Wednesday, September 3, 2008

There is beauty all around...

Cambodia is a lovely country. I have especially come to love and appreciate the people of this beautiful land. I have found them to be kind and gentle and quick to meet your smile! However, it is not a country without a past. From it's ancient glorious pinnacles of amazing architecture and domination, to being controlled and almost destroyed by one of their own in the modern era--Cambodia has experienced it all. So come with me in discovering one of the most incredible places in Asia...just be careful not to bump your head!
One of the most famous sites in all of Cambodia is found at Seim Reap. This is the modern city where the famous ancient city of Angkor was located. Angkor was a huge complex that housed over 400 temples, a large palace and many other buildings. This city was begun in the 9th century and flourished until the 13th century. It's saw its decline by the 15th century--when the jungle took over and kept it hidden from the world. It was re-discovered in the 1800's by a Frenchman and has become one of the most sought after places to visit. Angkor Wat (wat means temple) is the most famous of all the monuments in Angkor--it was built in the mid 12th century and is surrounded by a large moat.

Note the aerial view of the complex. Pretty impressive don't you think? Because dad and I have been to Angkor twice, I shall be including pictures from both trips. (This will keep you on your toes to see if you can tell which trip was when!) However, I shall give you a wee hint--the first excursion was done in pouring rain, while the second one sported blue skies and plenty of sunshine!

It's raining...(dare I say it Kara?) Cats and dogs! (I have to get in a cliche now and then!)

And here we are without the rain gear! Wow--what a difference a day makes!

As you walk over the moat to enter the complex, you are watched over by a seven-headed serpent or “naga” that forms a stone balustrade on either side of the walkway. They are magnificent and unforgettable!

This temple was originally built for the worship of Hindu deities. The complex must have been a huge undertaking to build. The stone buildings are massive and when you realise that all this was done with out machinery of any kind, the rest of the day is spent in awe as you witness the size and complexity of the buildings.
Can you feel the majesty of this temple complex? Absolutely incredible! Also, when you get close enough to examine the walls, you realize that the almost every wall inside and outside has been carved with the most beautiful and intricate bas reliefs. At the center of the temple complex, there is an edifice that has incredibly narrow, steep steps. To reach the top, you literally have to climb bent over, using your hands to help you. This was done deliberately, so anyone climbing up to worship would be forced to do so in a humble-like position. Even the king had to climb it in this manner! I opted NOT to climb the steps because of the rain--too dangerous. However, we had two companions that thought it would be a fun thing to do!

Here they are on their way up--they are only standing because of the photo shoot!

Looking down from the top!

Not exactly the best of steps!

I was all set to climb the steps this trip...but darn if they had not closed them off. Apparently, someone fell while climbing and spoiled all the fun for the rest of us!

Here are two views from the top...

After leaving Angkor Wat and on our way to visit another temple, I was amazed to see a car wash facility on these ancient grounds...who knew? This is all for this posting...I hope you loved Angkor Wat as much as I did! But wait...there's more...two more temples to share and then some thoughts about modern day Cambodia...Are you up for that?

PS: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON OUR WAY TO DISCOVER ANGKOR WAT...There was this handsome young man with a film crew standing a few feet away from us. He was obviously getting ready to film about the history of Angkor Wat. As we were watching him prepare, dad said to me, "Isn't that Erin's friend from Punahou? The one that is on Globetrekkers?" I looked closer and sure was him...none other than Zay Harding! I was going to let it go and not bother him, but I thought better of that idea-- Who could let this opportunity pass? SO using Erin's name, Punahou and reminding him that he was her classmate, I introduced myself to him. He, of course, was so nice...stopped his filming to chat for a while and inquire after Erin! He told us he was no longer with Globetrekker, but was now working for The History Channel. What a small world!


  1. to be honest, i'd be glad the stairs were closed off! i sure like to pretend i'm adventurous like that, and i know i'd talk about doing it, but when it actually came down to it, i'd just be plum scared! :)

  2. That place looks amazing. And I can't believe you ran into Zay. SO funny and random. I love my adventurous, traveling mom and dad!

  3. This place is AMAZING. I want to go so bad! And yes, Mom, it wouldn't be a true post without one of your cliches.

  4. Wow! Grandma would have loved those stairs!? Fun to read about your adventures...but who was the guy in the short-sleeved, untucked sport shirt standing next to you? Does Don know about this?

  5. I wonder how long it would have taken Ry to climb those steps, closed off or no?!

  6. How much do I love my parents in ponchos? Too cute!

  7. thanks for giving me another stamp in my .com passport (grin)


  8. Ooh! I've always wanted to go there--that one shot looking down from the stairs made me queasy, though. Thanks for the tour and history. I love your travel posts!!