As I did not want to cram to many pictures into my other posts, I needed a separate post for all my pictures I took in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Special thanks to my travel group – Sash, Ryan and Riz – for a great weekend and their picture contributions!
The East side of Angkor Wat at sunrise. It is incredible how fast the sun rises. Within minutes, the long awaited sunrise is already over again.
Throughout the temple sites, I was amazed by the intricate details of the sandstone carvings. Some have survived like this beautiful gate decor at the entrance of main temple. Others have faded but some of the details can still be seen.
A horse eating “breakfast”, totally unimpressed by the crowds awaiting the opening of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat was built according to star constellations with the five main towers also representing the stars.
The light reflections on the sandstone were so beautiful. I could not stop looking at them.
We were in the queue to go up to these towers. I cannot believe that these buildings are almost 900 years old. The towers represent lotus buds which have meanings in the Hindu as well as the Buddhist religion.
Can you imagine walking up these steep stairs? Today, the entrance has a wooden staircase making the climb up easier. I have to admit, going down was still a bit scary as it is still quite steep.
It took us about 20-30 minutes to wait to go up.
All those beautiful views in the morning sun were breathtaking.
See the little “no entry” sign? We got so annoyed by visitors who were ignoring the basic concepts of respect: do not were you are not supposed to walk, were respectful apparel, do not scream at each other, …. *sigh*
All these intricate carvings are still visible, even after hundreds of years.
Let the sunshine in!
The upper courtyard connecting the towers.
We were actually quite lucky, as the temples were not too crowded during our visit.
View towards the West gate (main entrance)
The temples were originally Hindu temples and in the 14th century turned into Buddhist ones (which they are until today).
A lot of statues are missing their heads or hands. Very often, they were stolen to be sold abroad or used as war souvenirs.
Throughout the temples, we spotted coloured parts on the walls and pillars. I have read that some hidden paintings were discovered a few years ago but I am still not sure if the temples were coloured initially.
On the East side, we could hear the bells ring form the nearby Buddhist monastery.
It is time to head to the next temple.
At 7.30 am the crowds have arrived.
In front of the temples, on the West side, there are big lakes and several entrances. However, these entrances were only reserved for the king, his family, nobility and the imperial animals. Servants had to enter from other sides.
Outside of the temples, street stalls with souvenirs and food will wait for you. It can be a bit overwhelming when the kids are running after you and are trying to sell something.
Entrance of Bayon Temple (inside Angkor Thom, the “Tomb Raider” temple)
Bayon Temple is famous for its many smiling faces.
Similar to Angkor Wat, there are hundreds of intricate carvings. This one shows the support of the Khmer by the Chinese.
Bayon Temple is a bit “younger” than Angkor Wat and was built in the late 12th or early 13th century as a Buddhist temple.
It was later on turned into a Hindu temple and subsequently into a Theravada Buddhist temple.
The many doors of Bayon
Look who we met here!
Can you spot the three faces here?
On our accidental tour to Phnom Kulen National Park, we got to see the daily life in Siem Reap. Street shops on the way to the park.
The drive up to the mountain was very bumpy and the road extremely dusty – a sign that the monsoon season has ended.
That was the initial reason why we went to the national park: the waterfall. We decided that the view from above was enough 🙂
We found the Hindu sandstone carvings in the river dating back to 800 AD much more interesting than the waterfall.
Lotus flowers are folded and put together into beautiful bouquets as offerings for the temple.
At the top of the mountain there is a Buddhist temple with Buddha’s footprint and beautiful decoration.
Kids playing near the river.
Others enjoy their afternoon nap.
While this boy is playing in front of the house.
Our guide Ry told us that the rice was about to be harvested soon. On our flight back we saw the vast rice fields of Cambodia.