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Siem Reap: Angkor Wat

CAMBODIA | Sunday, 18 December 2005 | Views [768] | Comments [2]

 

After all the seriousness of the Capital, we find outselves on our first full day in Siem Reap, which is home to the old city of Angkor, and the stunning temples. Tomorrow (if I can get a ticket) I will get the morning bus back to where it all started, Bangkok.

We got into SR at 3pm yesterday, and booked ourselves into a nice guesthouse. SR is more of a town than a city, but I like it very much. There is such a concentration of travellers from the world over, and this, mixed with the locals makes for a very nice atmosphere - I've never had so much opportunity to practise Japanese and Korean - they are everywhere!  

We were told about the tickets for Angkor Wat. There is a 1 day ticket for $20, or a 3 day ticket for $60. I love temples and cultural stuff, but we all decided that perhaps a 1 day ticket would best suit us. A bonus of this ticket was however that we could get in that night for free to see the sunset, and then go again for the following day, which we did.

Historically, Angkor Wat was built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Devaraja, or god kings, and covers more than 30KM. They built huge and awesome temples in order to glorify themselves and other gods. However, their reign died out, the jungle crept in, and the city was slowy lost to the world until the 1860s, when French archaeologists started to clear away the jungle and to document what they had found.

As I walked through the walls into the first pathway to AW, I was struck by how grand it still looked after all these years. On the walls you can still see intricate carvings and murals. In some places however there are mounds of rubble, showing areas which haven't been touched since the days the Khymers left it to the jungle.

Last night we chilled out on the lawns to watch the sun go down over the central temple, which is the worlds largest religious building.Today, we were up at 5am in order to get our money's worth out of the one day pass. We hired a great tuk tuk driver called Mr. Sa, who knew loads of stuff about the various temples and the like that we would see- it was great that he stayed with us for 8 hours, because he got us round efficiently and cut away most of the BS. We started again at the central temple, but soon made it to my favourite temple, Ta Prohm. Used in the Tomb Raider film, this temple has been left largely as is was when it was found by the French, and no large scale rennovation has occured. From this, you can see mazes of narrow corridors, with trees growing through the temple structures, in places seemingly strangling the stonework. Apparently, at it's height, this temple needed 80,000 people in order maintain the building, but today, there was only a small number of officials dealing with a photo shoot.

It's hard to think of what else to say about Angkor Wat - the surrounding temples are, well, simply stunning. It's hard to describe them, but they are the bees-knees. I suppose you'll have to wait until the photos are on this site once I get to Japan. 

Tomorrow I'm heading to Thailand and the islands, so i'll get in touch when I get there... 

Tags: Culture

Comments

1

Dan, Sounds fantastic and just the ticket to contrast with the killing fields. I'll be up in Liverpool in Jan to see the family, looking forward to it. Hope you have a great Xmas. Take care Martin

  Martin Dec 19, 2005 9:18 PM

2

Finally you saw Angkor Wat. Are there many Korean? I want to enjoy that.

  jane Dec 19, 2005 9:22 PM

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