Angkor Wat: From Prosperous Kings to Lara Croft
Cambodia, Southeast Asia

Angkor Wat: From Prosperous Kings to Lara Croft

In my previous post, I gave you guys a little bit of information about visiting the old capital of the Khmer Empire, aka Angkor, and began to told you my hot and tiresome yet wonderful experience. I would have told you all about it in one post, but we both know you wouldn’t have read past the third paragraph and would have just gone straight to check how long the post was, be shocked and gone back to your bff Netflix to resume your marathon. And I wouldn’t have blamed you for that, so I spared you the effort.

So where were we?

Oh yes…the revolt of the vindictive apes against the human species that have been ruling their planet for way too long.

Or the simple encounter we had with a few little monkeys that stole some water and food, near the exit of Bayon temple. You should have been there. It was scarier then.

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About a 5-minute walk north of Bayon, there’s Baphuon, another impressive piece of architecture. Built in a single sanctuary temple-mountain formation, the structure is one of the oldest in the complex, dating all the way back to the 11th century. As a consequence, it’s not surprising to see its deteriorating condition, which makes it hard at times to explore the place and imagine what it was like during its best times.

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There are ridiculously steep stairs on the sides that take you almost to the top, where you can have a view of the surrounding forest and the base of the temple itself. If you go down towards the back of the temple, you will see a stack of bricks placed in the shape of a reclining Buddha. Unless you are like me and it takes you a while to figure out even which cluster of bricks to look at, waiting for your creativity to lead your eyes to form the shape of Buddha. Either way, the temple is worth a visit.

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Right across from it, there’s the east end of the Elephant Terrace. This 300m long platform, decorated by lion and elephant statues as well as many bas-reliefs scenes, was the place where the king used to sit to watch games and celebrations as they paraded right in front of it. In fact, there’s nothing but an empty field on the opposite side.

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The only thing of interest to me at that point was the little eucalyptus forest nearby that provided shadow and food — the restaurant most tourists stop at for lunch is right nearby the terrace.

The food is great, though a little pricey as you would expect, but by that point you don’t really care. All you want is to get some fuel and rest your legs, before going for round two of ‘expedition Angkor’, lead by your tuk tuk driver.

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Ta Prohm was next. This temple is probably one of the most famous ones in the whole complex as it was the setting of one of Lara Croft’s fights in the movie Tomb Raider. Haven’t seen any statistics, but I bet the number of visitors to the park began to increase after the release of the movie.

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Rediscovered about a century ago by the French, it was decided not to conduct a complete restoration of Ta Prohm as it had been swallowed by so many ficus and silk trees that removing them would have caused more damage than good. It was a smart move. Those giant root trees are now characteristic of the temple, making it more authentic than others. That’s one of the temples I’d love to go back to and spend more time to explore it and photograph it. Ta Prohm is truly mesmerising.

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And the last, but surely not least, temple on the list was Angkor Wat. But as you might have guessed it by the phrasing of the beginning of this sentence, that’s a story for another post — the third and last instalment on my visit to Angkor. Until the next one, guys!

CB

 

A photography fanatic without a permanent address that loves to travel and hopes to visit every country in the world. After realising travel comes with new experiences and great discoveries, I decided to turn to blogging and I've been sharing my stories ever since.

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