Properly templed-out


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Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor
March 2nd 2007
Published: March 15th 2007
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It's not fair, because there so much else to see, but the fact is that most people who come to Siem Reap (Hello Moto?) do so to see the temples, Angkor Wat being the most famous, and so did we. So, when our Tuk Tuk-driver who got the job to drive us from the bus station to the guest house, for a lousy 1,000 Riel ($0.25), stopped half-way there to ask if he could be our driver to the temples the next day it wasn't like we didn't need the service, but his sales method carried a bit of scam warning on it. After all we had agreed a price for the ride to the guest house, nothing else. We explained this to him and after that he was very reasonable, drove us to the guest house and of course got the job for the next day - Angkor Wat and a number of the other major nearby temples afterwards, and the next day, and the next. Nice work!

To get up early is not a problem, but 4.15 am is still a bit a of a pain. If you want to see the magic at Angkor Wat at sunrise, that's
The whole gang...The whole gang...The whole gang...

in "our" Tuk Tuk
what you have to do though. We also thought we would miss a lot of the crowds at that time. In part we were probably right, but it's not really an original thought, which meant that we were not really alone - far from it. Still magical, but a bit disappointing at the same time. This was supposed to be absolutely spectacular. We were probably more impressed with Machu Picchu (Inca Trail - pleasure & pain) the first time we saw it. Angkor Wat grew on us though. We managed to visit it twice more over the three days, during different light conditions and looking at different things. It is fantastic, and anyone thinking about a trip to this part of the world should not miss it.

There are other temples that are more interesting, for various reasons. Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world (so they say) and the scale is what really makes it. Some of the smaller temples, like Bantey Srei, are more delicate and beautiful. Others, like the overgrown ruins of Ta Prohm (best viewed in the afternoon, with less tourists and softer light, which adds to the ambience) and Beng Mealea are more mystical.

Beng Mealea is the ultimate Indiana Jones experience, with few tourists, probably because it takes two hours on a Tuk Tuk to get there. It was during this trip we solved the mystery with the refilled Pepsi, Johnny Walker and 7-Up bottles we had seen everywhere along the roads in Cambodia. They serve as moto petrol stations, with the petrol obviously stored in the bottles. During our trip to Beng Mealea our driver had to stop several times to fill the moto up.

Ta Prohm was used for a couple of scenes in the movie Tomb Raider a few years ago. In the movie it looks very remote, mystical and overgrown. In reality, it's not. Nature has however taken Ta Prohm to bits, with large trees growing through and on top of the buildings and walls around the temple. It has been manicured, however. Beng Mealea on the other hand is just what you're looking for, if you want to go on your own "treasure hunt". Not a lot has been done to the place, and we imagine it looks more like it did when originally re-discovered (and after the Khmer Rouge had done their best to destroy it with mines...)
Monks inside Angkor ThomMonks inside Angkor ThomMonks inside Angkor Thom

Click on this one (to enlarge) and have a look at the right upper arm of the monk on the left.
than many of the other temples.

Although it's hard to compare one to the other, as most of the temples are so different (we visited 18 of them during three days), Beng Mealea (thanks Alex for the tip!), Banteay Srei och Ta Prohm are probably our favourites.

It's hard to write anything about this place that you can't find anywhere else online. Cameras are not very good (in our hands anyway) to capture the beauty, scale and mystique. All we can advise is to go and see it, if you have the chance. It's one of our absolute top experiences during this trip. Nothing beats the Inca Trail (Inca Trail - pleasure & pain) though, this far.

(As usual, this post includes a lot of pictures. Click on next at the bottom of this page to see them all.)


Det ar orattvist, eftersom det finns sa mycket mer att se, men faktum ar att de flesta manniskor som kommer till Siem Reap (Hello Moto?) gor det for att se templen, varav Angkor Wat ar det mest kanda, och sa aven vi. Sa nar var Tuk Tuk-chauffor som fatt uppgiften att kora oss fran busstationen till vart vandrarhem, for 1.000 ynkliga Riel (mindre
Library...Library...Library...

one of two at Angkor Wat
an tva kronor), stannade halvvags for att fraga om han kunde fa bli var chauffor till templen nasta dag var det inte sa att vi inte behovde hans service, men forsaljningstekniken luktade lite lurendrejeri. Vi hade trots allt kommit overens om ett pris till vandrarhemmet, inget mer. Vi forklarade detta for honom och efter det var han mycket mer medgorlig, korde oss till vandrarhemmet och fick forstas jobbet nasta dag - Angkor Wat och ett antal av de stora templen runtom efterat, och nasta dag, och nasta. Bra jobbat!

Att ga upp tidigt pa morgonen ar inget problem, men 4.15 ar anda lite val jobbigt. Om man vill se Angkor Wats magik i soluppgangen ar det anda sa tidigt man maste ga upp. Vi trodde ocksa att vi skulle slippa en del av folkmassorna sa dags. Vi hade delvis ratt, men det ar inte en direkt originell ide, vilket betydde att vi inte var ensamma - langt ifran. Det var magiskt, men en besvikelse pa samma gang. Det skulle vara helt makalost. Vi var kanske mer imponerade forsta gangen vi sag Machu Picchu (Inca Trail - pleasure & pain). Efter ett tag uppskattade vi det dock mer och mer.Vi lyckades besoka templet tre ganger,
Main building in Angkor Wat (one of them anyway)Main building in Angkor Wat (one of them anyway)Main building in Angkor Wat (one of them anyway)

The picture doesn't show how steep the stairs were, this is more like a very steep ladder actually.
i olika ljusforhallanden, och sag olika delar. Det ar fantastiskt, och alla som planerar en resa till den har delen av varlden borde se det.

Det finnns intressantare tempel, av olika anledningar. Angkor Wat ar den storsta religiosa byggnaden i varlden (sags det), och just storleken ar vad som verkligen gor det. Nagra av de mindre templen, exempelvis Bantey Srei, ar mer detaljrika och vackra. Andra, som den overvaxta Ta Prohm-ruinen (bast sedd pa eftermiddagen, med farre turister och mjukare ljus, vilket gor det mer stamningsfullt) och Beng Mealea ar mer gatfulla.

Beng Mealea ar den ultimata Indiana Jones-upplevelsen, med fa turister, kanske for att det tar tva timmar med Tuk Tuk att ta sig dit. Det var pa denna resa vi loste mysteriet med de pafyllda Pepsi-, Johhny Walker- och 7-Up-flaskorna vi sett overallt langs de Kambodjanska vagarna. De ar helt enkelt motorcykelmackar, med flaskorna forstas fulla av bensin. Pa resan till Beng Mealea behovde vi stanna flera ganger for att tanka mopeden.

Ta Prohm anvandes for nagra scener i filmen Tomb Raider for nagra ar sedan. I filmen verkar det valdigt avlagset, mystiskt och overvuxet. Inte sa i verkligheten. Naturen har visserligen tagit over Ta Prohm,
H inside one of the...H inside one of the...H inside one of the...

smaller temples at Angkor Thom
och trad vaxer genom vaggarna, ovanpa byggnader och murarna runt templet. Det har dock fatt en viss manikyr. Beng Mealea a andra sidan ar precis vad man letar efter, om man ar ute pa sin egen "skattjakt". Nastan ingenting har gjorts iordning i templet, och vi forestallde oss att det sag ut nastan som nar det aterupptacktes (och efter att de roda khmererna gjort sitt basta for att forstora templet med minor...) an manga av de andra templen.

Aven om det ar svart att jamfora, eftersom de flesta templen ar sa olika (vi besokte 18 av dem pa tre dagar), ar nog anda Beng Mealea (tack for tipset Alex!), Banteay Srei och Ta Prohm vara favoriter.

Det ar svart att skriva nagot om den har platsen som man inte hittar pa natet. Kameror ar inte nog (atminstone inte i vara hander) for att fanga skonheten, storleken och mystiken. Allt vi kan saga ar att om ni har chansen, ak dit och se sjalva. Det ar en av de absoluta hojdpunkterna pa var resa. Inget kan dock sla Inkaleden (Inca Trail - pleasure & pain), sa har langt.

(Som vanligt inehaller det har inlagget valdigt mycket bilder. Klicka pa "next" langst ned pa
BayonBayonBayon

Inside the city of a million inhabitants - Angkor Thom.
den har sidan for att se alla.)


Additional photos below
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Buddha inside BayonBuddha inside Bayon
Buddha inside Bayon

The temples are still very much still in use, as you can see.
Come and eat at my restaurant! Please mister!Come and eat at my restaurant! Please mister!
Come and eat at my restaurant! Please mister!

When you stop to have lunch outside one of the temples this is what happens, especially if you go to the less visited ones.
Some temples were not as large as othersSome temples were not as large as others
Some temples were not as large as others

This was more of a swimmingpool, well an empty one anyway.
Flat tireFlat tire
Flat tire

Fortunately there's always a mechanic handy, whenever you need one.
On a treasure hunt...On a treasure hunt...
On a treasure hunt...

isn't that, yes it is - a gate. Wonder where that leads? ...To one of the gates to Ta Prohm.


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