Cambodia 2014: The Temples of Angkor12/04/2014 11:23:00 PM
Hey hey! Today I have a long picture post for you, with photos from our temple trekking adventures around Angkor! The region of Angkor was the centre of the Khmer empire, which flourished from the 9th to 15th centuries. Currently there are dozens of temples in various states of ruin and restoration, which are both beautiful and fascinating, and a huge tourist attraction. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world. We absolutely loved the temples, and I'm glad we devoted a good two and a half days to seeing them. We didn't see all the temples in Angkor (hardly!), but apparently we saw many more than the average visitor! Don't forget to check out my Angkor Temple Travel Tips at the bottom of this post, and if you have any other tips you'd like to add, please leave them in the comments!
Here are the photos - N.B. these were all taken by Sandra. She is quite the photographer and lugged around the big SLR and lenses in the heat.
Pre Rup - We came here for the sunset on our first night in Siem Reap. Beautiful, and not crazy crowded.
|Pre Rup at Sunset|
Ta Phrom - Yup, the Tomb Raider temple!
|Nāga - 5-headed snake at Ta Phrom|
|Strangler Fig at Ta Phrom|
This is a random temple whose name I've sadly forgotten - it's one of the lesser known ones and I couldn't find it on any map. If anyone knows please tell me!
|Random beautiful temple|
Terrace of the Elephants
|Terrace of the Elephants|
|Terrace of the Elephants|
Bayon - My favourite temple! I loved all the smiling four-faced Buddhas.
The Gates of Angkor Thom
|Angkor Thom Gates|
Angkor Wat - We came here for sunrise on our third day in Siem Reap.
|Angkor Wat at Sunrise|
|Strangler fig at Ta Som|
Neak Pean - This was originally used for curing and healing purposes, and people still bring offerings and worship here.
Angkor Temple Travel Tips
- If you want to see more than one or two temples, I'd definitely suggest hiring a tour guide. We organised one through the hotel - Pat from Travel Indochina - and he was awesome! He had a fantastic knowledge of the temples to an incredible level of detail, was lots of fun, and pointed out lots of good spots for photos that we might have otherwise missed.
- Most of the big tour groups tend to follow the same route - we managed to avoid most of the crowds by starting early and going in the opposite direction. A good tour guide will be able to advise you, and we found the TripAdvisor forums to be a good source of information for planning itineraries.
- Having said that, everybody goes to Angkor Wat for sunrise. Just accept it. With the 4:30am start, our hotel prepared us coffee and croissants for before we left, and gave us a packed breakfast for after sunrise.
- Start early - it gets really hot by midday. Although, if you can handle the heat, the temples are usually a lot quieter by then, so that's a bonus.
- Bring water, sunscreen and a hat. Use them. We were lucky that our tuk tuk (organised by the hotel) had cold water and cold towels in an esky. AMAZE.
- Wear comfortable shoes. I bought a pair Teva Tirra women's sandals prior to the trip and they were great. Most of the tour guides I saw wore similar open walking sandals so I figured we made the right choice.
- Some of the temples are still actively used as places of worship, and a modest dress code is enforced, i.e. shoulders and knees covered. Difficult in the heat, but you gotta make it work!
- Dress for comfort and breathability. Sandra splashed out on expensive breathable hiking pants from Kathmandu, and I cheaped out with a couple of pairs of shorts from Target because: "Pffft, when am I going to be hiking again?!". It was a poor choice. A poor, sweaty, itchy choice.