Angkor des temples! Retour sur trois jours d’exploration

Suite à notre précédente expédition en bateau sur le Tonlé-Sap, c’est par la voie maritime que nous débarquons à Siem-Rep, point de départ obligé pour aller visiter les monstres d’Angkor.

On vous passera les désagréments liés à cet endroit méga-touristique : flambée des prix, bars à l’occidentale dans la « Pub Street », foule… On est venus pour découvrir les temples d’Angkor, on se concentrera là-dessus.

On a pris le célèbre « Pass trois jours » pour la visite des temples, on a réservé quatre nuits à l’hôtel. Mode marathon activé.

Où t’as mis la lampe frontale?

On commence le premier jour au pas de course. Ne sachant pas trop comment sont configurés les lieux, la distance entre les temples, on a réservé un tuk-tuk qui nous guidera pendant cette première journée.

Pour corser notre histoire, on se lève à 04H30 pour aller assister au lever du soleil sur le temple d’Angkor Vat (le plus connu).

Nous arrivons sur place en pleine nuit. On suit une file d’ombres qui nous mène droit dans l’enceinte du temple. Les silhouettes des tours du temples se détachent à peine dans le paysage.

C’est rigolo de découvrir un endroit sans même le voir.

On arrive aux pieds du temple.  La lumière se réveille doucement. Il semblerait que le voile du ciel empêche le soleil de se lever.

Nous ne sommes pas seuls…

 

Lever de soleil à Angkor Vat

Faudra repasser demain pour le lever du soleil.

Nous enclenchons ensuite notre stratégie anti-foule, et commençons notre tournée des temples, en suivant la « grande boucle » à l’envers. Il s’agit d’être à contre-courant.

Des pyramides

Premier temple : le Pré-Rup: construit autour de 900, il a une structure pyramidale.

C’est là que les premiers rayons de soleil viennent nous réveiller vraiment. Du haut de la grande terrasse, cette sensation est bien agréable.

Pré-Rup, Angkor

On continue ensuite vers Le Mébon Oriental qui est dans la continuité du précédent.
Nous sommes les premiers à visiter le temple.

Quand Nature et Architecture font bon ménage

On enchaîne ensuite sur Ta Som. Le premier temple à structure plate que l’on croisera sur notre route.

Ces pierres, usées et patinées par la nature, ce soleil, toutes ces sculptures encore à moitié vivantes, c’est d’un charme fou.

On traverse le temple dans sa longueur, on franchit un premier mur d’enceinte, qui nous amène à cette porte, dont la statue nous regarde du haut de ses grands airs.

Ta Som, Angkor

La lumière en contre-jour est magnifique. L’endroit doit être bondé en journée, là, nous sommes seuls.

Il suffit de franchir cette porte pour se retrouver devant un arbre…  C’est en pivotant à 180 degrés que la magie opère. Après les magnifiques tours d’Angkor, nous voici devant un des plus étonnants spectacles que peuvent offrir ces temples :

Ta Som, Angkor

La porte est complètement enracinée par l’arbre. On ne sait plus qui porte qui, ni qui porte quoi. C’est magique. J’avais oublié ces images très connues des temples. Ca y est, on est vraiment dans le vif du sujet.

Petit Paradis

On repart l’esprit guilleret, à destination du temple suivant : Neak Pean.

On traverse un lagon infini, dans lequel périssent des troncs d’arbres morts, pour arriver à un tout petit temple, au milieu d’un bassin principal, entouré lui même de quatre petits bassins. Ici l’enfer et le paradis cohabitent sereinement. 

C’est vraiment très mignon ce temple aquatique, encore un nouveau format qui change de nos précédentes découvertes.

Nous sommes debout depuis 04H30 du matin, il est 11h30, on se fait un petit break avant de continuer sur notre lancée.

Les mains en l’air

La fin du circuit approche. Nous pénétrons maintenant dans Preah Khan.
Nous sommes au coeur d’un très grand temple. On entre dans la dimension labyrinthique.

On peut traverser le temple en longueur, sur certaines allées le traverser en largeur. Il y a beaucoup d’éboulis sur le sol, que l’on peut escalader par moments.

Indiana Jones, tu nous entends?

Là encore, quelques arbres dominent les parois des temples. On se demande qui pourra gagner ce bras de fer géant.

On retourne à Angkor Vat. La boucle est bouclée.

On profite du calme relatif de l’heure de midi pour retourner visite le temple d’Angkor Vat. Le soleil cogne sur nos petites têtes de touristes.

On longe les murs, chaleur oblige, c’est plus calme.

La chaleur prend le dessus. Tous ces temples se mélangent. On confond les statues, les bas-reliefs, les murailles et autres racines architecturales. On va se reposer un peu, nous ne sommes qu’à un tiers du parcours.

 

Visite des temples en pédalant.

Le lendemain, on change de mode de transport : c’est parti pour les temples d’Angkor à vélo.

angkor Tom - Bayon

Le Bayon, cet espèce d’amas rocheux situé au centre d’Angkor Thom. Il faut se rapprocher pour mieux discerner les 12000 subtilités de ce temple.

De notre hôtel, quarante minutes suffisent pour arriver sur le site. Il est 08h, on file directement au Bayon, monument central d’Angkor Tom.

Le soleil réveille la centaine de visages sculptés sur les tours de cet immense temple pyramidal. On se sent observés, Big Brother existait il y a quelques centaines d’années déjà.

C’est encore une fois magique, limite angoissant. Et très calme…

On continue de faire le tour d’Angkor Tom, à pied cette fois.

On grimpe tout en haut du Baphuon histoire de profiter d’une bise plus tiède.

Le baphuon - Angkor Tom

Plus loin, dans la jungle, on traverse une porte…

Angkor Tom

 

… qui nous mène vers un temple, encore dans son jus, plutôt inexploré de nos comparses touristes.

Angkor Tom

On prend la mesure de ce que l’exploration de ces temples a dû être aventureuse au début du siècle. De la jungle partout. Des lianes. Des arbres. Des bestioles dangereuses.

Aujourd’hui, « l’exploration » coûte 62 dollars pour trois jours de visite. Soit environ la moitié d’un salaire moyen au Cambodge. Les Cambodgiens visitent-ils leurs temples d’Angkor?

En revenant au centre des activités touristiques, on observe le spectacle de l’arrivée des touristes du haut de la terrasse du roi lépreux. Cette terrasse servait de tribune dédiée à l’observation de tous types de processions… Notre procession à nous est un peu bordélique, moins religieuse, faut le dire :

Angkor Tom

Je crois qu’à ce moment-là on a pris un vrai coup de chaud.

On s’enfuit du temple, poursuivis par ces files de minis-bus et de tuks-tuks, le nez dans les gaz d’échappement des bus. On enchaîne la visite rapide et à l’ombre, de quelques temples sur notre route.

Dans l’heure de midi, on débarque à Ta Prohm. Un des temples les plus connus d’Angkor.Angkor - Ta Phrom
C’est plutôt calme ici, on redéambule dans des espaces plus ou moins ruinés. Le temple central est en cours de rénovation. Cette petite balade au milieu des tas de pierres, des structures encore existantes et des arbres qui sont trop forts nous remet du baume au coeur.

Angkor - Ta Phrom

On termine la visite par un des arbres les plus connus des temples d’Angkor. Il faut aujourd’hui faire la queue au pied de l’arbre pour faire un selfie. Ambiance!

Angkor - Ta Phrom

En repartant, on croise des hordes de touristes qui reviennent de leur pause déjeuner… Bon, vous l’aurez compris, à Angkor, vivez à contre courant.

On pourra résumer les activités de l’après midi en une ligne : visite d’un dernier temple, le Banteay Kdei, puis sieste au bord du Srah Srang.

Une troisième journée plus calme.

Le troisième jour, nous louons un scooter pour nous éloigner des temples d’Angkor. On part dans la campagne, en direction de Kbal Spean. Ce site, en pleine jungle, est connu pour sa rivière sculptée. La balade dans la jungle est sympa.

Kbal Spean - Angkor

On repart ensuite dans l’après-midi en direction du Mébon Occidental. C’est un immense bassin / lac, au milieu duquel il y a un temple sur une petite île. Il faut débourser 10 dollars pour y aller en bateau. On prend plutôt l’option sieste sur la plage, en regardant les bateaux passer.

Mebon occidental - Angkor

En fin d’après-midi, on file pour assister au coucher de soleil de l’autre côté du temple d’Angkot Vat.

Ce soir, le ciel est encore bouché par les nuages. Ca nous rappelle quelque-chose… D’une certaine manière la boucle est bouclée.

Nous repartons heureux de toutes ces visites, impressionnés par la variété des temples, de leurs formes, de leurs sculptures. Bref, Siem Rep, nous le recommandons chaudement à quiconque voudrait visiter le Cambodge. Activité à prévoir plutôt au début du séjour…

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