Angkor What???

Trip Start Jul 08, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Flag of Cambodia  , KH.16,
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Angkor Wat is a temple in itself, but the name has been used to describe all the temples in the area. The area around Siem Reap (the town near Angkor Wat) is dotted by what seems like hundreds of different temples. They were built over a long period of time by successive kings whose goal was to outdo the previous king and build something bigger and better than anything else.

I had met 3 guys from around Europe and together we went through the "short circuit" around.  We started out waking up at 4am and getting picked up for 4:30am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. It was a short sunrise, but beautiful. There were many tourists there for sunrise so we decided to save Angkor Wat Temple for the end of the day. We went to many other temples, but my favorites are the ones with pictures. Bayon was really nice because it as many faces looking at you. It could give you a complex though knowing that so many faces were looking at you all the time. After that comes the Elephant Temple where there are 3D Elephants coming out of the temple. My next favorite temple was there one where Tomb Raider was filmed. It was the most rustic one we saw that day.  Everywhere you looked you saw stones that were once attached to the temple on the floor, trees overtaking the temple, moss growing on random stones, and a temple that was very old in its natural beauty. It was great. That afternoon we went back to Angkor Wat Temple. This temple was massive and still intact which was great. The temple itself is massive but without too much character. This temple has three levels and the top level is under construction and should be completed in 2 years.

The following day me and one other guy went to see more temples. We started out by driving with our tuk-tuk driver 2 hours outside of Siem Reap to see Temple Beng Mealea. This temple is one of my favorite temples. This temple was HUGE if not bigger than the main temple at Angkor Wat. The only thing was, it was not intact. Most of the temple was destroyed by over grown trees and roots.  Stones were on the floor and piled on top of each other. The best way to see this temple was just to climb everywhere and anywhere you can fit. This is exactly what I did. No one stopped you or told you to get down from anything you climbed. We ended up staying here for two hours and I could have stayed longer.

We went back to Angkor Wat to visit the "long circuit".  This was also really good. I saw some really nice temples here as well.  My favorite one here was Preah Khan. It also was a huge temple. As you walk through one door you would see 5 more doors after it. Each room was filled with carvings and introcit designs. This temple was pretty much intact too, but also had many stone piles blocking doors and entrance ways.  This temple is less visited and it absolutely stunning. At Angkor Wat, this was my favorite temple.

At all of these temples, the guards give you free rane to go wherever you want and to climb anything you see. Of course this probably isn't the best thing for the temples, but it allows you to see rooms that are not accessible by pathways. I had such a great time here and am sad to leave.
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