We spent our day 5 in Kompong Thom, staying overnight at the town most 'prestigious' Royal Garden Hotel. This is a small town without much happening at night, it was kind of spooky and many of us had unusual encounters throughout the night. I would, nevertheless, save this part of the story to myself.
We began our journey to the remote Sambor Prei Kuk and Phnom Santuk temples as early as 7am the next morning. The former requires the traversing of several villages on a bumpy road, the latter challenges our stamina in ascending 804 steps up a hill of 200m above sea level - not a fun adventure at all under a scorching sun where eggs might get fried in a mere 2 minutes.
After a painful ride and a rewarding temple visit to the first destination, we headed to Phnom Santuk for a local lunch before our 2nd program of the day. We had the best chicken meat here for our entire Cambodian journey. Of course, there is always a price to pay for a good meal - the village breed chicken cost 3 dollars per kg, and we paid a significant amount of 30 dollars for this village meal. We were nearly caught off guard by the excitement displayed by the village children over our leftover dishes (some bones with remnants of chicken meat). We later gathered that the children could only enjoy chicken feast once a year and that is during their New Year celebration.