Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 11 & 12 - Cambodia: Angkor Wat & Surrounding Temples

When i was 21, I took Intro to Architecture where I got my 1st exposure to Angkor Wat. I immediately added Cambodia to my 'must see' list. 13 years later, I arrived to Siem Reap (and apparently late to the game with statistics showing over 2 million visitors per year).

After a 7 hour bus journey from Phnom Penh, I went to the Angkor complex to watch the sunset at the 'quiet' temple Pre Rup. 100+ people were vying for a spot and others had no shame and stood directly in front of people, who had been posted for a few hours. Needless to say, it was not my most peaceful sunset.

On Day 12, I woke up at 4:30 am and got my 1st glimpse of Angkor Wat as the sun rose over the temple. I shared this experience with 500+ other tourists. Despite the people yelling at each other to get out of their picture and the clicking of cameras and flashes of light every 1.5 seconds, Angkor Wat is a stunning work of art. The decorative lotus-blossom towers and reflective ponds in front of the temple are picturesque. The 'bas-reliefs' are carved figures and decorations in stone, often telling the stories of Hindu Gods, like Vishnu.

And of course, I needed to get my headstand shot in Cambodia.

I visited a fair amount of temples on Day 12, but these 2 were the most unique:

Bayon - If I visit again, I would time my visit off schedule from the tourist bus circuit. It nearly was as packed as a mosh pit at a Tool concert. But again, despite the lack of tranquility, the towers withe carved faces staring in every direction showcased an intense staring competition that was pretty unique.

Ta Prohm AKA Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider Temple - This temple has been
invaded by nature in a unique and beautiful way. Tree roots from the silk cotton tree and the strangler fig tree have grown out of the ruins or wrapped themselves around the temple remains. Some of the tree roots are oozing over the side, like the B Horror movie, the Blob.

I finished the epic temple visit with grilled frog at the Night Market. I would describe it as an anorexic chicken.

Supposedly, Siem Reap will not blow up with high rises because builders are not allowed to construct buildings higher than the Angkor Wat temple...but don't quote me on that.

NEXT STOP: 75 Kilometers (47 Miles) bike ride to Beng Mealea. 

No comments:

Post a Comment