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Angkor: The best of Southeast Asia

by becca on November 18, 2009

We spent most of this week in Siem Reap, where the Angkor Temples stand. From these temples the great Khmer empire ruled most of Southeast Asia from the 5th century to the 14th century. For centuries, many of these temples were forgotten by all of the world save for the Buddhist monks living in the most famous temple, Angkor Wat. In 1915 a French explorer stumbled across the temples, abandoned and over grown by the jungle, and shared his findings with the world. Some of the temples, such as Ta Prohm, were totally taken over by the jungle and now nature and the remnants of man exist together, creating a surreal setting, fit for the likes of the movie Tomb Raider, which was actually filmed there.

We spent two days exploring the temples, traveling from one to another with our handy tuk-tuk driver, Jon. On the walkways to the entrances were bands of disabled musicians playing traditional Cambodian music, people selling fruit and cold drinks, of course other tourists, and small children hawking crafts and postcards. We brought along handfuls of chocolate coins to give out, thus thwarting their sales pitches. Their reactions ranged from pure joy to “give me one more?” but always ending in a smile.

Both days the temperature must have reached 90 degrees, but the shade of the temples provided a cool retreat and when walking past temple corridors soft wind wistfully greeted us.
At some points the grandeur of the huge structure, the carvings covering every inch of temple, the roots of centuries’ old trees hugging the battered stones, turned us back into children in a make-believe land, as we stared in awe at the beauty man, nature, and time.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

philly cheese steak 11.21.09 at 3:02 am

those temples look amazing…

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