Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
March 14, 2005
From journal Celebrate a Quiet New Year's 2005
February 20, 2006
From journal In the Footsteps of Lara Croft
by kaihsing guide
December 3, 2002
Several temples have been retored and many have been left in the state that they were found. Today, you can still do pretty much anything you want and wander whereever you feel like; however, that is bound to change in the next few years.
Three days is the length of time most visitors spend as it provides enough time to visit all the key temples as well as providing one with time to see some of the smaller sites or re-visit some favorites.
It is best to hire a motorbike driver, or is you are experienced, to rent a bike on your own. Once you arrive at your hotel, pick up any of the countless pamphlets targeted at visitors to get a more detailed overview of the temples.
From journal Indiana Jones Fantasies
April 24, 2004
I have not biked in 4 years and even back 4 years ago, I was just a wobbly beginner. Today I rented a bike for a $1/day and gathered my courage and off I headed towards the Land Mine Museum, set up by Aki Ra.
Map in hand, I pedaled. I was really scared at first of the cars, the motos, and other bikers, but I pedaled slowly and eventually I got to my destination. On the way there, there were paved roads, semi-paved (bumpy), pebble roads, sand roads and dirt roads. My butt really took a hit on the pebble roads. Dirt roads are okay as long as there are no pebbles.
It took me about an hour to get there, while a moto would probably take 15 minutes. But along the way, there were quite a few Cambodian bikers who kept on looking at me curiously (I am Chinese, so I am a lot paler compared to Cambodians). Every time I saw them, I smiled, and I truly enjoy getting in return their sheepish and genuine smile.
I felt sort of a camaraderie with all bikers. After I got to the Land Mine Museum, I spent about 45 minutes looking at real land mines! Wow... I never knew there were so many kinds!
After looking at the metal pieces and reading some of Aki Ra's stories, I left for a sunset at Angkor Wat. At first, I thought I could just use the dirt road and do a shortcut. So I rode on past the zoo, and into the villages. There, I waved and smiled at all the Cambodians sitting in their huts. So many cute little kids!
I got to a dead end, and an old Cambodian lady, who obviously did not speak English, directed me to go another way. She was a friendly grandma without teeth. She did not quite have a teeth-showing smile.
Then I headed towards Angkor Wat using the larger car road (semi-paved). After getting there, because I was afraid of having my bike stolen, I sat near the lake and enjoyed the sunset.
I decided that since it was the end of my third day pass, I would go to see Bayon again. On the map, it looked really close, but... actually it wasn't! I had to go past Phnom Bakheng (another good place for sunset - and you can see Angkor Wat pretty clearly) and go into Angkor Thom via the North Gate. I pedaled, and by this time, my ass really hurt! But I went on and I rode around Bayon once, and realized that Lonely Planet had been right. Bayon was better in the morning.
I headed back to the guest house and finally got back in about an hour. All in all, it was a great experience - although my ass did hurt for three days after that.
From journal Cambodia -- SiemReap/Angkor
January 13, 2003
My pre-tour briefing book translated "Angkor Thom" as "The Great City." My on-site guide preferred "Great Capital." Clearly, it was both.
Though Angkor Wat is the main attraction, Angkor Thom may have been the greater architectural achievement. Angkor Wat covers about one square mile; Angkor Thom was four times that. It was the King’s residence and administrative center and home of many of the temples and shrines his family worshipped at. Within its walls were the parade grounds where he marshalled his armies.
The base of the main palace, called "The Elephant Terrace" is defined by a 10-foot high wall, at least 100 yards long, covered with bas-relief carvings of elephants doing battle with various other creatures. The scenes represented the Royal troops repelling invaders, with the elephants as the good guys. (Buddhists often used sculptured elephants as a symbol of power and strength.) As built, my guide said, the palace was 300 meters long.
The river channel guarding Angkor Wat also defines the southern boundary of Angkor Thom, and the entry from the south is by far the most impressive. A wide stone bridge, with elegantly carved stone figures for side railings and abutments, leads to a massive stone gateway. I photographed this twice, one during a light rain and again in morning sunlight, to demonstrate how changing light can dramatically alter the mood of this place.
At certain times during the day, a small parade of elephants would march out of the south gate and across the stone bridge to be fed and rested. Here, elephants are mainly for work, not show. They help to clear land and move reconstruction materials. I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough to compose a decent photo but, though I’m not proud of it, I’ll share a hasty "grab shot" with you.
Within Angkor Thom, you’ll also encounter Bayon, ruins of a once-massive temple, and Tap Rohm, the now-ruined mansion the king ordered built for his mother. It’s a classic example of how the jungle reclaims its territory, and deserves a journal entry of its own. . .
From journal Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Big Brother Thom
Blackburn, England, United Kingdom
April 19, 2013
From journal Amazing Angkor
May 22, 2010
From journal Lost Butt in Angkor Wat
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
June 16, 2008
From journal Godless Angkor
Broadbeach Waters, Australia
February 26, 2006
On entry, turn to your left and follow the gallery along a mesmerizing sequence of stories. They may not be in technicolour, but the carving and the events depicted are so detailed, and graphic, that you feel you are watching a movie unfold before you. Armies of soldiers row war canoes into battle with giant crocodiles snatching an easy meal, fierce warriors face off while holding on to their fighting dogs, and many more.
At the end, double back and enter the section with the towers. Each of these is around three stories high, they are hollow and inside many are small offerings and statues with incense burning. No matter where you are, there will be a face looking down on you, turn and enter a doorway and there is a face looking back.
The sheer scale of carving, also extends to the various pillars or columns upon which each has two or three dancing Apsara (heavenly nymphs), over a bed of lilies, delicately carved and full of movement. Every lintel is ornately carved, with more intricate carvings of deities. A surface that has not been decorated hardly remains .
When you have finished with the main temple area, the towers continue towards the west gate, and the Baphuon which is currently being restored and so it could not be accessed. Here, you will come across local people, mainly kids, that start to chat and offer to explain the history of the temples that they know by rote. They will normally then give you a story about how they need money for school, books, and so on and ask for money. However, they are not looking for the worthless Cambodian currency, but Thai baht because it is worth so much more. It’s up to you what you do, they normally scamper off when you turn to enter the complex of Phimeanakas.
This complex holds the royal bathing ponds and pools, but you won’t spend much time here.
Then past the terrace of the Leper King and lastly the terrace of the Elephants in the Royal Square. Again, it is easy to imagine the King standing on his platform in full command of his armies, assembled in their full battle gear waiting to march into battle, or on a hunt. The front face of the podium is carved with giant elephants, and the front section is carved so the trunks of the beasts jut out from the actual podium. Impressive and very difficult to photograph well.
From journal Amazing Temples of Angkor