Edit Blog Post
Published: April 12th 2017
So, in my previous post I detailed how we took a trip to Thailand and managed to squish in a little trip to Cambodia and Malaysia along the way (to see a couple of the main highlights) and wanted to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Ever since I have known what the temples of Angkor were, I have wanted to go, no matter what it took. I had to go there and seeing as we were in that part of the world it would be a shame not to. A short early morning flight from Bangkok and we were in Siem Reap. There was a bit of faffing with the Visa, and we needed to bring a passport photo with us and it takes a little bit of queuing, but once we were through, it was a short taxi trip to Siem Reap, and from there it was a short tuk tuk trip from out hotel to the magnificent temples of Angkor.
Now, I had seen plenty of documentaries and read plenty about the temples at Angkor, but nothing prepared me for the sheer scale of this archaeological site- it is colossal and sprawling,
and takes easily a day to see it all. The worlds largest religious complex, this immense site consists of the very famous Angkor Wat, as well as Bayon/Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Banteay Kdei, Koh Ker, Beng Melea, among others, all of which are different, majestic and beautiful in their own right. We needed to hire a tuk tuk for the day to get us around and to see everything, as there was no way anyone could walk between temples and get it all in. The place is truly magnificent and one of the most amazing things I have seen.
Arriving at our first stop, Angkor Wat, I felt goosebumps of anticipation and excitement, gazing at the prominent iconic silhouette against the blue sky, I couldn't quite believe I was here. It was quite quiet and we wandered slowly over a bridge type structure to cross a moat to reach the main entrance. The place was astounding, I actually cannot describe how fantastic this structure was. Each piece of this impressive construct was in intricately designed, not a piece left bare. The walls surrounding the temple are carved in such amazing detail and tell a story. The central structure itself
is incredible, huge and imposing, yet beautiful. Tiny shrines can be found with orange robed monks in worship, which adds further to the magical feel of this other worldly place. This place did not disappoint! Every single inch of Angkor Wat is incredible and I would return every day for the rest of my life if I could.
From here, we went on to visit Angkor Thom/Bayon. On the way, we crossed a bridge adorned with carvings leading us through a colossal carved archway (Victory gate) and passed through site after site of small statues and carved walls (Terrace of the Lepar King), along with other small temples and some crumbling ruins. Bayon itself is also incredible, a mass of towers decorated with huge imposing carvings of Avalokiteshvara. Again there are tier after tier of amazing carved walls, telling stories of times past and of Buddha. Again this site was spectacular and easily rivaled Angkor Wat in terms of it's spectacular nature- photos do not do it justice!
Again a short trip to Banteay Kdei brought us to a slightly more crumbling but equally impressive set of towers emerging from the canopy of trees, and following on from
this we ventured on to Ta Phrom, which was by far my favourite place. Made famous by Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, this archaeological site is spectacular in spite of a large amount of this being a mass of crumbling ruins and stones. Stunning ancient stone doorways made home for masses of tree roots, creating the most incredible site of trees growing from the ancient porches. The overall effect is spectacular and for the second time is Cambodia I cannot express the word to describe how special this place is. Amazing beyond belief!
We jetted around a couple of smaller temples and then ended up back at the hotel quite late. We grabbed a quick dinner (very similar to Thai cuisine), and retired early. The following day was spent exploring what else Siem Reap had to offer. We visited the killing fields, which served as a very somber reminder of Cambodias very recent bloody past. This small centre offers an idea of the brutality and suffering that the Cambodian people encountered at the hands of the Khymer rouge regime. A larger centre is on order in Phnom Penh however this place provides a subtle and respectful memorial to the
atrocities that took place in this incredible land. From here, we visited the old market in the city centre, which was interesting but I took a hasty retreat when we almost encountered the dispatching of a live chicken! I know they have to eat but.... Anyway, from here we visited a few of the cities many parks and temples, which brought us to another evening of amazing food! An early night was had before an early morning flight to Kuala Lumpur. With a heavy heart we said a sorry farewell to Cambodia after having the most sensational time. Another think ticked off the very long bucket list!
Tot: 1.757s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 9; qc: 40; dbt: 0.0246s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb