Angkor Wat Journals

Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Big Brother Thom

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A December 2002 trip to Angkor Wat by jemery

South Gate, Angkor Thom Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia More Photos
Quote: Once-Communist Cambodia now welcomes Western tourists, and the small city of Siem Reap is now a World Heritage Site. Guide jemery walks you through the massive temple of Angkor Wat and some lesser-publicized marvels as well, as we visit the 4-square-mile capitol of ancient Khmer kings.

Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Big Brother Thom

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Overview

South Gate, Angkor Thom Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Quote:
Angkor Wat is said to be the largest temple in the world, but it wasn’t the largest structure in this capital city of 12th-century Khmer kings. That title belonged to Angkor Thom--the two-square-mile Royal City and Palace. Angkor Thom isn’t as well-preserved as the temple, but its massive south gate is an impressive reminder of what it once was. The little city of Siem Reap, Cambodia, probably has more upscale hotel rooms than any other city near its size, anywhere in the world. Angkor Wat alone would probably have been enough to make it a World Heritage Site, but there’s more. Within 100km of here, according to my guide, there are 394 other temples. A serious archaeology buff would need...Read More

Princess Angkor Hotel

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Hotel

Princess Angkor Hotel Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Quote:
This highly-recommended, 118-room hotel offers well-above-average accommodations at a very reasonable price for such a world-class tourism site. Given its four-star rating--by my tour agency’s rating system, at least--rates starting at US$80 were a pleasant surprise. The Princess was large enough to provide almost all the amenities I would have wanted without being large enough to intimidate. Instead of a conventional lobby, there was a large front room that served as both a reception area and a holding area for guests awaiting their tour departures or airport transfers. To facilitate that, furniture was grouped into clusters that served as individual conversation centers. One corner serv...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 13, 2003

Princess Angkor Hotel

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Temple Complex of Angkor Wat

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Attraction | "A Walk Through Angkor Wat"

Temple Complex of Angkor Wat Photo, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Quote:
Angkor Wat, the Great Temple, encompasses a full square mile and is said to be the largest temple complex in the world. Its three spires--shaped like elongated pineapples--are seen on postcards, in TV travel films, and on travel posters the world over. Begun in the early 1100s, my guidebook said, Angkor Wat took 37 years and the labor of some 25,000 men to complete. And, though what’s now known as Cambodia is a Buddhist country, Angkor Wat was built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. (Hindus and Buddhists, I’m told, have long co-existed peaceably in this part of the world. Indeed, according to my guide, the 12th-century Buddhist kings wanted a place of worship for their loyal ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 13, 2003

Temple Complex of Angkor Wat
5.5 Km North of Siem Reap
Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Thom

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Attraction | "Exploring Angkor Thom"

Angkor Thom Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Quote:
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...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 13, 2003

Angkor Thom
Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Tap Rohm

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Attraction | "Tap Rohm: A Mansion for Mom"

Tap Rohm Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Quote:
To appreciate the challenge facing archaeologists trying to restore jungle-devastated sites, visit the ruin called Tap Rohm, in the Angkor Thom area. This was once the mansion the king had built for his mother. Now, it’s an interesting demonstration why, to paraphrase a classic advertising line, "It isn’t nice to fool with Mother Nature." The jungle reclaims its territory in two ways: First, it attacks gaps in and between wall and foundation stones, penetrating them with tendrils that eventually expand enough to crack them open. Secondly, the monsoon rains soften the ground enough for storm winds to blow heavy trees down onto the structure. Both types of damag...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 13, 2003

Tap Rohm
Seam Reap/Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Wat Bo, Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Quote:
In Cambodia, even in December, wise persons do not schedule walking tours in the noonday sun, especially when they’ve arrived on a flight whose schedule forced them to rise before dawn. So, after greeting me at the airport, guide Son Bunny suggested spending a few hours at the hotel before beginning a first-day orientation tour. Since I’d have only one full day in Siem Reap, he said, this would help us set priorities. After a quick swing through the streets of Siem Reap, we started our tour, not at Angkor Wat, but at a small temple called Wat Bo. Wat Bo, just a short bicyle ride from the city center, is the area’s oldest still-active Buddhist temple. It’s tiny compared to...Read More