers thought of this as a holy site. The weathered carvings in the rocks are well preserved and amazing in their simplicity.

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We stopped along the way to try some palm sugar and fresh coconuts.

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That night we had a delightful meal at one of the fine dining establishments in Siem Reap, called the Selantra Restaurant. It is located close to old town Siem Reap and we dined on the rooftop terrace.

Selantra offers a mixture of Khmer and International food and entrees average about $20. The ambiance was just lovely and we had a great view of the city.

We started the meal with fresh summer rolls.  They were light and flavorful.

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I had tamarind fish curry which was tasty served over rice.

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Alex ordered the beef soup with lemongrass.

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Emily tried the western selection and had Kobe beef.

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Simon the most adventurous amongst us tried the curried frog legs and it is true-frog legs do taste like chicken!

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I was so fortunate on this trip to have made such wonderful friends from the tour group.  I got to experience the fun night life, some fabulous food and cocktails (!) thanks to Emily, Simon and Alex.  Emily and Simon are from the UK and Alex is from Switzerland.

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I will also be eternally grateful to Emily who is an anesthesiologist and helped me immensely with procuring the right medicines for the horrible cold and asthma I had in Cambodia.  I am so glad I chose to do a small group tour which fortuitously led to such good traveling companions and especially friends.

 

3 comments to Banteay Srei: Oldest Hindu Temple In Cambodia

  • Calli  says:

    Congrats on officially taking the plunge – I know Yeison and Samantha will be excellent mentors and have so much knowledge to impart :) Blogging has ended up being so much more work than I ever imagined but it’s also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever taken on. Very rarely does something offer the ability to create like blogging does :)

    • Lila  says:

      Thank You for your kind words. I needed to hear this especially since I have been struggling lately with motivation. It is the kind and supportive bloggers like you that have kept me going especially when I have been struggling with my schedule. Thanks for stopping by and thank you so much for the encouragement. Really appreciate it. :)

  • Jess  says:

    I never visited Cambodia before, but I want to go there this summer because I want to see the old temples and eat that spicy food which can be found only there.

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