Cambodia, Day 2.1: Siem Reap (Temple Hopping at Angkor)

Click to read if you missed  Cambodia, Day 1: Siem Reap ( Tonie Sap Lake)

Day 2 in Cambodia was definitely one of the days I was looking forward to which was visiting Angkor Wat among other temples. There's something about architecture in the past that is so amazing and beautiful. Everything was hand crafted unlike nowadays where most works are easily moulded.

Jhon and I started our morning with breakfast at Angkor Era Hotel. All these while, I've stayed at 2-3 stars hotels except for that time we got upgraded to a presidential suite in Malaysia (We got the side room so we didn't get to REALLY sleep on the super lavish bed unlike Abg & family). I never see the perk in staying such a lavish hotel but after our Cambodia trip, yup, my body is spoiled.

Breakfast was pretty okay. Throughout the entire trip, my go-to breakfast meal was scrambled eggs, croissant or toast and maybe baked beans. I love the ambiance though.

We met with Thea and driver at about 8am at the lobby and off we went to Angkor Archaeological Park. At the main entrance of Angkor, we had to visit their main office to buy temple passes. There are 1-day, 2-day and even 3-day passes but we just got the 1-day passes. The place looked crowded but it was a smooth and quick process. Thea had helped with our details, payment and all we needed to do was take a picture for our pass.

Off we went again and went deeper into Angkor. Note that Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia.  It extends over approximately 400 km2 and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes. For several centuries Angkor, was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom. It is not only known for it's historic but also religion, cultural and symbolic values. These temples also have Buddhist and Hinduism history in one location which was interesting to me. Initially, it was 2 separate religions but eventually combined into one.

The atmosphere in the park is so much different from other parts of Cambodia mostly because of it's lavish and tall trees and as soon as I saw the Southern part of the Angkor Gate.
My heart stopped.

No joke, no drama.
I am actually there, witnessing such beautiful handmade and enormous artwork with my own eyes. It was mesmerizing and amazing. To think this is just a gate. All hand crafted and without heavy machinery.

Thea let us walked through the small entrance so truly experience the size of the gate and were picked up again by the driver a few meters past the gate.

Our first temple was Bayon Temple. This temple was the last state temple to be built in Angkor and it is well known for it's smiling stone faces.

The outer gallery has bas-reliefs that shares historical events and everyday life.

The inner gallery shares depictions of mythological events.

In the upper terraces holds about 200 faces of Lokeśvara.

The Baphuon was built to be dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. Unfortunately, like most of the temples, it needs heavy restoration. Many parts of the temples did not survive through time especially the Baphuon because it was mainly built on sand.

Yes, the stairs were crazy steep. Take note that the ORIGINAL stone steps were EVEN STEEPER and they have NO handrails! These people confirm had mad thigh and butt goals.

Before reaching Ta Phron temple, we passed Elephant Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King. This was the only spot when the weather really hit us. It was the only area were there was ZERO shelter and the sun was beating us down! You can tell we struggled because Jhon only got 2 photos while my video footage was non-existent because of poor shots. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful location it's that since the sun was at it's peak, it was so unbearable.

Ta Phron is the most popular among all temples because of the movie Tomb Raider. Besides that, this temple still able to maintain it's condition ever since it was found. At the moment, plenty of maintenance besides restoration is needed due to the large trees. It's ironic, what makes the temple unique and beautiful is also destroying it.

Try to spot the hidden Buddha within this tree root.

After trekking, climbing and visiting 3 temples, we had a break by having lunch at Restaurant Khmer Wooden House. It gives us a taste of how it feels like to dine in a Khmer wooden house. The first level was air-conditioned but we sat on the second level which was an open concept. We didn't mind at all because it's part of the experience.

After 20-30minutes, the wind started to blow vigorously and it started to rain. Then it started to pour! We didn't get affected except for some sprinkles but it was crazy. Too bad, we didn't get to catch it's true essence in photo or video but it was as much as entertaining as well as cooling and welcoming. As mentioned in day 1 post, it barely rains here and when it does, it was for such a short time. Not enough to help the drought.

[This post is getting way to long so I'm dividing it into two]

Continue with our adventure by clicking below!
Cambodia, Day 2.2: Siem Reap (Temple Hopping at Angkor) + Vlog


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