Considered as one of the largest and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of Southeast Asia, Angkor (now Cambodia) was the capital city or “Holy City” of the Khmer Empire and it is one of Earth’s greatest archaeological wonders. The ancient Angkor city is made up of complex temples from different rulers as an offering and a dwelling for the gods. Each generation of king builds bigger and grand temples. These include the greatest and famous Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, The Bayon, Ta Prohm, The Bantay Srei, and several others.
Wake up early or be left out!
Finally, we reach the main entrance of the Angkor Wat temple at around five in the morning. Surprisingly, the lotus pond area was fully loaded with tourists. We did manage to find a good spot and watch the Angkor Wat landscape change as the sun rises. Waking up early and missing out my breakfast at the hotel was well worth the trouble. Lol!
The sunrise view at the Angkor Wat is absolutely one of the best intros of our travel. Heading to Angkor Archaeological Park has an entrance fee (Angkor Pass) for a day, 3 or a week that can only be purchased at the official ticket center (main entrance of Angkor Park). There is no public transport inside the complex so either you rent a private car, bike or hire a tuk-tuk driver.
The Angkor Wat is huge! Just avoid the crowd and take time to marvel and wander the architectural moment of the sacred place. Being one of the best UNESCO world heritage sites, Angkor Wat is an ancient and sacred site. Some of the temples are occupied with worshippers and monks chanting their prayers. It is much appreciated to be considerate and be mindful of others. Some temples are restricted and flash photography is not allowed. And to some guest, be mindful of wearing appropriate clothing and not to step or climb the premises.
Temples within Angkor Thom: Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, The Elephant Terraces, Preah Pithu, and others.
THE BAYON TEMPLE
The Bayon temple is also known as the temple with multiple faces. But whose face is it? According to some historians, the face resembles King Jayavarman VII or the statue depicts the face of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Ta Prohm temple is the most photographed in all the temples I have been in Angkor. The abandoned temple is swallowed by nature. The giant trees invaded this man-made concrete and the enormous roots muscled through the walls and split walls in two. Unfortunately, there is no sign of Angelina Jolie but everything about this place is magical and breathtaking. It’s one of these moments where you could wish to see this place empty of the human soul for an hour and stand in the middle of the jungle.
Preah Khan is a peaceful temple. It is largely surrounded with numerous trees and the site is has been left unrestored. King Jayavarman VII built this temple in honor of his father.
Banteay Srei is far away from Angkor Wat (more or less an hour travel) and the Angkor Pass ticket covered this temple. It is small and compact and it is uniquely constructed with red sandstones. The temple is mostly dedicated to Shiva and Hinduism rather than Buddhism. The carving and the details is a fine example of the Khmer art.