Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Cambodia Travel Blog

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Angkor Wat in silouette
There are a few options of how to see ancient Khmer temples at Angkor Wat.  Tickets for the site come in 1, 3, and 7 day passes.  (Just like Disneyland!!! Ohh, um, Uuuugh....)  When you buy your ticket at the gate, they take your photo and print it out on your ticket so you can't transfer it to anyone else.  So, 1 day just doesn't seem like enough time to see this place, I've traveled all the way to Cambodia just to see it for Pete's sake.  Seven days seems like a little overkill to me; I'm not really that much of a history buff and I've seen a lot of ruins in the past four months already.

I took over 4G's of photos from the day I spent here at the ruins.

Carvings at sunset
  So many photos that I can't even really post the highlights, because even that would be too much to post.  So I'll randomly choose a few pics from among the highlights that I've chosen and put those up. 

There are a whole bunch of temples at Angkor, way more than just the Wat.  Though obviously the Wat is the most famous, and I've noticed that a lot of people refer to all the different temples here as just Angkor Wat in general.  Not really that fair to the other ones that have their own names, you know?  I visited about six of the temples in-depth, and a few others I just stopped briefly at and looked at from the Tuk-Tuk.  There were also a lot of gorgeous old stone gates, adorned with huge intricate stone carvings that we passed along the way.

Aspara dancer at sunset
   

Very briefly here are the basics on the different temples so you know what you are looking at in the pics:

Angkor Wat - Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at Angkor, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre- first Hindu, then Buddhist- since its foundation. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors drawn by its architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and the numerous aspara dancers adorning its walls.

Angkor wat in the morning
  Angkor Wat is the centerpiece not only of the Angkor Archaeological Park, but of Khmer civilization.  It's surrounded on all four sides by a large moat. 

Ta Phrom - I could say a lot here, but really I just need to say that this is the temple where Angelina Jolie shot Tomb Raider. 'Nuff said, right?  The jungle trees taking over the site, huge glistening roots, and crumbling walls don't disappoint.  I particularly counted myself lucky to see this temple in monsoon season, because the bright (almost fluorescent) green moss growing everywhere was just stunning; and the whole place smelled of moist green moss on cool old stones.  Otherworldly.  The tree roots have an iridescent quality to the bark that make them glitter in the sunlight.

Monkey at reflection pool

Angkor Thom:  Thom isn't one temple but a collection of temples all together in one are walled in with four beautiful stone gates.  Thom was the urban center of the Angkor empire.  Bayon is the centerpiece of Angkor Thom.

Bayon - Doesn't look like much from a distance, but once you get an inside you're treated to an endless variety of angles and compositions of the 216 heads carved into the stone. A photographers dream.

Terrace of the Leper King - Elephants (1190-1210)  Not a whole lot is known about this temple.  I couldn't really find that much on it, it was just to the north of the terrace of the Elephants.  

Royal Palace - Major construction was undertaken at Angkor Thom's Royal Palace under the reigns of King Jayavarman VII and his immediate successors.

Monkey at reflection pool 2
Bas-reliefs (carvings in the walls) depicting aquatic scenes were added, for example, to the lower steps of Srah Srei.

Phnom Bakheng - It's the temple on the top of the hill, and billed as the best spot to see the sunset over the Cambodian countryside. It was late afternoon when we got here, and the daily monsoon rain was just kicking in when my guide and I started climbing.  It was full on pouring when we got to the top, we were completely drenched and laughing deliriously.  We could have turned around, but what the hell.  The climb up the (crazy-OMG-are you kidding me?!?!) steep temple  was something I'm really glad I didn't know about before I agreed to climb this hill.  The expansive landscape view from the top did provide some spectacular views, despite the rain. =)

I didn't always get the info just right from my guide while we were on site, and it was really helpful to do a little research on my own so I knew what I was looking/had looked at. Next stop Laos.........

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Angkor Wat in silouette
Angkor Wat in silouette
Carvings at sunset
Carvings at sunset
Aspara dancer at sunset
Aspara dancer at sunset
Angkor wat in the morning
Angkor wat in the morning
Monkey at reflection pool
Monkey at reflection pool
Monkey at reflection pool 2
Monkey at reflection pool 2
Monkey at reflection pool 3
Monkey at reflection pool 3
Monkey at reflection pool 4
Monkey at reflection pool 4
Cool bas relief carving
Cool bas relief carving
Traffic Jam along the roads at Ang…
Traffic Jam along the roads at An…
Angkor Wat from the top deck (3 st…
Angkor Wat from the top deck (3 s…
Vishnu with 8 arms
Vishnu with 8 arms
From inside
From inside
This is the most famous Apsara Dan…
This is the most famous Apsara Da…
Monkeys lined up at the reflection…
Monkeys lined up at the reflectio…
Info on bas carvings
Info on bas carvings
Bas relief wall
Bas relief wall
Bas relief of war
Bas relief of war
Looking down the steep steps
Looking down the steep steps
Bas relief on a pillar
Bas relief on a pillar
Interior of Angkor wat,There are f…
Interior of Angkor wat,There are …
Aspara dancers
Aspara dancers
More steep steps
More steep steps
Detail above a doorway
Detail above a doorway
Interor 2nd level at Angkor Wat
Interor 2nd level at Angkor Wat
Steep steps, with wooden ones at t…
Steep steps, with wooden ones at …
Only the outer layer was nice stone
Only the outer layer was nice stone
Pillar showing a bullet hole Every…
Pillar showing a bullet hole Ever…
Hallway on the first floor
Hallway on the first floor
another one of detail above doorway
another one of detail above doorway
Ariel view of Angkor Wat
Ariel view of Angkor Wat
map of area
map of area
Bas relief carving-tree
Bas relief carving-tree
Bas Relif carving - king on elepha…
Bas Relif carving - king on eleph…
Hallway in Angkor wat
Hallway in Angkor wat
Angkor Wat Interior Wall
Angkor Wat Interior Wall
Angkor Wat Entrance
Angkor Wat Entrance
Apsara Dancer at Angkor Wat
Apsara Dancer at Angkor Wat
Carving of script
Carving of script
Steep steps going up
Steep steps going up
Spire at Angkor Wat
Spire at Angkor Wat
Pathway at Angkor Wat
Pathway at Angkor Wat
Ancient  script carving
Ancient script carving
SE view of Angkor Wat
SE view of Angkor Wat
Windows at Angkor Wat...All the wi…
Windows at Angkor Wat...All the w…
reflection pool at Angkor Wat
reflection pool at Angkor Wat
Info part 1
Info part 1
reflection pool 2
reflection pool 2
Bas Relif carving at Angkor Wat, S…
Bas Relif carving at Angkor Wat, …
Info part 2
Info part 2
Angkor Wat at sunset
Angkor Wat at sunset