Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat is one of the seven something wonder’s of the world. I can attest, since seeing it was quite wonderful. Here’s a quick history in case your interested. Think Roman Empire, but Hindu/Buddhist and in the middle of the jungle.

Wat means temple. The entire area surrounding Angkor Wat (the largest temple) is called Angkor. Many other amazing temples are located in Angkor. Since we were in Cambodia for such a short time, there was no way we could see them all, but we tried!

A three day pass to all the main temples was $40 per person. Pretty pricey, but it’s well needed there. Our driver didn’t speak any English, the wheel was on the wrong side of the car, which had no license plates and he almost chopped the hands off the ticket lady as she passed ours through the window. But he smiled a lot and I liked him. We paid $20 for the day and with smiles and nods, he drove us wherever we wanted. Then he’d wait there until we were ready to go somewhere else.

The climb up the stairs inside Angkor Wat is pretty dangerous. They’re only about four inches deep and at a ladder’s incline. Most have no railings and the black rock is blazing hot, so holding on isn’t really an option. I love how the lack of lawyers in less developed countries leaves so much responsibility on the individual. Back home you almost don’t have to watch your step. Thousands of tourists visit Angkor Wat everyday, but the place is so massive that finding a lonely spot was easy. Everything distant looked surreal and painted through the hot haze.

We spent the day racing around between temples. The types of stone they were made from varied, as did their size, design and condition. The Japanese seem to be funding much of the restoration there. Having seen some temples half in ruins and half rebuilt, it looks like they’re doing quite a good job.

At dusk all the tourists hiked to the top of the highest and most western temple to watch the sun set over the Cambodia’s plains. Even without the heat and long day of walking, the steep climb would have been a challenge. This made for some interesting expressions of tire and relief at the summit.

That night we ate well at a buffet and watched classic Khmer dance in Siem Reap. Then the next morning we met our driver in the lobby at 5:30am and he took us back to Angkor Wat where we joined thousands of tourists for a blood red sunrise. It was a peaceful time to be there since most of the hawkers were still asleep. Being templed-out by noon, we had just enough time to visit the one last place our driver insisted we go. Think Venice, only not at all. More on that in my next post.

Resting Monk at Angkor Wat II

2 Thoughts on “Angkor Wat”

  1. Natalie McKenna Says:

    Hi John:
    Fantastic, magnifique,wonderful,awesome. Write a book, include pictures. I’ll be the first to buy a copy. Bon Voyage!!!!

  2. pmessore Says:

    John – there is a miniture Ankor Wat Temple in Cranston at a Cambodian Temple on Plainfield Pike. check it out when you come home. Your site it remarkable.

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