Angkor Wat is on my travel list for a long time. The ancient lost cities including Buddhist & Hindu temples from the 9 – 12th century Khmer Empire in Cambodia.
Finally I am here and what I’ve seen is even more impressive than I could ever imagined! How on earth did they manage to plan, design and built these enormous temple complexes?
Obviously it was not only on my travellers wish list, it is quite busy with visitors. Two million per year and tourism is therefore the primary income for Siem Reap.
Fortunelately, we booked a dedicated driver and guide in advance (tnx, Talisman Travel Design) which is a golden tip. Climbing these temple sites in the humid tropical heat demands some energy and stepping back into an airco heaven between complexes is a bliss.
And what better way is there than following our friendly guide Chivoan who is born and raised in Siem Reap and played on the temple sites as a kid. He knows every corner and shares his knowledge about the history and special places with a lotta love. He’s not following the main flow but stepping aside frequently to point out stunning details or enter temples from a side entrance.
There is so much to share, it will take at least 10 posts. Death by Angkor Wat. So, in stead I’ll share a selection of my photo’s today. Even this is quite hard to do, have to kill a lot of my dahlings. Or take less photographs.
Angkor Wat Temple
This is the most magnificent and largest of all Angkor temples. The structure occupies and enormous site of nearly 200 hectares. On top of that a huge rectangular reservoir surrounds the temple. All handmade. The pinnacle of Kmer architecture.
Probably the most photographed temple, with trees growing out of the ruins. Yes, the location of Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider (Indiana Jones as well). Reason for Asian tourists to queue up and take millions of pictures at these particular spots.
Ta Prohm is living proof of the power of the jungle. This temple complex was once home to more than 12.500 people with an additional 80.000 kmers living in the surroundings.
The inscriptions are still in perfect conditions and reveal information about the temple’s inhabitants. After the fall of the Kmer empire in the 15th century, the temple was abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle.
This temple – built in the 12th century – features over 200 massive stone faces looking in all directions. The curious smiling faces are the instant recognizable image of Angkor.
Is it said that king Jayavarman VII commissioned these statues representing a combination of himself and buddha.
The Bayon temple, located in the exact middle of the ancient royal city, rises through three levels to a height of 43 meters (worth the climb).With the top level as climax, literally walking on head height.
More info at Tourism Cambodia