Angkor Wat

1) Buddhist monks take a lesson at Wat Preah Prom Rath in downtown Siem Reap

We enjoyed Cambodia immensely. Why?

  • we hired a great guide before arriving and planned where we wanted to go and when (he was actually one of the first guides operating in Siem Reap at the end of the war and also had a hand to play when the television show, The Amazing Race, visited Angkor Wat);
  • the food was fabulous;
  • Siem Reap is a marvelous city with a great Night Market and ridiculously fun Pub Street;
  • considering what Cambodians have been through (and not all that long ago too), they are warm and welcoming;
  • the ruins of Angkor Wat are awe-inspiring on oh-so-many levels;
  • Blee joined us while there;
  • Karen and John joined us for a bit while there (they are friends of ours who live in our condo); and,
  • the trip up-river to the Floating Village was out of this world amazing.

We had a gorgeous suite at the Le Meridien Angkor during our stay, which is a short hop to the ruins, and had one of the best breakfast buffets of our stay. The bar was great (and empty) and the spa on site professional and very affordable.

2) our awesome suite at Le Meridien

3) we had a daily gift from the team while in residence; 4) the Le Meridien pool – perfect for cooling off after hiking the ruins

5 & 6) the pool invites us during the day

7 & 8) the lobby with; ) its teddy bear donation Xmas tree … of course we bought and donated a bear for the kids in the hospital next door

9) G relaxes in the Naga Bar

10) everyone busy watching the show while I photograph them; 11) I was amazed at how intricate some of the hand and foot movements were

12) petals for us all; 13) beautiful

14) the band was hidden behind the dancers; 15) Blee with my Angkor beer at the show with Theirry peeking out from behind the bottle

 16 & 17) scenes from the Night Market

18) need a hat?; 19) or t-shirts?

20) lilies at the hotel garden; and,  21) directly in front of Angkor Wat

22) Angkor Wat, built by King Suryavarman II circa 1133-1150AD

Angkor Wat is essentially a replica of the universe in stone and represents an earthly example of the cosmic world. The central tower rising in the middle symbolizes the mythical Mount Meru. It is roughly 500 acres in size and surrounded by a moat that is 200 meters wide.

23) a short video of Angkor Wat take from just outside the moat

24) originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu;  25) it now also serves as a Buddhist one

26 & 27) even today almost 1000 years after it was built, the renovations continue

28) only the royal family and high priests were allowed up there

29) the first level of Angkor Wat has a gallery of bas-reliefs that cover most of all four walls

 30 & 31) they portray scenes from the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata and Bhagavata-Purama  (pick up any book by the late Joseph Campbell – he provides anyone interested in this with the most accessible re-telling)

32) the south gate at Angkor Thom – on the left gods, the right demons who protected the approach to the city; 33) a close-up of the demons

34) the main gate looking back north; 35) off the beaten track you’ll find new friends

36) looking back north along the causeway and the groupas;  37) elephant rides – a tad tacky I thought – can be had inside Bayon

Inside the massive city that is Angkor Thom – built by King Jayavarman VII circa 1181-1220 – is Bayon. Bayon is still somewhat enigmatic but it’s 200 large faces are all of the King (he definitely had no ego problem). Built about 100 after Angkor Wat – and unlike Angkor Wat – the Bayon was from its outset a Buddhist temple.

38) one of the King’s many faces;  39) a shrine to Buddha

40) here the builders where thoughtful enough to think of great camera shots all those years ago; 41) moi with the king(s)

 43) The Bayon

44) the Terrace of the Elephants is where the King used to address the people; 45) detail of the Terrace

46) if you were naughty, the King had you shut-up in one of these towers

47) lunching at Orchidee Angkor Restaurant; 48) fish amok … we ate a ton of amok and LOVED it

49 & 50) “Red Wine by Butter”; and, ) “White Wine by Batter” are but two examples of how endearing Siem Reap is

51) mango salad; 52) visiting Artisans d’Angkor

Do make time while in Siem Reap to visit Artisans d’Angkor. There is a great gift shop – bring plenty of money! – and it sells stuff made on site by the artists. They have established a professional training school to help young Cambodians rediscover traditional handicrafts and give them the opportunity to take part in the rebuilding process their country is undertaking. It’s a great cause and you’ll need a good half day to tour the studios and make your purchases.

53) lacquer wood Buddhas; 54) framed aspharas are made with gold leaf

55) tools of the trade; 56) the various types of stone and rock used to build the temples around Siem Reap

57 & 58) little elephants are carved

59 & 60) the woodworking studio is busy

61 & 62) a artisan hard at work

63) the entrance to Wat Preah Prom Rath; 64) our guide guides us through the pagodas

65) detail of the temple roof line

66) our guide and us pause to pray at the massive reclining Buddha; 67) close up of Buddha’s face

68) beautiful!

69) the outside of the temple floats on lotuses; 70) and is surrounded by pictures of the Buddha’s story

71) stunning!

72) Blee relaxes in the before we head out on the town; 73) one night we headed out in an 1950s French Jeep to a restaurant in the middle of nowhere … it was SUPERB!

74) the restaurant was VERY dark as you can see but we had palm heart salad; 75) kebabs

76) fresh crab; and, 77) a Tonle Sap fish done is salt

78) Touich Restaurant is HIGHLY recommended if you ever visit; 79) from there we headed to Pub Street for – too many – drinks

80) we stopped into Red Piano – the bar that made Siem Reap and Pub Street famous when Angelina Jolie visited

81) sights and sounds from the balcony of Red Piano

82) we then crossed the road to In Touch Restaurant for more drinks and fun .. it was way more hopping

83) drinking too much always makes me take pictures of the strangest things – in this case the lights in In Touch Restaurant

84 & 85) done with In Touch Restaurant, we continue for more drinks at Temple

86) we are still trying to figure this sign out?!;  87) yes, it’s blurry but when you have 50¢ cent beers from 10PM to close and $4 pitchers (probably of boot-legged alcohol smuggled in from Thailand) what do you expect!

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3 Responses to Angkor Wat

  1. christao408 says:

    Nice pictures.  One of these days Tawn and I will get over to Cambodia.

  2. Fatcat723 says:

    I have always been intrigued by the art and dance of the East. Your photos only enhance for me! It does look like a beautiful country.

  3. CurryPuffy says:

    Been there 3 times (first visit was 2001) , stayed at Le Meridian as well. It’s a very neat place indeed! Oh, how nice to see the local government updating the landmark!

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