Siem Reap

27 Feb

We arrived in Siem Reap in Cambodia after many hours of travelling. The main reason for us to travel to Siem Reap was because we wanted to see the amazing Temples of Angkor, where there are 72 major temples and remains of several hundred additional minor temple sites that are scattered throughout the landscape and beyond. We did not have time to see all of them, that would have taken days. Instead we rented a tuk tuk for the day which took us around 3 of the main temples. We got up at 5am so that we could see the sunrise over the famous Angkor Wot (picture above), which is the largest religious structure in the world. Seeing the sun-rise over the beautiful temple and the mirror image in the ponds was just incredible.

We jumped into our vintage tuk tuk and headed for another temple; The Bayon, which must be one of the weirdest temples that I have ever seen. There are 54 gothic towers decorated with 216 enormous smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, who bore a resemblance to the King Jayavarman VII, who stood behind the building of the temple. The freakish huge faces staring down at us as we walked around have been described as a image of power and control from the King himself.

The next temple we visited was Angkor Thom (picture above), which is some 10sq km in size and had a population of perhaps 1 million at the time when London only had a population of 50,000! There are families living in areas around the temples, we saw a man trying to catch some fish in the pond, while his son was watching him. It was an heart-feeling image.

There were giant trees growing on top of temple buildings, and the roots had fully taken over some areas, this really emphasised how old the temples were. I enjoyed seeing the Temples of Angkor and loved Siam Reap.

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