The Who, Where and What of Angkor Wat.
09.12.2013 - 12.12.2013 35 °C
Angkor is like Disneyland for anyone with even just a slight interest in history. For Brayden, Jay and me it was easily the highlight of our adventures in South East Asia. In fact, I think it’s just about the favourite of everyone who visits this region. How can you not be wowed by these mysterious temples bursting out of the jungle? Below is the basics about the site, our tips for visiting and my favourite snaps.
What: Magnificent Angkor was the capital of the mighty Khmer Empire. It is one of the world’s most important and largest archaeological sites and is littered with hundreds of temples, the most famous being Angkor Wat.
Who: The residents of Angkor were part of the powerful Khmer Empire, which at its peak ruled most of mainland South East Asia. Depending on the ruler, the people of Angkor were either Buddhist or Hindu.
Where: The Angkor Archaeological Park is located in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, stretching over 400 square kilometres.
When: The Khmer civilisation existed between the 9th and 15th century, meaning some structures in the park are well over 1000 years old.
How: Like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, we still don’t know exactly how they built these huge stone temples without modern machinery. Structures like the famous Angkor Wat are engineering marvels, even by today’s standards.
Why: Why are you reading this blog and not googling airfares to Siem Reap?
Our tip: We visited the park in two massive days. Although we saw all we wanted to, we could have done with an extra day so our visit was less exhausting. Our other hot tips are to hire an official guide at Angkor (best thirty bucks you’ll spend) and to see things in the opposite order we did. That means the museum first, outer temples second and inner temples last. This way you’ll save the best to last. And another thing...biking around the park sounds idyllic but those guys looked exhausted. Be lazy like us, take a tuk tuk.
So, you take a look at our pics and we’ll move on to our next destination…Bangkok, baby!
--- Our guide could answer any question we threw at him!
--- A couple of bucks buys you a shot in front of Angkor Wat on a disco horse.
--- Angkor Wat is still a very special place of worship.
--- These bas reliefs are incredible. They tell the stories of Hinduism.
--- Not bad, huh? Do you know Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure ever built?
--- There are apparently 3000 nymphs like these carved into Angkor Wat. What babes!
--- This is the Bayan temple. The huge heads made it my favourite.
--- Brayden was stoked to find the rumour true - there is a dinosaur in one of the carvings!
--- Clearly a stegosaurus!
--- This is crowd favourite Ta Prohm. It was one of the main temples used in the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie.
--- Brayden worn out after a huge first day. This boy can sleep anywhere.
--- Sunset at Angkor Wat is a must.
--- It's no wonder why Cambodians are so proud of Angkor Wat. You'll even find the temple on the national flag (it's the only country in the world to feature a building).
--- There's always a big crowd jostling for the best sunset-lake reflection shot.
--- Heading over the impressive bridge and through the gate into Angkor Thom.
--- I loved how every temple was unique. This one was in the water!
--- Little girls selling souvenirs.
--- Where's Wally Elysha?
--- And can you find Jay and Brayden?
--- Where we finished our Angkor adventure. This museum is a must for anyone visiting the ruins and is full of treasure. Be sure to get an audio guide.