This is a continuation from my previous post on the first two temples (Banteay Srei and Preah Khan) I visited during the second day of my temple-hopping adventures in Siem Reap. After having seen five temples in the last 24-hours (I went to Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm the previous day), I had three more temples to tackle: Neak Pean, Ta Som, and Pre Rup. Despite being hot, hungry, and tired, I was looking forward to cramming in a few more temples before my Cambodian adventures were over.
Neak Pean was probably the most underwhelming “temple” I saw in Siem Reap. There was practically nothing to see at the temple sight, save for a small structure in the middle of a pond. Though Neak Pean didn’t impress me at first, the history behind this artificial island is quite interesting and different from the other temples I saw. Originally used for medicinal purposes, each body of water represented the Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. It was believed that going into these connected pools would stabilize the elements within you and rid you of disease (a bit of research can certainly make you appreciate something!).
I found Ta Som to be quite similar to Ta Prohm; the design of these temples resembled one another, both have not had much restoration done, and there were massive trees growing throughout and on top of the structures. Built in the late 12th century, Ta Prohm was certainly beautiful to walk through and wasn’t as busy the further into the temple you walked. There was also a section inside the temple where locals were selling some interesting handiworks and quite a few lovely older females who sold fruit at the entrance (can’t beat a fresh pineapple cut up right in front of you for US$1).
Pre Rup, meaning “turn the body”, was one of my favorite temples in Siem Reap. This Hindu temple wasn’t exactly large, but it was certainly high and the views were great. I sat at the top for awhile, taking in the tall structures scattered about, and the contrast between the red brick and sandstone and the bright green trees in the distance. I also liked this temple because there weren’t many tourists around, which was basically a miracle given my experience at some of the other temples. In short, Pre Rup was the perfect spot to end my last day of temple visits.
For more information on hiring a driver, entrance fees, and appropriate dress, read my previous article on Exploring Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm: Day 1 temple tour in Siem Reap