Siem Reap - A disneyland of ancient temples

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May 11th 2006
Published: September 10th 2006
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9th May (Tues) - My mum and I flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia in the early morning. The flight was so early that my mum and I overslept and nearly missed the plane. In Siem Reap, my mum booked a taxi to bring us around. The driver brought us to Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, where we saw magnificient ancient temples with intact wall carvings and decorations... In the evening we went up Phnom Bakheng, a temple hill complex, to view the sunset. Unfortunately, the sky was cloudy and we didn't manage to see the sunset.

10th May (Wed) - More and more temples... The driver brought us to the various temple complexes east and north of Angkor Thom. Some of the most spectacular temples were the Bandeay Srei (very beautiful, intact and detailed carvings), and Ta Prohm (a ruined temple with many trees growing out from the temple walls and grounds). In the evening, when looking for a restaurant to have dinner, we wandered into a small restaurant owned by a Cambodian-Chinese family. To my mum's delight, the father in the family can speak Cantonese. For the whole night, my mum and the restaurant owner chatted in Cantonese and exchanged stories on the life in Singapore and Cambodia.

11th May (Thu) - In the morning we visited more temples. First we visited Beng Melea (a ruined temple like the one in Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider)... We followed the guides and climbed up and down the ruins. It was very exciting, but I had an unfortunate incident when I accidentally bumped my head against a fallen beam. Later we visited the Roluo group temples (which had a longer history than the Angkor temples). In the afternoon we visited the Tonle Sap floating village, where the people live on floating houses and buy stuffs from floating shops. Several kids, rowing bathtubs or styrofoam boxes, paddled furiously beside us and chased us for money... (We were sitting in a speedboat.) During the visit, the speedboat operater brought us to this floating souvenir shop. I must say that the place was very "touristy" and commercialised. At night, we packed our luggage as we would leave Siem Reap for Phnom Penh on the next day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 68, Displayed: 23


The South Gate of Angkor ThomThe South Gate of Angkor Thom
The South Gate of Angkor Thom

The last capital of the Angkorian empire, Angkor Thom is one of the grandest walled and moated royal city and it encloses some of the greatest temples in the region. The South Gate is often the first stop on a tour of the temples.

Bayon, the main temple inside the royal city of Angkor Thom, is the most famous temple in the Siem Reap region after Angkor Wat.
Bayon 2Bayon 2
Bayon 2

The beautiful bas-reliefs has survived for several centuries ever since the temple was built in the 12th century.
Bayon 3Bayon 3
Bayon 3

Bayon is famous for its giant stone faces, which have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture.
Terrace of the ElephantsTerrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants

An impressive wall with carved elephants at the centre of Angkor Thom
Having lunch in Angkor CafeHaving lunch in Angkor Cafe
Having lunch in Angkor Cafe

Located opposite Angkor Wat, this cafe is the only air-conditioned eatery in the Angkor Wat/Angkor Thom region.
Angkor WatAngkor Wat
Angkor Wat

View of the West entrance from the causeway
Angkor Wat 2Angkor Wat 2
Angkor Wat 2

After a heavy downpour, the pavements were flooded
Angkor Wat 3Angkor Wat 3
Angkor Wat 3

Amazing bas-relief originating from the 12th century
Angkor Wat 4Angkor Wat 4
Angkor Wat 4

Simply spectacular
Angkor Wat 5Angkor Wat 5
Angkor Wat 5

Standing at the edge of the top level
Angkor Wat 6Angkor Wat 6
Angkor Wat 6

A memorable part of Angkor Wat - Steep stairs with tall and narrow steps
Angkor Wat 7Angkor Wat 7
Angkor Wat 7

My legs were trembling when I was posing for this photo
Angkor Wat 8Angkor Wat 8
Angkor Wat 8

The exterior walls of the temple are carved with bas reliefs telling the stories of battles, myths, and many other fascinating events.
Angkor Wat 9Angkor Wat 9
Angkor Wat 9

A famous "postcard-style" view of Angkor Wat (The rain has stopped and the sun has appeared finally)
Baksei ChamkrongBaksei Chamkrong
Baksei Chamkrong

A small temple near the Angkor Thom south gate

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