Angkor Temples and Siem Reap, Cambodia – Day 1

It has been a while since we have posted anything, but we have not had much time at Internet Cafes.

On August 11 we departed from Bangkok, Tailand, and arrived at Siem Reap, Cambodia. Siem Reap is the gateway to the Angkor temples.

We arrived to Siem Reap realtively early. We rented a couple of bicycles and set out to explore the town. Siem Reap is a city with about 6000 people. They have grown at a high pace thanks to the restoration of the temples and the importance that UNICEF has given to the temples in that area. After visiting a couple of places, we decided to contract a tour with Terre Cambodge (one of the recomendation from the Lonely Planet guide book). The area has more than 260 temples and we wanted to make the most out of our 3 day stay.

The weather both in Cambodia and Tailand at this moment is VERY HOT AND HUMID. We are at about 36 to 39 degrees Celsius and it is very humid.  This means we are sweating all the time. But that did not deter us from starting our tour through the temples.

On August 12 our guide picked us up at our hotel at 8AM with a Tuk-Tuk. Our driver’s name was Ramorn and our guide Dyka.

From right to left: Dyka, Ramorn, Claudia and Darin

The Angkor area sells two entry passes: 20 dollars for a one day visit, and 40 dollars for a three day visit (consecutive days). We got the 3-day pass.

The first temple we went to visit was Angkor Wat (Angkor means City, and Wat means Temple). It was built in the 12 century. All hindu templos have a moat (man made), a big bridge that crosses the moat (representing how to cross from the earth to the heavens), and the temple is surrounded by walls. In the case of Angkor Wat, the temple was built with 5 towers and it is an elevated contruction to represent Mount Meru (sacred in hindu religion). This temple is in very good condition because people lived inside up until the moment UNICEF declared the site as a World Heritage Site. Once it became a touristic site, the village moved right outside of the temple.

Darin and Claudia at Ankgor Wat

This temple was built by a hindu king. One of the subsequent kings was budhist, so they removed the hindu statues and placed buda statues  instead. Later on, another subsequent king was hindu, so it knocked down the budas…. And some budas were lost to vandalism and/or war.

Angkor Wat’s walls and columns are completely carved with art depicting hindu leyends and epic battles. Some of these battles are between the Khmers (khmer = cambodianos) and Thais. Two stories that appear in all temples are the story of the Ramayana and the Churning of the Sea of Milk (also known as Samudra Manthan). There is also Aspara dancers sculpted into many columns and walls.

Angkor Wat - Epic of the Ramayana in the walls

Angkor Wat - Aspara dancers and Claudia

After Angkor Wat we visited Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm was built in the 12th century by a budhist king and it was dedicated to his mother. It is sad to see that when the hindu king took over the kingdom he ordered that all budas carved in the walls were removed. Even so, the temple is very pretty. It has a lot of Spung trees growing right on top of the temple’s walls and ceilings. The pictures below show Spung trees and Strangler trees growing in the temple. The tree’s roots get into every crevace and corner, so in certain places they cannot be removed because they are maintainig the building up. This is one of the temples that was used to film the movie “Tomb Raider” with Angeline Jolie.

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Our final temple this day was Pre Rup. This temple is a hindu temple and was built with bricks in the 10th century. This used to be the king’s temple. It was made of bricks and covered in plaster, although the plaster is practically all gone.

The original plan was to wait here for sunset, but the sky was covered in clouds and it was about to rain. So we headed back to the hotel at 4PM.

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2 Responses to “Angkor Temples and Siem Reap, Cambodia – Day 1”

  1. livelybrowsers Says:

    Thanks for good stuff

  2. seanlopez Says:

    Good article

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