Right across the road from Thommanon is a small temple known as Chau Say Thevoda. Similar in construction and floor plan to Thommanon, Chau Say Thevoda appears to be a neglected sister of her well preserved sibling to the north but fact of a matter is, Thommanon was built much earlier than Chau Say Thevoda.
When Thommanon and Chau Say Thevoda were initially discovered, it was believed that they were built to be a pair. Their location on each side of the road just outside of the Victory Gate made it seem as though they were planned to line the Victory Way, but neither is true. Victory Gate as well as much of Angkor Thom were built much later.
Compared to Thommanon, Chau Say Thevoda is in desolate state but restoration works are in progress so the temple is slowly regaining its original shape. As is the case with most other temples, Chau Say Thevoda faces east with east gopura (entrance gate) being the biggest and most elaborate. Even though Chau Say Thevoda is basically identical to Thommanon, it’s slightly smaller and has gopuras on each of the walls (Thommanon only has east and west gopuras, south and north walls have holes as though gateways were intended, but were never finalized). Unlike Thommanon, Chau Say Thevoda has two (not one) libraries – one in the south-east and one in the north-east corner.
The most obvious difference between Thommanon and Chau Say Thevoda is the “stone bridge” – a causeway on pillars which may have once served as the means of access to the temple from the Siem Reap River. This causeway stretches on for quite a bit and if it weren’t for money hungry Cambodians who were flocking around to harass the crap out of me until I have eventually given in and gave them all my money, I would have probably climbed on it to see how far it leads.
Mentally and physically exhausted, I have made Chau Say Thevoda my last temple on the small circuit and rode back through Angkor Thom to buy one more coconut from my new friends at Angkor Wat. Every thread on every bit of garment I was wearing was sogged in sweat. My skin was on fire from exposure to an insanely intense Cambodian sun and I simply had no more strength left to resist the relentless touts and other scam artists who prey on exhausted tourists as they become easy targets. I wanted to finish the small circuit in one day, but this was much tougher a task than it seemed. I was physically fit and in good shape to cover the distance on a bicycle but the sun of Cambodia is a force that’s not to be taken lightly. Riding though Angkor is easy – roads are flat with virtually no hills to scale, but the heat is more than devastating.