The ruins of Angkor Wat create a mixture of culture and nature that has rarely been achieved. The temples and ruins lie scattered amidst a huge area of dense, mysterious jungle that's always hot and humid. This surrounding makes for an unforgettable and honestly intense visit. The jewel in the jungle's crown is Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple, which is located inside a giant square area surrounded by a large moat. Y0ou have to cross a long bridge to get there. Angkor Wat is also home to one of the most famous sunrises in the world, but in the late afternoon and evening colors also add a golden glow to the ancient stones. Sit and watch as the sun sets over the front of the temple after a long day of visiting is a priceless reward.
I have visited few places in the world so magical and disturbing as Ta Prohm. As you approach a different atmosphere, you will enter into what looks like an unexplored and hidden kingdom. For a few minutes it seems you can recover the atmosphere and spirit of the explorers of the time, and if you're lucky like me, go off season, and the experience is sublime. It is deally situated in each of the corners and you can enjoy the communion between man and nature. Notice how every brick and every stone in place has remained upright by the grace and favor of invasive nature, or rather by re-conquering nature, which ultimately always tries to claim its own. The temple, which translates as Temple Granny, is our guide. It was a huge temple, because it could have held up to 3140 people. The idea of enormity is proven by the sheer numbers: 79,365 people were needed to maintain the temple, including 18 priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers. Among the strange properties of the temple were 500 kilos of gold in the form of plates, 35 diamonds, 40,620 pearls, 4,540 precious stones, 512 silk beds and 523 parasols.
The Bayon is the most important building of Angkor Thom. The 4 gateways to the same end up in the Bayon. There is a crowd of figures representing Khmer origin, more than 200 cluster around its centric tower. The walls are decorated with gods and mythological figures tell part of the story of this culture and many stories and legends. Sometimes it gives the impression of being in a labyrinth and as you go up the building seems to grow more and more amazing . There is a jungle extension in vessels which are the set of Angkor. A must-see part of Cambodian culture is the centerpiece of the ancient city which acted as a temple, where the people spent time devoting their prayers to many gods stressing above all Buddha. The restoration of this monument or temple is due in big part to France and Japan which can be seen in his posters.
Angkor Thom was the royal city built by the Khmer Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, in the 12th century. Its name means "the big city." It has a square shape, 9 square kilometers, that you can explore on foot, but with the heat and the distances you'll be travelling to visit the temples, it can be a lot. It's most convenient if you only rent a bike for the day, worth 2 euros at most, and will be completely free. Also if you go with a group you can hire a cab with a driver that will take you around all day, but it's a bit more expensive, but avoids the cab drivers looking at you every time you want to change temples. The city has four doors, linked by two roads that meet in the middle, where the temple of Bayon is. The Bayon Temple is the temple of smiling faces you see in all the photos of Angkor. It's beautiful and famous, and my advice is that you to take a guided tour to understand a little more about the history and beliefs surrounding it. Each door has a bridge that's over a moat, which is a place where there's water that offered protection against invasions. Inside the enclosure is also Angkor Wat, the Terrace of the Elephants, and Bang Thom. It was an incredible visit!
This is the only temple in Cambodia made by women. It was built in the tenth century, dedicated to the god Shiva. It stands near the Phnom Dei hill, northeast of the rest of the temples of Angkor Wat, and was discovered by French archaeologists in 1914. It really is one of the jewels of the Khmer period, constructed in easily carved sandstone and decorated with floral detials, reliefs, and sculptures of Hindu deities. Apparently it was built by a Brahman, a priest from a high caste. It is so delicate that it seems more like a jewelry box than a temple. The cordon of the gateway and its beams are spectacular, changing tones from reddish to pinkish. You follow a staircase into an inner platform in the temple, where you're welcomed by an image of the goddess Indra with her three-headed elephant. The reliefs narrate scenes from Hindu mythology, and the central shrine is dedicated to Shiva.
In the Old Market area of Siem Reap you can find almost anything. One of the things that stands out are its craft stalls and souvenir stalls that compete with faux shirts and other garments. For those ve are discovering Southeast Asia we often find it difficult to distinguish crafts from different countries as they are often quite similar except for certain details. Despite this, in countries like Thailand, you can find Buddha figures carved out of wood, images of the spectacular temples of Angkor, clothes with bright colors and bright, lucky charms, fabrics, paintings, etc . The Old Market area is not too bright at night except for the area of pubs and restaurants where the neon lights are so bright. Although it is appreciated that in this city mosquitoes make an appearance and it is so hot at night that it still seems like it's daytime. A walk through these stalls will be fairly quiet and remember that in this country you pay with dollars or riels that is its official currency. (1 dollar = 5000 riels approx.) You can imagine that it is quite cheap to buy here compared to most tourist places like temples, etc where prices rise enough.
Along with the S21, the two main attractions of Phnom Penh are the National Museum and the Royal Palace, both located close to the river. They are two very nice places to visit and will take several hours each. You can visit both in the same day. They are in good condition and are nice places. Admission is about $5 for the Royal Palace.
Preah Khan is a Buddhist temple that was built by King Jayavarman VII in the twelfth century. It's north of the royal city of Angkor Thom, in the ruins of Angkor. To get from Siem Reap, you have to walk a lot, so it's better find other means of transportation. It's quite warm, and this temple is located more in the jungle, not as open as the temples of Angkor Wat or Bayon, where you have almost no surrounding vegetation. For this reason, take a good insect repellent, and if possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Night falls at 6 pm, so be ready a bit before to go back, since all of the tuc tuc go home early! The position of the temple also limits the amount of places to eat and drink compared to the rest of Angkor. The Preah Khan was a Buddhist monastery, which contained monk rooms, it's thought that they were made of wood because there aren't any ruins left. The temple was in the center, with a protective wall surrounding it, which is still there, but a huge tree broke part of the wall with its roots. It seems that nature is taking it over, it's very impressive.
The Tonle Sap is one of the freshwater lakes of Southeast Asia. It is the largest wet land more in the entire world. The lake has many types of fish and a single BIODIVERSITY. The lake dates from 5100-5600 years ago. In the Cambodian diet, fish provides more than 75% of the protein. There is a floating city where they live off water and their crops, and the stilt houses are on the lake shore. The level of the water can differ by several meters between dry season and the rainy season, depending.
This Khmer temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is more than 100 square meters with a Buddhist fifteenth century style. It is well maintained but it has a complicated structure, built in sandy soil meaning that it is not very solid. There are great efforts made to ensure its preservation and conservation. The long stone corridors that lead to the temple are surrounded by gardens that once were probably lakes. The nice thing about these temples is that they make you imagine what life was like many years ago.
This monument commemorates all those killed directly or indirectly by the Pol Pot regime, the Khmer Rouge. It was the largest massacre of the 70's, supposedly they killed more people than the Nazis. They killed anyone ve could read or write. It's a sad place, but still important to see.
Of all the places you can visit in the capital of Cambodia, I suggest the Central Market. It is located in a dynamic area with extensive trade, busy streets of motorcycles, the bustle of local citizens and the market itself with its central dome, will make you feel that you are in a unique place in Asia. The outer part of the market is where you can find numerous food stalls where they serve all kinds skewers, squid, chicken, pork, shrimp, etc with spices. You can also find traditional dishes based on rice or pasta. You can also enjoy one of the weaknesses of the country - roast duck. There are also various fruit juices to drink to cool you down from the intense heat of Southeast Asia. Tourists and travelers of all nationalities, Japanese, Australian, English etc, come either to buy in the market or to enjoy the delights of Cambodian food
The Bayon temple is in the center of Angkor Thom. The King Jayavarman VII had it built during the XII and XIII centuries. More than 200 faces are carved in 54 towers. The large number 54 represents the 54 provinces of Cambodia that existed in those days. Some say the four sides of the towers represent Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (future Buddha). But in general it's believed that the four sides of each tower are images of King Jayavarman VII and signifies the omnipresence of the king. Angkor Thom, or the big city was the capital. It's the ideal place to stop and think, to see and listen. There the pyramid shaped temple, Bayon, rose in the center as the temple of the state, and representation of Meru, the mountain of the gods and center of the universe. Out of the four gates of Angkor Thom the South Gate is the most well preserved. It's door is flanked by statues on both sides and leads to the tower door with four faces.
It is precisely that, a 300 meter terrace extending from the Baphuon Temple to the Terrace of the Leper King. The main person who used this terrace was the king, because of the scenery, he could follow the military marches of his generals and soldiers after their victories in a battle. This terrace has 3 levels with well preserved reliefs. The main part of the terrace is the facade where you can see the heads of elephants with their trunks ending in a lotus flower. As Michelangelo said perfectly, it's a clear zone when the sun is beating down.
Having the opportunity to visit the Tonlé Sap Floating Village was an enriching and unforgettable experience. The intense smell of the water, the sound of the people, the colors of the boats...life on the lake is very hard, especially during the monsoon season. Most of the people living in the houseboats are of Vietnamese origin and they make their living from fishing. The lake water is used for bathing, washing clothes and drinking.
Kompong Pluk is about 2 hours from Siem Reap. You have to travel by road and by boat to get to this village on the Tonle Sap lake(the largest lake in Southeast Asia.) Is a charming and picturesque village, where the people are very friendly and always greet you with a smile. I've visited during the month of November when the lake has its highest water level. During this time, the houeses that are built on bamboo pillars up to 7 meters high, are fully surrounded by water, so it becomes a town on the water where all the activities enjoyed by its inhabitants are to do with boats. It is also worth visiting the mangrove swamp forest near the village.
We went to see the temple, with the peculiarity that the rains had just finished and we almost could not even pass by because the street was submerged in the water, which forced us to see the area from a different perspective from the entrance. We had to walk several feet above the walkway that goes over the water, being able to observe a strange landscape with trees coming out of the water.