She went as far as to shave her head and pretend that she was a boy, since girls were not allowed to live in pagodas. Under her grandfather's guidance, the monks at Angkor Wat educated her in Sanskrit scriptures on palm leaves, practised prayers and rites.
Despite this difficult time period, Akim had a relatively enjoyable time. The statue of the Preserver God Vishnu, whom you can still see at the entrance of Angkor Wat, was a figure she could talk to and always rely on. When the rainy season commenced, the pools atop Angkor Wat were filled, where she spent most of her leisure time. After 5 years of living in the pagoda, suspicions were raised as she could no longer pretend to be a boy. Overtime, schools became available far away in town. She cycled many kilometres each day to get as much education as she could afford at the time.