Angkor Wat at dawn.
Angkor Wat with Heisham in the distance.
However the main purpose for my wanting to visit Siem Reap a second time around was to visit Beng Melea which is a little farther out from Siem Reap in the opposite direction of Angkor Wat. It was a short trip with a full Thursday spent visiting the Angkor ruins and the good part of Friday morning visiting Beng Melea which was about an hour's drive out of Siem Reap.
As I wanted to be a hero, I decided to travel light this time and shoot entirely on film and on two camera bodies mainly a Leica M6 and MP (I left the Lomo LC-A out at the last minute). Everything went into a Think Tank waist pouch and voila! Travel Photography made light and easy.....somewhat. And I must say I found it such a liberating experience unlike the first time I was here with cumbersome slingbag with DSLR and heavy tripod in tow! The waist pouch camera bag concept is just revolutionary as all that weight is transfered to your hips allowing one to traipse gaily over fallen rocks and boulders without much effort like so..
Beng Mealea was simply breathtaking. It was a damn good thing we got there early before the tour groups arrived because being there alone, amidst the forested ruins, one can't help but feel a sense of awe and adventure.
The toppled entrance to Beng Mealea.
Unlike the rest of the Angkor ruins which are now mostly well kept and manicured, Beng Mealea has been left to the jungle and it's growth has been allowed free rein. This may not be a bad thing as not only does it add to the "lost quiet jungle ruin" atmosphere but it more importantly provides protection and shade from the sun!
The Beng Mealea experience was simply a beautiful and breathtaking one, that is until the noisy Chinese tourist horde arrived with their shrieks and howls. It all then went downhill from there..
Nevetheless we got the hell outta there...