Off the beaten path

A trip to Beng Melea was amazing.  This temple is about 70km from Siem Reap.  In my opinion it was one of the more exciting temples because of its natural ruin state, with no cleaning of it or restoration taking place.  The roof stones and any stones that have fallen over the years lay where they fell.  Also, there is little organization as to where you are allowed to walk/go – so its a “free for all” to climb on top of the temple.  I climbed the walls, the fallen roof, made my way to the highest points and back down. There is a walking path if you like to follow a path, I like to go off the beaten path and make my own :).

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The motor bike is the king of the road!

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Sopheap, my tuk tuk driver going to Beng Melea.  Fun fact: Sopheap used to be a boxer in his younger years!

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The front entrance of Beng Melea

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Vines that one can climb on!

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Places I walked on!

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Yes, its high! #nofear #daredevil

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This kid was no annoyed with me! He tried to give me a tour also and then at the end asked for a tip, I again told him to go to school and I had no tip for him.  He started whining asking for a tip even more, so I took a picture with him!

I mentioned in a previous post about how you can see the high of highs and the low of lows in this country.  On this ride to Beng Melea, it is very apparent at the differences in life styles people have and live.  Much of the country side is scattered with homes like this.  Most are owned by the rice field farmers and they are the ones that bring the product to everyones table!

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No electricity, no running water, extremely simple. The water these people have is dirty and polluted – brown and yellow in color.  They wash all their items in it, they drink it, that is all they have. I couldn’t imagine living like that.

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This is one of the worse ones I saw, I saw many like this however, so it wasn’t “standing out”

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Load it up! This is a common site to see for transporting goods.

On the way back from Beng Melea Temple, we stopped at Preah Ko Temple and an orphanage that was nearby as well.  This is an orphanage my driver volunteers at periodically and has helped in the past.

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Preah Ko temple

Here, Sopheap is showing me the orphanage.  This is Little Angels Orphanage which is home to about 80 children.  They learn english during the day and stay busy making artwork that they sell in the afternoons.  This is one of many orphanages in the Siem Reap area/region.  I learned the the Siem Reap region is considered one of the poorest regions in Cambodia, where about 30% of the population lives below the poverty line – which here the poverty line is $30 USD per month!

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Sopheap entering the orphanage.

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One of the kinds making artwork out of leather

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The classroom for the kids.  No class today because it is a school holiday

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The kids of the orphanage! Really makes one appreciate all the small things we have – especially when seeing living like this.

After a long day out on the road, time to head back to town and rest up a little.  After a few hours of resting I went back to the Mosque (about .5 KM from my hotel) and went for Iftar and met some of the local people at the mosque.  It is a smaller place, I talked to the main organizer and facilitator of the place and he said it was built about 30 years ago and has been growing since. They even have a Facebook page!

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Iftar dinner with all the locals!

Whew, busy day!  Time to kick back and relax a bit now.  Next stop – Bangkok, Thailand!


  1. I love how small little things (that we might think is not important) can make simple people happy. That is said to be true happiness.

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