Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 26 of 62 › view all entries
He wanted ten, I offered five, and got the motorbike taxi for $7. A full day should be $8-10 by one guidebook that I saw, so my driver got a good deal and eventually stopped his well-practiced whine for one more dollar. We headed north 6 kilometers to the massive Angkor Archaeology Park, stopping to buy an entrance ticket for $20. Though it was one o'clock in the afternoon, I had to pay the full day rate.
I had inadvertently deleted all of the Siem Reap and Angkor Wat pictures this summer that I had taken on my trip through here in January. Of the two weeks I was here then, I only spent half a day out at the temples. I merged with the masses, mostly Japanese, and darted through Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon, Ta Prohm, and the Terrace of the Elephants.
Besides Angkor Wat, I want to replace the deleted pictures of Ta Prohm. Four to five hours would be sufficient. This time I decided to do it in the afternoon and visit Ta Prohm first, since the sun is better for photographing Angkor Wat later in the day.
Ta Prohm was constructed in the mid 12th - early 13th Century as a Buddhist monastery and remains only partially cleared of jungle overgrowth. Most of its darkened corridors and open plazas are littered with debris of collapsed moss-covered stones and pillars. Many of its walls and towers sprout the roots of massive fig and silk-cotton trees, showing the aggressive growth of jungle reclaiming the areas once cleared.
We continued past several smaller temple ruins, through the sprawling Angkor Thom complex, and on to the legendary Angkor Wat. Blue-shirted guards clipped another corner of my ticket and I walked across the wide moat along the western causeway to reach the outer wall. The outer wall measures 1.3 X 1.5 kilometers. This causeway collapsed in October 1952 and is currently about half restored.
Inside the outer wall, you get the first glimpse of Angkor Wat, still more than half a kilometer away; visually, architecturally, and artistically breathtaking.
The exterior wall of the first level is covered with intricately carved bas-reliefs. A guide or good guidebook here would be handy to decipher the scenes. Wooden steps have been added to lead onto the first tier. Several of its walled corridors are active with orange-clad Buddha statues and burning incense.
A moat once filled the grassy space between the first and second tiers.
There didn't seem to be as many visitors as on my last visit, and combined with limited access, I was able to breeze through the various corridors and chambers at a brisk pace.