Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Angkor Wat

The one thing you cannot miss when visiting Southeast Asia is Angkor Wat.  Located in Cambodia, it is a large group of temples and temple complexes built from the 9th to the 15th centuries.  More impressive than the pyramids, and representative of the advanced civilization of the Khmer people during that time, it takes days to see just a part of them.

To do that we got two rooms in a small hotel, the Shining Angkor, just outside the town of Siem Reap.  It was a fabulous deal at $33 per room per night, and Mark and I were upgraded to their Deluxe room which featured the most beautiful carved wood bed (super comfortable) and a nicely furnished balcony that I enjoyed every day.  It also had a small clean pool that was great when returning from the hot and dirty business of temple touring.  We found this hotel a great bargain and enjoyed our four days there.

We bought the three day pass to the temples (cost same as two day) and saw the most popular/well known ones with transportation provided by Cambodia's version of a tuk-tuk, pulled by a motor bike and thankfully with four seats.

The first was Angkor Wat itself.  It is very large and fairly well preserved.  I had to work hard however to get pictures without scaffolding in them.

My favorite temple was called Banyon and features all these fabulous faces.

Peyton's favorite was Ta Prohm.  This one is famous for scenes in "Tomb Raider."  It is cool because the jungle has all but taken over during the ensuing centuries making for a very unique setting.

This is yet another temple called Angor Thom.

One evening we went to Phnom Bakheng and climbed the large hill and then waited in line to get to the top of the temple in time for sunset.  We wanted to ride the elephants up, but when the price was more than we were expecting we elected to hoof it instead.  There were far too many people up there, but is was a pretty view and the sky turned all the expected lovely colors over the cambodian countryside.

On our last morning we got up before 5am (well everyone except Wilder who stayed back to watch football playoff games) and went back to Angkor Wat for the well touted sunrise there.  The skies didn't cooperate though, and so it was just a gradual lightening of the sky without any of the expected lovely colors.  After that Mark and Peyton declared us done temple touring and we headed home to take a nap.

Next we spend a few days in the Cambodian countryside before heading back to Phnom Pehn (the capitol.)  More about Cambodia in the next post.

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