#BEDM Day 17: The Aerial Palace

For Day 17 of #BEDM, I’ve chosen to use the topic proposed here – Wanderlust/ Travel


I’ve always wanted to travel solo. Although I did have the opportunities when it was work-related, travelling solo for pleasure just never worked out. Until 2014.

For my birthday that year, I traveled to Siem Reap with the main purpose of exploring the temples at Angkor. I’d arrived the day before my birthday to settle in to the lovely hotel a friend found for me online and to gauge my surroundings.

The day of my birthday, I was up at 630 as the tour guide I’d booked would meet me at my hotel at 7am to start the tour. It was a warm day. Tuk tuk was the obvious mode of transportation as these versatile motor rickshaw type vehicles could weave in and out of traffic much too easily. I thought we were early but there were already busloads of tourists at the entrance to the Angkor temple complex.

The tour I booked included the usual sites that we’ve all seen on television, movies or read about in books or magazines – Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Angkor Wat and all the other awesome temples.

The highlight of my excursion though was when the guide brought me to Phimeanakas, a temple which is located inside the walled enclosure of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom. It was not the largest of the temples that I’d seen and was one of the most run down but somehow, I was drawn to it. The guide told me that according to legend, the kings of the time visited the temple every night to sleep with a woman who’s actually a Naga (serpent, snake, etc…). If the Naga did not show up, this meant that the kings days were numbered aka not good.

I remember walking up the crumbling steps to the top, using my hands and knees and when I arrived, I caught the smell of incense. I was alone at the temple and my heart started beating quicker. I peered around a fallen column and saw that there was incense being burnt by an old lady who greeted tourists and handed out blessed yellow strings to be tied around one’s wrists, in exchange for a small donation. Phew, no Naga.

Phimeanakas (The Aerial Palace)

It was truly special to be able to spend my birthday amongst such historical ruins. Like the yellow string around my left wrist, I felt blessed.

2 thoughts on “#BEDM Day 17: The Aerial Palace

  1. What a wonderful trip! I would love to explore the ruins, especially in solitude. I think it would be hard to find a time when it was not crawling with tourists, as they were even there when you were up early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Kei. At times it was a little disheartening when you could hardly see the ruins because of the amount of people blocking your view. Because the temples were spaced quite far apart, there were opportunities to be alone with the ruins – that was when the moment was awesome 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s