02.02.2013 - 02.02.2013 36 °C
Northeast of Siem Reap, there are two sites famous for riverbed linga carvings. Since this entire part of the country was out of reach during the 90s, because it was mined and under Khmer Rouge control, this was my first chance to visit. We traveled by taxi from Siem Reap to Phnom Kulen, where we saw a sacred spring and the riverbed carvings, as well as a clifftop statue of a reclining Buddha. The most powerful part of the day, though, we found at the end of a very rough one-hour (8-mile) ride on the backs of motorcycles to the Sras Damrei (Elephant Pool) site. The path through the forest was mostly a deep dirt trail, although at times we were crossing broad areas of bald rock and fording small streams. The trail ended in a steep cliffside, where ancient stone carvings of an elephant, two lions, an ox, and a frog (or was it a leopard? this seems to be in dispute) have been standing guard over the forest for long centuries.