A Check off the Bucket List: Angkor in Photos

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We’re at a loss for words at how awesome visiting Angkor Wat was. It was one of those moments in life that felt so surreal, a Bucket List moment. So we’re just going to let the photos do the talking. Plus, Bry made me take so many photos; so if I had to endure taking them, the least you guys could do is look at them.

Angkor Wat is actually only one section/temple in the Angkor area. The area is roughly 400 square kilometers and is actually made up of about 1000 temples and structures. The whole area was built at different times between the 8th and the 12th centuries and under different rulers. The population of Angkor once reached up to a million people, to put that into perspective, at the same time London had a population of a mere 5000.DSCN3087

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Angkor Wat

“The City that is a Temple”

Built: Early 12th Century
Purpose: Khmer Capital/Temple/State Temple
Religion: Hindu/Buddhist

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The first day we arrived into Siem Reap we arranged a tuk tuk driver to pick us up early the following morning so we could get to Angkor Wat for sunrise.

At 4:30 in the morning and with a chill in the air we watched the sun come up from the back of a tuk tuk. Unfortunately, even after all my research on tips for doing the Angkor area, no one mentioned we probably should have bought our tickets the day before (Stay tuned for a follow-up post on tips for successfully doing Angkor). That and the tuk tuk we got was possibly the slowest thing in Siem Reap. Seriously! You know those little old ladies you see hobbling down the street? The ones that take about two steps a minute and you know it’s going to take her like, 3 days to get to wherever she’s going? Yeah that was us and our tuk tuk.

I’m not sure what was worse, watching all the other tuk tuks whiz past us, knowing they were going to get there 10 years before we did, or knowing I was going to make us do it all over again the next morning, but earlier. After all, to me it’s not a sunrise unless you watch that first sliver of sunlight peak over the horizon.

 

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{ What it actually looks like behind the camera at Angkor Wat at sunrise. }

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{ The photo on the right is highly zoomed in, he had no idea I was taking the photo. }

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Angkor Thom: South Gate

Built: 12th Century
Purpose: Point of entry/gate into the city of Angkor Thom

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{ Look pretty he said }

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Angkor Thom: Bapuon

Built: 11th Century
Purpose: State Temple
Religion: Originally Hindu but converted to Buddhist in the 16th Century

Dress code to this temple applies. Shoulders should be covered and long pants/skirts should be worn. Men should have shoulders covered and long pants but can get by with shorts.

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This was one of the few temples we couldn’t get into on Day One because of what we were wearing.

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{ A good example of what not to wear. }

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Angkor Thom: Phimeanakas

Built: Late 10th – Early 11th Century
Purpose: (Private) Temple

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Pre Rup

Built: 10th Century
Purpose: State Temple
Religion: Hindu

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The Bayon

“Temple of Smiling Buddhas”

Built: 12th – Late 13th Centuries
Purpose: State Temple
Religion: Hindu/Buddhist (each at different points in its history)

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Te Prohm

Built: Late 12th – 13th Centuries
Purpose: Temple/Monastery
Religion: Buddhist

Known as the Tomb Raider Temple because of its appearance in the film, Te Prohm is one of the few temples they let be and haven’t restored. It’s slowly being taken back by the forest, with vines/roots weaving their way through cracks and entire trees growing on the roofs of the buildings. This is what most of the temples and palaces would have looked like when rediscovered in the 19th Century. Most have since then been restored.

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Preah Khan

Built: 12th Century (on 56 hectares of land)
Purpose: Temple/ Buddhist University/City
Religion: Buddhist/Hindu

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{ When he starts getting antsy because I’m taking too many photos. }

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{ Figures that seem to have been chiseled away or altered. }

While wandering Preah Khan we were told by a guard that the temple was originally Hindu and was converted to Buddhist later in its history. We’re not sure how true the information was as he started asking for money when we tried to walk away but there does appear to be evidence of alterations like the ones above.

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Stone work from various temple in the Angkor Area

The bad thing about taking so many photos, is you forget where certain ones were taken. Looking back, there are definitely things we could have done to categorize/organize our photos better but we didn’t think of it until it was too late. I suggest taking a photo of the map of each place you visit before taking photos of the site. That way when you look back you will know which photos belong to which sites.

Anyway, these are all the carvings and such from all the sites we visited. Unfortunately we’re not sure which ones belong to which buildings.

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Temples We Went To But Can’t Remember The Name Of.

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Exploring Angkor Wat (1)

 

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