Majestic temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The main reason tourists come to Cambodia Is to see the iconic Hindu and Buddhist temples of Ankgor Archeological Park. We were no exceptions. The famous photos of Ankgor Wat lotus like towers (although I think they look like pinecones) drew us to this country.
We spent three days exploring the temples. There are options to buy 1, 3 or 7 day passes. Our three day pass cost us $40 pp which is quite expensive for this part of the world but proved to be well worth the cost. We also hired Pahna, a tuk-tuk driver to take us around as the temples are far from each other. During the three days we visited the most famous Angkor Wat, smaller and less known Banteay Kdei, the vast Angkor Thom complex which includes Bayon and Baphuon, as well as the Tomb Raider temple Ta Prohm and smaller temple with stone faces Ta Som.
In my previous blog post I wrote about the city of Siem Reap so this post will focus solely on temples with majority of the info below each photo.
Angkor Wat is surrounded by a rectangular moat measuring 1.5km by 1.3km.
As a popular tourist destination Angkor Wat gets very crowded.
View of the outter wall in the distance behind which the moat is located.
One of the outdoor corridors. Intricate carving covered the walls of huge corridors. All I could think of was how they planned this design with so many things overlapping. Carvings above one of the gates. Inside Angkor Wat.
Stairs to the most central temple Bakan are very steep.
View from Bakan. The outer wall can be seen in the far distance. The lotus-like towers are the most prominent and most recognizable aspect of Angkor Wat.
You could spend not only hours but days sightseeing Angkor Wat.
Our tuk tuk driver suggested we wrap the day with a visit to a smaller and less touristy buddhist temple Banteay Kdei built in the late 12th century.
Restoration projects are currently underway and some areas were blocked off while others were wrapped (tower above).
Carving in red stone.
Trees took over parts of the temple and there was a lot of fallen stones.
Ps. Tommy I bet you love my hat ;-)
Angkor Thom, home to Bayon and Baphuon, is probably the second best known complex of temples after Angkor Wat. At one of five entrances to Angkor Thom. This is the South Gate which usually is the first stop for those exploring this temple complex.
Vlad trying to blend in.
There were lots of monkeys right after we entered Angkor Thom. After observing them for 15 min or so I got a full understanding of the term "monkeying around". This sneaky guy wanted to see what was in my bag. Vlad remained calm in order not to irritate the monkey but the sucker still bit him in his arm. Thankfully it was very light and through a t-shirt. All I could think about was the time my friend Cristina told me she got bit by a monkey and had to get it checked at the doctor. That and also trying to get a good shot haha.
Curious monkeys checked out our tuk tuk.
Little girl helping her mom sell fruit to tourists wishing to feed monkeys. She was adorable.
Leper King Terrace.
Phimeanakas - three tiered Hindu pyramid which we were able to climb via stairs in the back.
Baphuon is another famous tempe - here is a view from the top of this three tiered mid 11th century temple mountain dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. (Note to DFL: it is NOT for Shivakamini Somakandraka lol).
The famous Bayon temple of faces. In real life, it looked a lot more impressive and massive.
Bayon from the outside. There are over 2000 faces carved into 54 towers of Bayon.
Some more faces. As we were leaving Bayon we saw a tour of hundreds of people gather at the entrance. Talk about good timing ;-)
Ta Prohm is a mid 12th century Buddhist temple. You may recognize it from Tomb Raider.
Ta Prohm was abandoned by the Khmer Empire in 17th century allowing nature to take over. When restorations began in the 21st century, it was decided that the trees be left as they are. Removing them would only result in further damage to the temple ruins. Plus, it would not look as cool. Nature dominates this temple. Tree roots are humongous in some spots and look like big snakes.
One of the gates.
Ta Som is a small Buddhist temple that was not too touristy.
It is said to be a little cousin of Bayon because it also has many stone face carvings.
Since Ta Som is not as popular are some other temples, we were able to explore it in peace.
Similar to Ta Prohm, some parts of the temple were claimed by nature.
This 12th century Buddhist temple was the last one we visited. Restorations of this temple began in 1991. Carvings in the walls were very beautiful.
After three full days of temple hopping we were ready to say good bye to them as we felt "templed out". Overall, it was a great visit and we are happy we were able to make this stop.
I can't get over how intricate all of the monuments / sculptures are. How beautiful. Cambodia is quickly climbing very high on my travel list!
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