Friday, 5 October 2012

Siem Reap - Angkor Thom & Bayon Temple

This morning we visited the temples of Angkor Thom. It was the rainy season but the good thing about visiting during October is that there are less tourists and less chance of you getting a heat stroke. I can imagine how hot it can get during the peak season.  The showers came in quick burst but wasn't bad enough to rain throughout the day (at least not when we were there).

Angkor Thom
The figurines on the bridge symbolize the fight between the good and the bad (if i still remember what the guide says). I will not elaborate further since i can't remember much of what the guide said but the figurines were pulling a long snake. It is unfortunate that the snake has "crumbled" but you can imagine how majestic it looked like during the hey days on the main bridge across the river.

Figurines on the bridge leading into Angkor Thom

To me, the more interesting temple in Angkor Thom (or Siem Reap for the matter) was the Bayon Temple. You can see many interesting faces being carved out of the stones. Personally i prefer the Bayon Temple over the Angkor Wat ruins.

Bayon Temple from afar

For the kids in you, there are elephant rides that circled the Bayon Temple but no elephant rides for me this time. I had enough of those in Phuket. The rainfall have created nice puddles of water for a nice photo shot. You will probably not get this shot during the dry and hot season.

Intricate carvings on the walls
It was interesting how the temples switched hands between Hinduism and Buddhism during the different periods in history. To me, Bayon was interesting because of the head carvings on the rocks. There are 3 levels and you can find the heads carvings at the highest level. The unfortunate thing was that some locals dressed themselves in historical and cultural costumes and hoped to take photos with you for a fee at the most strategic head carving at the top level. hahaha. So those heads you see below are the less beautiful ones.

Heads being carved from stones

This head is still in relatively good shape
Intricate stone head carvings

Field where the "parade" took place.

Just outside Bayon Temples, there are other ruins. The above was one where the parade used to take place and there are elephants on parade. If you have only 2 temples to visit, this will be one and Angkor being the other since it is such a world UNESCO heritage site. Visit this temple in the morning and Angkor Wat in the afternoon for a good photo shoot as the sun will be shining in your favor. The temple one day pass will cost you US$20.

USD works perfectly fine in Cambodia, thus you wouldn't need the local currencies.

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