Saturday, June 9, 2012

Temple Run in Angkor

Travel Date: May 26, 2012

     Angkor Wat is one of my dream destinations.  Though, I can’t remember when I start liking it.  Until one day, I find myself heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia with friends.

     It was a long travel and you’ll be spending the whole day sitting at the bus, watching the scenery, and eating at the bus station for every stop-over.  From Ho Chi Minh City, we traveled 4 hours to reach the border of Cambodia.  It was my first time to cross a border.  So far, everything went smooth with the help of our bus guide.  As we reached Phnom Penh at 2PM, we transferred to another Capitol bus bound for Siem Reap.  Due to rain in some parts of Cambodia, we arrived in Siem Reap at 10PM and good thing we have a free tuk-tuk ride arranged by our hotel.

     We stayed at Mandalay Inn for 2 nights.  The air-conditioned rooms are clean, bath towels are provided, with cold and hot shower, and with cable TV.  Also, the hotel staffs are very accommodating.  Mandalay Inn restaurant serves good food too.

     The next day, we went for the sunrise tour at Angkor Wat, riding a tuk-tuk arranged by Mandalay Inn for $16 only.  At the entrance of Angkor, we paid $20 each for a one day pass and an ID will be given to you to serve as your access in every temple you visit.

     The moment I walked at the entrance bridge of Angkor Wat, no words can explain my emotions of how happy I am to be standing right in front of it.  I enjoyed every sight, every work of art the temple has, the smell of earth inside the ruins, and I wondered how the ancient Khmer civilizations worked hard for this magnificent old city.

     Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the Angkor complex, surrounded by moat and a bridge made from sandstone blocks.  It was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city.  Inside the temple, you will see extensive decorations of bas-relief depicting scenes from mythological stories and historic events.  The architecture is in high classical Khmer style that has become the national symbol of Cambodia.

linear arrangement of stone carving depicting histories and mythology

Devatas in every window

Me in black with friends

     Next, we stopped for a while at the Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom.  It was built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th or early 13th century.  The temple is richly decorated, with sculpted faces on several towers.

Angkor Thom Entrance

Bayon Temple

     Another famous temple we visited is the Ta Prohm.  This was used as a location for the Tomb Raider movie, so expect many tourists flocking to this area.  The trees are growing out of the ruins which made it more distinct and it is the only temple that best merged with the jungle.

Ta Prohm

     After Ta Prohm, we headed to Banteay Kdei which means “A Citadel for Chambers” and also known for “Citadel of Monks.”  It is a Buddhist temple built by King Jayavarman VII.    Since the porches and galleries were built of sandstones, some of them have already collapsed.  The design is somehow similar with Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple.  There were fewer tourists here and I enjoyed the serenity of this temple except for those locals who will try to sell you something.  Banteay Kdei was our last stop for the sunrise tour.

Banteay Kdei

One of the chambers

     In the afternoon, we went back to Angkor to catch the sunset at Phnom Bakheng.  Unfortunately, it rained after we hiked for 15 minutes up the hill.  Instead, we just saw a rainbow on top of the temple.  I guess we’re still lucky for witnessing that view.

top of Phnom Bakheng

Rainbow at Phom Bakheng

Baksei Chamkrong built in the 10th century

     Our frustration for a beautiful sunset brought us here at Happy Angkor Pizza.  We tried their famous home-made pizza topped with marijuana.  The use of marijuana is also prohibited in Siem Reap but for tourist you can buy pizza topped with marijuana without getting jailed.  But locals are not allowed to buy this pizza.  We also tried their local Angkor beer.

Four cheese pizza topped with marijuana

     Then we strolled along the Pub Street located at the Night Market.  Restaurants and bars lined up the streets.  Street foods are everywhere.  Souvenirs, clothes, scarves, bags, etc. can be bought here.  So I bought some items to take home as remembrance.

at the night market

     Since our hotel is very near from Night Market, we walked all the way to Mandalay Inn.  We didn’t spend so much time because we need to wake up early for our next destination which is Bangkok.

     A one day visit is not enough.  I wish we’ll meet again Siem Reap.  Not too soon, but I hope soon.


Anonymous said...

interesting! Cambodia is in my bucket list and planning to go there soon! thanks for blogging your Cambodia trip!

Bubbles said...

Thanks Jenice! :) If you have questions, you can ask me anytime at my twitter @BlueBubbles30