Results 1-10of 15 Reviews
Blackburn, England, United Kingdom
April 19, 2013
From journal Amazing Angkor
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
February 18, 2009
From journal Godless Angkor
June 16, 2008
Broadbeach Waters, Australia
February 26, 2006
Keep your eyes peeled for the families of monkeys on the side of the road just before you reach Angkor Wat. They make a great photo opportunity.
When you first arrive you enter through a long causeway over the moat, into the temple complex itself. We opted to walk on into the centre of the main temple complex first.
If you do this remember that the gallery in the outside wall holds some of the most amazing bas-relief carvings, including the famous Churning of the Ocean Milk. These extend around the interior of the wall, about 1km in total. If you arrive amidst a flurry of tour buses, come back after they leave as you won’t get a look in otherwise. They are so beautifully carved, it is like watching an epic story unfold before your eyes. They need to be followed counterclockwise to follow the story. Within the main temple complex ,there are many more carvings of the Asparas and other relief’s. I really loved the way nearly every window opening had these beautifully-carved small stone pillars, I don’t know their technical name but some were in false windows for ornamentation and others formed a semi-curtain over actual openings. You then need to climb up the towers, be warned that the steps are very steep and not for the fainthearted. There are many more chambers with offerings, and you receive a fabulous view of Angkor and the surrounding countryside.
One of the nicest things about Angkor Wat is the large number of monks that you meet whilst wandering around, all keen to practice their English and meet travelers from various parts of the world. They're happy to be photographed, and are very photogenic at that. We also had a young girl start scampering behind us. After some time she became less shy, and once we coaxed her out with some gummy bears that was it, she was with us for our whole visit. When she was tired, she gave a yawn and disappeared.
From journal Amazing Temples of Angkor
New York, New York
January 19, 2006
From journal Pretending to be a Tomb Raider
by Adam Stein
San Francisco, California
February 20, 2003
As the sky behind the temple lightened, I was one of the first to break away from the silent crowd and walk down the ancient stone walkway toward the heart of the temple. As I mounted the steps at the temple base, flanked on either side by massive stone balustrades carved with the shapes of seven-headed serpents, I thought to myself, "This very moment, I am ruining hundreds of photographs."
The temples themselves, and the jungles with which they seamlessly blend, are stunningly atmospheric. In this irony-soaked age, it can sometimes be hard to remove one's tongue from one's cheek long enough to muster the sincerity necessary to describe a moment of genuine wonder. I'm on vacation, so I'm not even going to try. My guidebook had an apt quote on the subject, something along the lines of Angkor Wat being like an epic poem, grand in structure, exquisite in detail, etc. I concur. Visit Angkor Wat. It's spectacular.
At the top of the Bayon, a temple famed for the dozens of massive carved faces that gaze down with unworldly smiles from its heights, I watched a British hippie explain to a monk that they shared a spiritual heritage.
"I don't go to church, and I visit a lot of temples, so I guess I'm mostly a Buddhist," the hippie offered, spiritually. Radiating a transcendant love for the universe and all its inhabitants, the monk hit the hippie up for some money.
As with most major tourist destinations, if you wander a little bit off the main circuit, you can find yourself utterly alone. With the aid of my bicycle, I soon found myself on top of Phnom Bok (phnom means "hill"), the site of a small unreconstructed ruin. Crumbingly statuary lies in the tall grass on top of Phnom Bok. Heaps of dragon heads and shattered female nudes are covered with blossoms from the frangipani trees that sprout from the roofs of the temple buildings.
Also on top of Phnom Bok are two pieces of artillery, presumably left there by the Khmer Rouge. The shocking thing about these pieces of artillery is their newness. They are not like material left over from World War I, rusted into monuments. The rubber tires are shiny and hard. Oil drips from gaskets. Grease coats the bearings. Cyrillic writings stands out sharply on the dials, and a ghostly crosshair is visible on the thick piece of untarnished glass in the sight.
By cranking the handwheel on the right side of the gun, I could sweep the five-foot barrel across the horizon. By cranking the handwheel on the left, I could change the barrel's angle of inclination. With a local child as my co-gunner, I stayed for a while on this bizarre piece of playground equipment, taking aim over the countryside.
From journal Cycling through Southeast Asia: Cambodia
March 7, 2006
One of the charms of Angkor in general is the large number of temples, each with their own character. However, Angkor Wat is justifiably the most well known, if only for its size. You cross the causeway over the surrounding moat and enter the first gateway to see that the causeway continues into the distance before reaching the temple buildings. The central part is set high above the surrounding countryside. As at Ta Keo, steep steps climb to the top and even with the handrail it’s a test of nerves.
We went back in the afternoon to have a look at the carvings on the wall of the lower gallery. Depictions of historical and mythical characters and events run for hundreds of metres, the stone in places rubbed to a dark colour by many exploring hands.
From journal The Temples at Angkor
February 20, 2006
From journal In the Footsteps of Lara Croft
Vancouver, British Columbia
November 29, 2005
Definitely worthy of an entry of their own entry, the carvings at Angkor Wat and surrounding temples are a sight to behold. Although many of the carvings have had some of their detail worn away by the elements, there are still lots of examples that look like they might have been carved only a few years ago. While most of the temples now house statues of the Buddha, they were originally built at a time when the Khmer Empire was dominantly Hindu. Consequently, almost all of the carvings are representations of the Hindu pantheon and/or scenes from Hindu mythology. Even a little effort to learn about the Hindu gods and the classic myth "The Ramayana" will be rewarded with a much richer understanding of the carvings.
For most Westerners, some sort of guide or guidebook will be essential. I picked one up right outside the Temple for $6 from a street vendor and referred to it almost constantly while I was moving through the temples. I did some background reading from the guide on history, culture, building methods, materials, etc., and I found that it significantly improved my appreciation and understanding of the carvings on the second day. One thing to remember is that lighting can make a huge difference. Angkor Wat has over 2,000 Devatas, and I particularly enjoyed noting the difference it made to view them in the shade, the morning/evening light, and the bright midday sun.
From journal Angkor Wat in a Day
Things to keep in Mind: Broadly speaking, there are two types of temples around Siem Reap, monastic complexes and temple mountains. Try to include both types in your itinerary. Also, some temples have been restored and some have been left basically as they were first discovered. Again, try to visit examples of both. Finally, the temples were built over a 400-year period, and the building style and materials evolved over this period, so try and visit both early and late period examples. Angkor Wat and Bayon (in Angkor Thom) are both unique in their own right and are must-see's, no matter what your planned route. Try and include any sights that are dependant on the weather as early on in a multi-day visit as possible. i.e. don't leave a sunset climb of Phnom Bakheng until the last day just to have it rained out. Try and visit the temple mountains early in the day, when it’s cooler. Steep climbs are required, and there is little shade at the top. Visiting the monastic complexes can be done through midday as there is plenty of shade.
Before you go: Pick up a guidebook that details the bas-relief carved at Angkor Wat and Bayon; it will be invaluable. If you decide to use a guide, speak to them first. The level of English fluency and knowledge varied dramatically among the ones I saw at the temples. Also, when booking a driver, make sure he understands your itinerary, as they may expect additional money to visit some of the farther out temples or for a very long day that goes from before sunrise to after sunset.
Considering all the above factors, my ideal route (and close to the one I followed) would be: Start the day at Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise from the north lotus pond. Move immediately on to Angkor Thom (you’ll comeback to Angkor Wat in the afternoon, when the bas-reliefs are better lit.) for a quick walk along the Terraces and chance to admire the South Gate. After that, head out to Banteay Srey, stopping at Ta Keo, Pre Rup, and East Mebon on your way out. Then come back towards Angkor Thom and do a long walk From Sras Srang through Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm. This should take a couple of hours and carry you through the midday heat. Have your driver meet you at the west end of Ta Prohm so that you don’t have to walk back. From here, move to the bas-reliefs at Bayon and Angkor Wat, but still take the time to enjoy the temples in their own right. Then end the day with a climb up Phnom Bakheng to watch the sun light up Angkor Wat as it sets.