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Angkor

Written on: Wednesday March 23rd, 2005

A journal entry from: South East Asia 2005

Wow. What a fantastic place. Angkor is something I would want everyone to see in their lifetime. The area is incredible. Filled with myth, legend, and history, Angkor Wat is a true testament of time and humanity. Ankor itself is a huge area filled with jungle and rivers and dotted with the most amazing temples. The duality of man and nature in Angkor along with the culture of the area makes it a must see stop.

To visit Angkor you have to buy a pass, either 1, 3, or 7 day pass. We voted to do the 3 day pass (although we ended up only really needing 2 days). There are so many temples and they're all spread over a pretty large area. Plus you have to go see certain temples at certain parts of the day, ie. Angkor Wat (the biggest) at sunrise: the sun rises right behind it, and this temple on top of the only mountain in the area for sunset: the entire horizon is flat and you can see all of Siem Reap and Angkor... simple amazing.

So we got our passes and headed out with our drivers (like I mentioned in my previous post, foreigners can't drive here) . Our drivers were really cool guys, about our age and made the entire experience awesome. They took us on a tour of the sites, dropping us off at the ones "worth seeing, and we'd buy them beers and meals.

The first day we visited a lot of the sites. First was Angkor Thom or Bayon, one of the largest, and most impressive. The walls have the faces of King Bayon in them everywhere and the inside is dark and mysterious, bats flutter amoung the spires and chanting echoes throughout the complex. We visited Ta Prohm which was the temple Tomb Raider was filmed at. It was my favourite, the entire place looks like its being taken over by trees, a lot of it has crumbled but it has struck an amazing state with the ever enclosing jungle and I took some amazing pictures if I do say so myself.

We visited Phrea Khan, a mossy temple deep in the jungle, but the carvings in the walls are still vivid and incredible. We went to a temple far out on the rice plains, I don't remember what it was called, but it was the only temple constructed entirely by women, and the joke is that it has stood the test of time much better then any of the other temples. It is small, but the carvings and detail are mind-boggling.

As I mentioned before, my favourite experiences where the sunrise and sunset ones. These are obviously packed full of tourists, but there is good reason. Exceptional sights and feelings of these places is overwhelming. We dragged ourselves out of bed early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Snapped some pics, and a full day of sightseeing again, and made our way back to the mountain for sunset. A tiring, but great day.

We had kind of seen everything there was to see in our two days, so we when with our drivers, who by this time had become great friends and excellent drinking buddies, on some adventures.