Cambodia – one of the countries that I have written in my bucketlist. I don’t know why? Maybe because of their culture, food, or history… The land travel from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap took us for almost 12 hours. That was the longest 12 hours of my life so far.
The next day, we had a 5:30AM wake up call to visit the temples of Angkor. We were expecting to snap a perfect sunrise photo, but the weather did not cooperate (it was a bit cloudy that day). The entrance for a one-day pass will cost 20USD. The most convenient way to roam around the complex was to rent a tuktuk that will cost 10USD-15USD.
Angkor Wat is known to be the largest religious monument in the world. It was a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag. I was in awe by the magnificent architecture of the temple, as if it brought me back hundreds of years before. I kept on asking myself “How did the people from those times built such an extremely beautiful temple like this without any modern reinforcement that we have nowadays?“. Until I’ve read that the temple was made by the combination of elephants, pulleys and bamboo scaffolding (now that’s more impressive).
Angkor Wat became a major tourist destination. It was also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
All of its columns and surfaces and even the roofs are carved. The labor force to carve and install the sandstones must have run into the thousands including many highly skilled artisans. I couldn’t imagine that there were already good artisans those days, because the carvings were really exceptional and very detailed. Their skills must have been developed hundreds of years earlier.
Bayon Temple‘s most distinctive feature was the massive stone faces. This temple was my personal favorite because of the famous face towers at the upper terrace. The architecture of the temple exudes grandness in every aspect. I also noticed the absence of an enclosing wall in this temple – this allowed enough sunlight for capturing perfect photos.
Ta Prohm was used as a location in the film Tomb Raider. The trees growing out of the ruins added more drama to the ambiance of this temple. The surrounding of the temple was a vast area for vegetation. Apparently, the temple was abandoned and neglected for centuries, until they decided to restore and conserve the said temple just recently.
Including the temples of Angkor in our itinerary was a good decision. The 12 hour bus ride, the sweat and all the energy exerted was all worth it. I may not have all the guts and time to stay and visit the remaining temples of Angkor, but I think I already had a taste of their rich history just by seeing the major temples.
These were just part of my world history subject during my high school days, but now, it is a part of my own journey as a young and aspiring traveler.