JOURNAL OF MY TOUR BY JEEP OF THAILAND, CAMBODIA AND VIETNAM

NOVEMBER, 1956 , page 22

As often, it paid to leave the beaten path and climb around privately, which resulted in some astonishing discoveries. One wonders whether one will ever grow beyond this little boy-like pleasure of going where you are not allowed, but soon the excuse offers itself that it was to find a better spot to take that prize-winning photograph. Thus the few Thai and Vietnamese tourists present were astonished to see me climb the central massive almost to the very top, wending my way between the heads, along the lips with confidence but nevertheless fearful that the benevolently smiling god because of this sacrilege might just bite off my whole arm. From up there, the people at the souvenir stalls looked like ants and far beneath me other stone towers and structures testified o the King's far-fetched fantasies.
Where the stones had been too loose, the restorers had put in reinforcements, so that, unless large groups of people would follow my bad example, there was no danger in climbing. As known, however, the descent was more arduous than the ascent.
In this temple, too, it is virtually impossible to find a spot which has not been worked by artisans. Millions of lotuses, thousands of dancing girls, and a galery even more beautiful than Angkor Wat's, with bas reliefs showing among others the war against the Chams. The centerpoint of the cult was the statue of Buddha seated under a five-headed Naga which one can now find restored and roofed on a terrace along the road to Victory Gate.

It is a relief to climb from the narrow and musty halls of the Bayon back into the fresh air. Further to the North follows an open field with a double road, and in the furthest corner of that field our little group of SSSSS'ers (Secret Society of Sight-Seeers in Siam) were to pitch our tents during a two-night visit the following month of May


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It was an ideal camping grounds, if one carried supplies in from Siem Reap. Along the road lies the Terrace of the Elephants, some 300 meters long, representing scenes of war and hunt. The stairs are supported by elephants, and a pride of stone lions awaits you at the top