After Ta Prohm, we then headed back to the hotel to check out and eat again—I feel like we’re always eating on these Semester at Sea trips; it’s definitely hard to go hungry while traveling with the program!—before returning to the complex for the final time and viewing Angkor Thom, of which my personal favorite Bayon is a part.
In my opinion, Bayon is the most photogenic of all the Khmer temples we visited, boasting a number of smiling faces and carvings among its sprawling structure.
In fact, 216 faces decorate the crumbling facade, which was founded upon Buddhist symbolism.
Unlike Ta Prohm with its scores of tourists, Bayon was relatively deserted; SVV and I wandered up and down the steep staircases without so much as passing another person. I couldn’t help but think this would be the place to play one massive game of hide and go seek.
There were a number of resident spiders, though, so if you go to Bayon, watch your heads!
I found the ubiquitous signs prohibiting visitors from sitting on the “balustrade” funny, especially as I thought it was a photo of a dragon for a good portion of our visit.
While there, I also attempted another jumping shot with one of the students, James, but only proceeded to land in between two stones and scratched up in my foot.
This from the girl who sliced open her finger this summer on a raw cauliflower…it’s not surprising, really. He, on the other hand, got some pretty serious air.
Then something funny happened and SVV ran into a Scottish guy who was wearing (almost) the same Wal-Mart T-shirt of Animal the Muppet Baby as he was. Naturally, this called for a photo.
At this point in our 80-hour day (or so it seemed), we were all borderline delirious, both from seeing so many temples and from having been up since 4am. Cambodia tip: Give yourself a few days in Siem Reap and space out your temple visits; you can purchase a seven-day pass and enter the park as often as you like during that period. That way, you get the full experience and enjoy the complex to its fullest, whereas many of our group were all “another temple? *eye roll*” by the end of the afternoon.
Temple fatigue truly had set in and hysteria ensued among our group—well, among certain members at the very least.
This quartet of girls, in particular, was straight-up delirious and flitted among the stone work doing yoga poses and mimicking the lion sculptures.
And then we all piled back onto the little bus that transports you around the complex and headed out for the Siem Reap airport, templed out but more than satisfied by our whirlwind tour of Cambodia.