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Published: June 25th 2008
My tour through the Temples of Angkor ended with a sunrise trip to Ta Phrom. The most photographed and sought after temple next to Angkor Wat, I hoped to get there before the other tourists, and thanks to my awesome tour guide and Tuk Tuk driver I made it in time! Ta Phrom didn't fail to disappoint. The guidebooks say you feel like an Archaeologist from the 19th century when you visit Ta Phrom, where the jungle was not removed from the ruins. It was a bit strange to think of how much history, hard work and mystical energy contained in the temples was simply swallowed up by the forest. When the forest is removed and the temples are restored, you get a glimpse of the mind blowing artistry and engineering. When you don't remove the forest, you get a glimpse of the transient nature of human cultures. Roots split foundations, towers crumble, walls topple. Some of the trees seemed to be quite fond of the ancient blocks of stone, using them for a boost or swallowing them whole! Just as I was finishing up my tour, people started to come in droves- mainly the result of a large tour bus
or two letting off their passengers. I realized that a tour through the temples surrounded by lots of people isn't really that bad- its when a group of 40 tourists get let off all at once from a large bus and then feel the need to all stay together during their tour through a tiny temple. You cant even walk through some doors because you have to let 40 tourists through who refuse to split up and put some space between them! Its nothing to complain about really, its sort of hard to get irritated when you are surrounded by such timeless beauty.
The rest of the day was spent around the Angkor Thom complex, with trips to Te Kao, Preah Khan and a sunset stop at Pre Roup. After getting back to Siem Reap and meeting up with Christa and Ben (BenChrista
), we had a snack at the Blue Pumpkin
. Then it was a quick massage at Islands, shopping in the market and a walk through a photographers gallery. We then had a real dinner, a delicious meal for me! Fish Amok(baked fish in a cream sauce with spices) in a banana leaf bowl, a mound of steamed rice
and a tall Iced Coffee. I would need the coffee- after being up over 14 hours my flight left for Bangkok in 2 more hours! Little did I know I should have had a double coffee, my flight was delayed and I wouldn't get to my hotel in central Bangkok until 1am- 21 hours after I first woke up!
Looking back on my trip to Cambodia, Angkor was truly the thing that stands out the most. How in the world the Angkor Temples didn't make the list for "The New 7 Wonders of the World"
is totally beyond me! The scale of the projects, the size of the stones, the detail in the carvings, the amount of wealth needed and the motivation among the people to build temples for their god kings is something not easily understood. My 3 days in the temples was a whirlwind tour, filled to the brim with the best places at the best times thanks to my tour guides: My sister and brother-in-law and our awesome Tuk-Tuk driver! Its fairly true what they say- after a few days you become "templed out" and its hard to soak up and enjoy the temples. Yet here I sit at home, longing to
return! I have a feeling this feeling of seeing them again will be with me for a long time...
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