After leaving Vietnam, we headed to Siem Reap, Cambodia for three days to see the temples of Angkor Wat. Much has been written about the history and artistry of Angkor Wat and, as my muscles ache after exploring these wonders, I shall simply share photos of a few of the temples we visited.
Around Siem Reap
Angkor Wat is best known as the largest temple in the compound and it certainly lives up to the hype! Circa 12th century.
Bayon, Angkor Thom
Within the walls of Angkor Thom, there are numerous temples, but none are more striking than Bayon, with its mass of face towers. The exact number of faces is disputed and I, sadly, didn’t have time to count them all myself. Circa 12th-13th century.
This island temple is quite small, but the bridge across the water and the engineering involved are striking. Circa 12th century.
Preah Khan was more than a temple, serving as a university and city. It’s quite large and has a unique, round-column, two-story building, along with immense trees. Circa 12th century.
This temple is best known as the setting for Tomb Raider and tourists flock to take pictures. I was more impressed by the conservation method than the popular culture reference: much of this temple has not been restored. It is in the same condition now as it was in the 1800s, when westerners first arrived to Angkor Wat. For safety, supports have been put up in places, but the temple is crumbling. This visual of the jungle taking back the stone is quite beautiful and allows visitors to understand the process of decay. Circa 12th-13th century.
Impressive free standing elephants mark this temple. The towers look quite tall, but it was once surrounded by water, lowering the general height of the temple. Circa 10th Century.
This temple is about 20km north of Angkor Wat and is best known for its intricate pink sandstone carvings. Circa 10th century.
Kbal Spean isn’t a temple. It’s a series of carvings directly in the riverbed, along a 150 meter stretch of Siem Reap river. Finding these carvings requires driving 30km north of Siem Reap, and climbing into the mountains, making it the most remote temple we visited. Circa 11th-12th century.