Siem Reap and her fabulous temples – Part 2

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(The walls in Angkor Wat, wall carvings depicting tales of the Mahabarata )

Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples have been blogged about and photographed by so many travellers,  my contribution here is just to encourage those that have not visited the place should do so one day!

Day 2 Small Circuit – Monday 18 May 2015

Small circuit temples consist of :

1) Angkor Thom (Bayon, Phimineakas & Royal Palace, Baphuon, Elephant Terraces and Terrace of the Leper King)
2) Angkor Wat
3) Chor Say Tevada
4) Thommamon
5) Banteay Kdei
6) Ta Keo
7) Ta Prohm
8) Prasat Kravan
9) Sunset @ Bakheng mountain

We started the day with Angkor Wat coming through from the East gate – quieter entrance. The main gate is the West gate where the buses of tourists will use. Our driver told us Angkor Wat can take about 2 hours to explore.

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Above is a Buddha statue inside Angkor Wat where the locals and tourists alike come to pay respects.

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II , it started as a Hindu temple and then became a Buddhist temple. Angkor means city, so Angkor Wat means City Temple!

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TOILETS @ ANGKOR WAT : A tip , with the Angkor Wat pass, go to the South entrance, there is a clean toilet free for usage. Do not end up at the West entrance where the drinks stalls and signs showing toilets. Those are run independently and you have to pay.

IMG_0356Above a photo of tourists waiting to climb the Bakan Tower.

This temple is huge and I do recommend to have a tour guide with you for this one. I am hoping to come back a second time to do the sunrise and also to tour the other wings and go up the Bakan Tower. We chose not to go up this time due to the amount of people and the heat.

We proceeded to Prasat Kravan after Angkor Wat. Another red sandstone Hindu temple with wall carvings completed in the 10th century during the reign of Harshavarman I.   It is also known as the Cardamon Sanctuary. The reliefs in this temple best viewed in the morning.

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Inside, on the walls of the temple , you can admire the art work.

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From Prasat Kravan we moved on to  Banteay Kdei. I like this temple a lot too. It is also known as the Citedels of Monks, and its architecture incorporates Angkor Wat and Bayon. It is Mahayana Buddhist monastic complex built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman II.

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There is a courtyard that is known as the hall of the dancing girls. Here you have a carving of an Apsara dancing girl.

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Upon completing Banteay Kdei, you can rest under the tress and enjoy freshly plucked coconut for usd 1 per piece.

We then continued to Ta Keo, a relatively quiet and smallish temple with pretty nasty steps to climb.

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We spent 20 minutes at Ta Keo and then hit Thommamon next. Thomammon is a twin temple to Chau Say Thevoda. they lie opposite from each other.

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And then you have as small boy playing in the temple grounds, oblivious to his surroundings. He belongs to the lady selling the refreshments at the side of the temple.

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Across the road lay Chau Say Thevoda, which is slightly bigger than Thommamon.

IMG_0448Both Thommanon and Char Say Thevoda were built by King Suryavarman II in 12th century.

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Finally, we moved on to Angkor Thom. To enter Angkor Thom, you go through the Victory Gate and it is impressive as you enter its grounds. Imagine the wonder the travellers felt in 11 th or 12 th century visiting this kingdom. We started with Bayon, my must see – it is famous with the many Buddha faces.

IMG_0458I suspect this temple is best seen in the early hours or late evening. This is to get the best photos of the Buddha faces using natural light and the shadows. Above photo was taken in the afternoon – 2pm.

 

IMG_0376This temple was built by (including Angkor Thom – Great City)  by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century who was a Buddhist. It is a very impressive structure. Across Bayon was Baphuon, a very large pyramid temple ( I believe the largest in the area). Be prepared to climb a lot and the steps are fairly steeped! Below is a photo of the tip of the temple right at the top!

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And the view from the top towards the entrance to Baphuon.

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While walking towards the next temple,  we spotted a horse carriage – just like out of a western movie!

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The neighbouring temple further on was Phimineakas and the Royal Palace.

IMG_0542We continued further to the Elephant Terraces and Terrace of the Leper King.

IMG_0547Our Day 2 ended with a thunder storm – which made us decide to skip the sunset at Bakheng mountain. That storm resulted in a black out in Pub Streeet which we found out later that evening. This reminds me of the advice I read online about choosing  hotels with their own generators, because it is not unusual to get black outs!  Lotus Blanc was spared from the black out.

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