Siem Reap - temples, temples and more temples

Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
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Trip End Dec 23, 2010


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We decided to travel to Siem Reap by boat crossing the Tonale Sap Lake. Fortunately the lake was high (as it is the end of the rainy season) so we didn't get stuck in any mud banks, however we did have to travel through some extremely narrow waterways where at some points we thought that the boat wouldn’t make it through. All in all we finally made it in seven hours. We had seen floating villages all along the Mekong River but we were still amazed at the remoteness of the villages based towards the centre of the lake at least an hour from any shoreline there were schools and we even saw a police station!

The temples awaited us and over three days with a tuk tuk driver, map and guidebook (and a guide on the first day so that we knew what we should be looking for) we visited around 15 temple ruins. The majority of the monuments were built between 9th and the 13th century.  As most of them were abandoned until the 19th century it is incredible to see that they are still standing (although there is ongoing restoration). Having seen images and heard people talking about them we still weren’t fully prepared for their size (the temple at Angor Wat is one square kilometre rising 65 meters above the ground) or the intricate carvings that are still evident in the sandstone. We were in awe.

The history of each ruin is different and we are not going to bore you with it in any detail! However the changes in the country have imprinted themselves in the walls of these monuments where war has left bullet holes on the outside of Angkor Wat, Buddha carvings have been vandalised due to the constant switching between Buddhism (the dominant religion today) and Hinduism and most recently due to the film industry, permanent ropes have had to be put up around Ta Prohm as tourists flock to see the temple where Tomb Raider was filmed.

As we spent the majority of our time in Siem Reap around the temples we didn’t do anything else that exciting – apart from have a fish foot massage where they seemed to enjoy Kate’s feet more than Ivor’s!

Angkor Wat may get all the credit being the 8th wonder of the world and  appearing on the Cambodian flag, however, for us Angkor Thom appealed as it is covered with huge carvings of smiling faces everywhere you look.  Our pictures can’t really do it justice but if you would like to see more – come to ours for dinner one night and we will show you the rest of the seven hundred (excluding videos!!!!).
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Comments

CAK x on

I had never heard of these Temples but very impressive!
It does make one wonder what progress we have made over the centuries, what was the Buddhist resting from, men hey!!
Gosh a long trip but worth it.

Suzanne Webb on

I'm glad you enjoyed Angkor Wat as much as we did. As you say the photos can't do it justice. Truly an amazing site. I can't believe you are still travelling, very jealous. But I am flying out to the Philippines in a weeks time to see Simon on his new project, taking a two week period to travel a bit. Then open water diving course. I saw Kate completed hers in Nha Trang which looked really good. Any tips?
Have a fab time on the rest of your trip! Suzanne (Haylong Bay)

Steve Massart on

Brings back so good memories seeing these pics :)

sean on

hey guys hows it going looks like you are still having a blast and a very adventurest time iam very jelous went for my second helicopter lesson today so i am getting a little adventure fix of my own

Mom on

I loe hearing bout your travels, keep on enjoying........we are going to have soooo much to talk about when next i se you both. Loads of love xxxxx

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