Given the scores of camera-toting tourists lined up at the artificial lake in front of Angkor Wat waiting for the requisite dawn or dusk money shot, it continues to be a global tourism drawcard.
[caption id="attachment_2168" align="alignnone" width="448"] Angkor Wat in late morning sunlight.[/caption] Other temples such as Angkor Thom and Bayon attract similar sized crowds.
These sites are only 90 minute’s bone-rattling drive from Angkor Wat, but off the beaten track.
There are numerous nearly forgotten places, just as hauntingly beautiful as Angkor Wat but minus thousands of tourists.
One income supports a dozen people around Siem Reap, a fact other hoteliers have callously ignored.
Most travellers in Siem Reap spend a few days at the great temples, undoubtedly among Asia’s magnificent sights.
[caption id="attachment_2169" align="alignnone" width="275"] Ta Prohm temple and strangling fig trees.[/caption] I spend a hot humid afternoon at Beng Mealea and Koh Ker temples.
My guide, a survivor from Pol Pot’s decimation of the educated elite, mentions that a dark corridor I am tempted to explore at Beng Mealea is rife with ‘scorpions and cobras’ and that it is unwise to proceed.
Angelina Jolie fans at Ta Prohm temple duly recreate scenes from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider film shot here in 2001.
[caption id="attachment_2184" align="alignnone" width="336"] Strangler fig tree at Ta Prohm.[/caption] Gigantic fig vines twist around ancient stones recreating an alluring film set atmosphere.