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Trip Report Siem Reap - Angkor Small Tour Travel Report

The Khmer Empire was once a power Hindu-Buddhist Empire in the Southeast Asia between the 9th and 15th century. Hundreds of years later the ruins were discovered by the French and revealed once again this archeological wonder to the world. I have heard a lot of great things about the site until recently I visited there, and it was such a fulfilling spiritual experience that I learned about history, culture, and religion.

I started my visit with a Grand tour which I appreciated the poetic scene and serenity walking through the ruins. The next morning we hopped into the car and our private guide took us to the Small tour to see the national wonders of Angkor. Check out knycx.journeying blog about the Small Tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia: More temples, more history & more myths!: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-Ze

*Angkor Thom*

Stretching an area of 1.3 by 1.5 kilometers, surrounded by a moat, the Angkor Thom is a rectangular city that rivals any other architectural wonders in the world. In Khmer language, Angkor means “city” and Thom means “large” and therefore Angkor Thom is a “Large city”, which was the last capital city of the Khmer Empire. It was the royal center of the city with schools, hospitals, and a sophisticated water system. Our Small Tour began at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, the main entrance of the archeological site. At the front of the gate is a causeway spans the moat with a row of devas on the left and asuras on the right, each row holding a naga in the attitude of a tug-of-war (Sadly many of the heads of the devas and the asuras were either stolen or destroyed). It appears to be a reference to the popular myth in Angkor “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk”.

*Bayon*

Bayon is probably the most popular and most-seen temple in Angkor – because the temple is richly decorated and filled with serene giant stone faces that always refer to as the “Khmer Smile”.

The giant faces are supposed to be the face of the supreme Buddha, with no accidents the faces also look like the great Khmer King Jayavarman VII. He was a Buddhist king, but he embraced Buddhism and Hinduism. The Angkor Thom ran under a dramatic change of religion under his rule, but he respected both religions which could be reflected by looking at some of the designs within the temples.

This masterpiece is located in the center of Angkor Thom as a focal point. So the temple has a great number of visitors, and so much more crowded than other temples (even though it was in the early morning – must be the tourist from the sun rise tour). To me, it kind of ruined the mood a little bit, compared to the other temples.

*Ta Prohm*

Ta Prohm, the tree temple, also called “the temple in the Tomb Raider Movie”. I didn’t actually see the Angelina Jolie’s action movie (or I have seen it, but then I forgot). Yet it was popular as the temple was embraced by strangulating roots of giant trees that form a unique and atmospheric scene.

*Angkor Wat*

Took 35 years to build, the Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple (dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu) and gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple at the end of the 12th century. Because of its magnificence, Angkor Wat survived the demise of Hindu culture and become a pilgrimage spot for Buddhists throughout the world.
The Angkor Wat has five magnificent towers (which could be seen on the Cambodia’s flag) and the central tower was symbolized as a mountain where the gods live. Visitors could queue up and climb the stairs to the top of the tower and enjoy a nice view of greenery surrounding the temple.
Unlike most Khmer temples, Angkor Wat faces west – which scholars suggested that the King intended it to serve as his funerary temple; and it has an unusual solace effect during sunrise. There are 1,200 square meters of carved bas-beliefs in Angkor Wat, depicting eight Hindu myths. One of the most important depictions would probably be “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk”.

*Travel tips for Siem Reap* - Getting Around Siem Reap... Tours... Dress Code... Money and Reminders... for the photos, tips and details.Check out knycx.journeying blog.
The Angkor Small Tour – Walking with the Monks: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-Ze

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