My last blog entry left with me telling you about my grasshopper experience. I'd like to add that eating a grasshopper was one of my top 10 goals for my trip. I'm really glad I got to tick it off. But let's get back to the Temples.
There's a cheeky tactic for visiting the Temples of Angkor that I made full use of. If you buy your ticket after 5PM you're allowed in for the sunset and your ticket is still valid for the following day. I wanted to do more of the Temples so I bought a three day pass. The cheeky tactic still applied. Making use of this tactic, on my first day in Siem Reap, I went to the ticket office and bought my ticket. I then jumped back in the tuk-tuk and headed for Angkor Wat the largest religious structure ever built. The first view of anything is always the best. My first view of Angkor Wat was just a peek at the main spire jutting out above the trees. My breath was instantly taken away. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer size of Angkor Wat. I'd heard so many stories about it's size and grandeur, but that first sighting completely exceeded my expectations!
|Angkor Wat catching the setting sun|
I left the hilltop buzzing with energy. I could hardly wait for the next day when I would actually go inside the famous temple.
|Angkor Wat needs no adornment|
|Bayon and one of it's many faces|
Baphuong temple was where we headed next. It was closed to tourists as it's undergoing a bit of reconstruction internally. I'm going to sound like a stuck record, but it was amazing. And gigantic. It was a pity we couldn't go inside, but seeing the temple from the outside was stunning enough. A little aside: Baphuong was a Hindu temple and Bayon was a Buddhist temple. The Khmer king at the time proclaimed that Buddhism and Hinduism can co-exist in harmony and so he allowed the temples to be built next to each other.
|Looking at Baphuong down the main drag|
|Preah Khan doesn't look so big from the entrance|
"To the tuk-tuks!" I cried.
|A blend of nature and religious fervor|
The midday heat had set in by the time we left and we decided to have one last stop. Ta Keo was that stop. It is a lesser known temple but by no means less superb. It is a single building built somewhat like a Mayan pyramid. We climbed to the top and were gifted with a fantastic view of the surrounding forest. As always the carvings on the walls were very detailed and the building was monolithic. I keep having to thin of synonyms for massive to keep things spicy. After Ta Keo our day was done. I'd snapped roughly 400 photographs in 7 hours. My camera's batteries died.
The next day of temple viewing started at a more reasonable hour, but it was still early. The group of 5 had now been cropped to just 2. The rest of the people were heading off within the next couple of days and couldn't fit three days of temple viewing into their timescale. The further temples were on the cards this day and we started off with the furthest, Kbal Spean 60km away from Siem Reap.
|The carvings in the river|
|The intricacy of Banteay Srei|
|The nameless temple, understated yet brilliant|
|Bakong, part of the Roluos group|
You're probably really tired of hearing me ramble by now, but luck is on your side. My fingers are getting lazy and I'm about to finish typing this. I hope you enjoyed my ramble about the Temples of Angkor. I sincerely hope that you all get to see them one day. Nothing I say can do them justice.