Cambodge is the French for Cambodia, good word innit! We arrived here a few days ago (we already have no idea which day is which)!
Sarah says I should put pictures of me in so today I’ve pinched some from Dean 🙂 More pictures than writing really for this post.
Free breakfast at our hostel (at a snail’s pace) gave us a slightly later start than planned at 8. The resident tuk tuk driver was to be at our disposal for the day for a mere $12 so that we could visit some of Angkor Wat’s most iconic temple ruins, an anticipated highlight of our trip (thanks to Leanne:) ). We were incredibly lucky with the weather, having debated earlier in the week whether to rearrange our whole schedule to enable us to see this UNESCO site on a guaranteed good day. After torrential rain during the night and early morning, it stayed dry pretty much all day until we boarded the tuk tuk for the last time to head home!
Temple 1: Banteay Kdei
We had to wade through puddles and people selling bracelets, flutes, books, scarves and drinks to get to the temple. This Buddhist monastary consists of four concentric walls, most of which are crumbling now. Inside were people selling ink drawings, rubbings, carvings and twangy mouth instruments, the last of which Dean purchased. This is a Buddhist nun:
Temple 2: Ta Prahm
This is the famous temple invaded by trees, swallowed by the jungle. It was built from 1186 and is a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of a King. 80,000 people were required to run a year in the life of the temple! Lichen and moss covered stone blocks are scattered everywhere, dislodged by the tree roots. Bas reliefs still adorn the walls in many places and plants sprout at random.
Temple 3: Ta Keo
Unfinished even in ancient times, we just looked at it from outside whilst eating pineapple and bananas.
Temples 4&5: Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon
Smallish temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.
Lunch: Noodle soup!
Temple 6: Bayon (our favourite)
Unique because of 54 gothic towers decorated with 216 coldly-smiling enormous faces of Avalokiteshvara which look quite like the king who built the temple. It stands in the exact centre of the city of Angkor Thom. There are 3 levels, 2 square and the top one circular. It was built a level at a time because the aging king didn’t know how much he’d get done before he died! There are 11,000 figures in the 1.2km of bas reliefs.
Temple 7: Angkor Wat
The most famous temple, which has five lotus flower style towers. After a bridge over an enormous moat, there is a 235m terraced porch across the front which leads to a 475m avenue approaching the main temple, flanked by two libraries and lily ponds either side. The main temple area is admired for its symmetry and has courtyards and exceedingly high, steep steps (because it should be hard to approach the gods). Many areas smell of bat urine and it drips on visitors from time to time!
And to finish off, here are a few pictures of our general wanderings around Siem Reap.
The river ready to burst its banks and the street our hostel was on:
A roadside petrol station and a tuk tuk parked in the floods:
My view, much of the time: Dean reading the Lonely Planet!
I think Cambodia might have invented the fish foot massage craze!
My favourite photo!
Most people on one moped: 6!
Traveller/harem trousers purchased: 1 (through necessity but im also very much enjoying them!)
Total temples visited so far: lost count!