For many years we have wanted to visit the various temples at Angkor. So the past 2 days have been a dream come true for us both.
The mass of temples located at Angkor were built between the 9th and 13th centuries AD and there are said to number over 1,000. Many are small and ruined but a large number are immense and in varying states of decay. The most famous is Angkor Wat and this temple is in fact part of the Cambodian flag.
We made contact with the tuk tuk driver recommended to us and he agreed to pick us up at 8am and to drive us around until after sunset. For this he wanted only US$12!
We started off at Santeay Kdei and the hand dug resorvoir next to it Sras Srang. This was only a small temple and a small reservoir but immediately gave an awe inspiring demonstration of the incredible building prowess of the Angkorians.
This is the “small” reservoir…..which was dug by hand!
We then moved on to the close by Banteay Kdei temple.
At this stage I was as happy as larry as the temples were already as impressive as I was expecting. But these two are small. From Bateay Kdei we tuk tuk’d to Ta Prohm, which is a temple I was particularly looking forward to. Ta Prohm is fairly unique in that it has been left almost exactly as it had been found. The other temples have had trees removed and repairs carried out but Ta Prohm is in a state of ruin with huge trees growing in, on and around the buildings. The atmosphere of this temple is almost eery and it was used in the Tomb Raider film for this reason.
(a tree and the inner wall!)
(a tree root!)
From here we visited Ta Keo, a pyramid style temple. The Angkorians seemed to favour extremely steep steps. And where the steep steps have been eroded by many years of use they have become frighteningly steep. This is me positively petrified climbing back down Ta Keo. The photo doesn’t quite illustrate the steepness, but trust me, it’s steep!
After a couple more small temples we passed Angkor Thom and grabbed a quick pic. We were to return here on day 2.
We then went to Angkor Wat. A truly awe inspring sight!
It is extremely hard to do justice to Ankgor Wat with the photographs we took. The scale and complexity of the entire complex is astonishing when you consider it was built some 900 years ago. The below aerial photograph does however show the immense size of the temple complex and the huge mote which is 200 metres wide.
We then moved on to the traditional end to a day at the temples by visiting one of the sites best suited to view the sunset. Our tuk tuk driver Davong chose Phnom Bakheng, a pyramid like temple on the top of the only hill in the whole area. It was a tough climb up the hill in the heat and the climb up the temple was very steep and precarious. That said about 1,000 other people were also making the climb.
The views of the sunset were stunning…
And the climb down was perilous!
Overall it was an amazing day and we were exhausted but excited about day 2.