Siem Reap

After one night in Phnom Penh we flew further to our goal in Cambodia – Siem Reap.
It is here most of the tourists come to see the fantastic temples in the surrounding area.
Here is the largest concentration of temples in the whole world.

The history in Cambodia can be split in 3 epochs: 1) Before Angkor time. 2) Angkor time. and 3) After Angkor time. The Angkor time lasted from about 11th century to 15th century.
Then Cambodia was on its top and the country was prospering. More temples were built at that time then ever.
We started to look at the oldest temple, Preah Ko which was finished in 879.
It belongs to “before Angkor-time”.

Preah Ko

During the time that the temples were built the religion was only Hinduism.
At several places you can see groups of beautiful women called Apsara, and are according to the religion women that dance for the gods in heaven.
During the 15th century they converted more and more to Buddism which is leading religion today.

Preah Ko

The capital town and the largest town during the Angkor time was Angkor Thom which means “the big town”.
Here is the south gate to Angkor Thom which is bordered by gods at one side and demons on the other side.
They have had (and still have) problems with theft of antique details and some of the figures are missing – for example the heads.

sgate
Gods

Here we have passed the porch and are behind the walls which are 3 by 3 km.
During the Angkor time, there were about 20000 wooden houses here. These no longer exist.

Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom

Inside in Angkor Thom you will soon arrive to the 2:nd largest temple, Bayon with its smiling faces everywhere.
The faces were carved in all four directions. There were in total 54 tower faces in the temple.

bayon

A later buddha statue has been placed as an offering place in Bayon.

praying
Nun

The walls are full of beautiful inscriptions.
Here you can see two dancing Apsaras (and two happy girls) !

Window in Bayon
Bayon
Monks on moped

The largest and the most famous temple is Angkor Wat (“the temple of the town”) with its five temple towers.
The temple area is surrounded by a 200 m. wide moat.
Angkor Wat was built in 37 years during the 11th century by hundreds of thousands of slaves. It is mostly built in sandstone and the foundation is 23 m. deep. Everywhere there are inscriptions and imaginative histories are told in the pictures at the stones.

After climbing a staircase that can almost be equal to climbing a mountain (a slope of 70 degrees),
we arrived at the highest gallery. Here we had a wonderful view.

Angkor Wat
Monks
Monk

The third largest temple is Ta Prohm or in common called “The Jungle Temple”.
It is most known for its terrifying tree roots that completely swallow the temple.

Entrance
Entrance

French explorers found all overgrown temples in the end of the 19th century.
They wanted to show the posterity what the nature can cause and therefore let this temple be without cutting away the roots.
We felt like entering the “Jungle Book” and expected to see King Louie jump out any moment!
Here some scenes from the movie “Tomb Raider” was shot.

Tree roots
Ta Prom
Ta Prohm
At Ta Prom
At Ta Prom
Ta Prom

We also took a ride out to the countryside where the people were very poor. We took a boat out at the lake Tonlé Sap which is the largest lake in Indochine (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam).
This was called the floating village. The people were living on house boats around the lake.
According to the dry/wet period they moved their house boats along the lake.

In the floating village there was also a floating school. We met a boat full of school children on their way home from school.

House boat
Children in boat

We owe a lot of appreciation to our skillful guide “Lorn” from Diethelm Travel.
He was really great and also took very good care of our children – thanks, we will always remember you !

Next Phnom Penh

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