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If you are not in good shape, you might want to consider skipping this activity. We were there last March and it is a long, hot and arduous climb uphill to get there, and we are reasonably fit for our age (mid-50's). We were told to stick to the path as it lies in an area that has not been cleared of landmines.
If you do decide to go, I would suggest you take lots of water (at least 1 litre per person), hiking boots and a walking stick. You will be climbing over rocks.
Crossing the stream - if you can see the lingas in the water, you know you are fairly shallow.
Written Mar 27, 2010
Most tourists don't go any further than Chong Khneas, the floating village, and that is ok. However, a trip to the Kompong Phluk village, 16 km south of Siem Reap, takes you to another world. Life here ebbs and flows with the seasons, and depends entirely upon the waters of the lake. The houses are built on stilts, within the floodplain of the Tonle Sap lake. The people are so used to life on the water that during the dry season, when their houses look awkward on their very high (6 meters) stilts, they go out onto the lake and build temporary houses there. The village is not yet spoiled by mass tourism, but does have a guesthouse, where we had a delicious lunch. People are incredibly poor and their life must be tremendously hard, but their smiles are all genuine.
Written Jan 23, 2009
Located just to the south of the main temple is the Buddhist monastry at Angkor Wat. This monastry will take in local children to train as monks and provide an education. At the east entrance you will see small stupas and shrines jsut before the main building. The outside walls are painted/decorated with buddhist images of heave/hell etc.
You may notice a buddhist shrine with statues and burning incence within the "hall of 1000 buddhas" inside Angkor Wat. Locals (and the occasional tourist) take time to worship and pray at this. There is a donation box located just to the right of the shrine. Procedes from donations go to support the running of the monastry.
Updated Aug 21, 2008
If you have a chance to interact with the locals, take advantage of that opportunity. They are kind, charming and interesting. We happened across a pool game in action and asked if we could join. Definately a good time
Written May 5, 2008
What amazed me while I wandered the temple complexes was that Angkor wat and Bayan were busy, but there are approx. 10 other temples around Angkor Thom to be explored and for 2 or 3 hours my friend and I walked around and climbed and explored these temples all by ourselves! Don't be a lame-O, run through Bayan and leave Angkor Thom, that place has much to offer, wander around until you've seen every corner there are tons of interesting buildings to be seen.
Written May 5, 2008
Unlike Angkor Wat, the female figures at Banteay Srei are not apsaras ( celestial nymphs) but dieties.Most of them are simply dressed in a loose sarong, with garlands of pearls around the waist and bangles around the feet and feet. Some of them also wear heavy earrings on their elongated ear lobes. They are more life-like compared to the female figures found in Angkor as their feet point in a natural direction instead of sideways like an Egyptian figure.
Now, other than Sanskrit Writing, the divas noticed something different about the female form in Banteay Srei. Most of them found here were goddesses rather than dancers. How did they tell the difference? Well, take a look at this picture for instance. The female figure that you see in this picture is a devi (female deity) as she is placed in a shrine and depicted as an auspicious figure of fertility and blessing. Note a lamp suspended over her head and the geese below her feet.
Extra note of interest.
This devi with the alluring smile was nearly stolen by Andre Marlaux, the French novelist . So in love was he with the Mona Lisa of the Jungle that he later went to jail for her. Tsk, tsk, crime doesn't pay but does it? Marlaux got out of jail and went on to be a Minister in France. Sheesh..
Updated Dec 12, 2007
Sadly I don’t know whether to list this here or under ‘Warnings or Dangers’. Walking up to the trailhead at Kbal Spean we noticed a zoo. We wanted to hike up to the lingas before the sun got too hot so we decided to check it out on the way back down. The gates were slightly ajar and there wasn’t another soul in site but we entered anyway. This was a pitiful excuse for a zoo and the few poor souls imprisoned here were horribly neglected. I wish there had been some way to liberate the crane and monkeys, sadly their cages were locked so all we could do it pity the poor unfortunate souls housed here.
Written Oct 3, 2007
The three temples of Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei are located near the village of Roluous, and extend over a rougly 3km area. These date back to the 9th Century, and is the earliest accessible group of Angkor architecture. The style of these temples - architecture characteristics, decoration, material and construction methods - are said to represent the beginning of the classic period of Khmer art. They are brick structures with sandstone deities in niches and lintels.
One of the best reasons for visiting this area is the remarkably good condition of the artwork here.
Roluos is roughly 12 klms from Siem Reap, taking the road to the Central Market out of town. The temples are signposted. There were very few tourists here when we visited - but still plenty of kids to surround your car with postcards and scarves!
Roluous is the site of the Hariharalaya civilisation - where Jayavarman II relocated the capital from Mount Kulen in 802AD. Successors stayed here until the capital was moved to Bakheng in 905AD.
The temples are constructed of square shaped brick towers, with stucco facing. The columns, lintels and sculptures are carved in sandstone. The artwork and decoration of this group are kala (monster head), Vishnu, garuda, female figures, guardians and apsaras. There were some really beautiful, well preserved carvings and sculptures to see here.
Updated Jun 29, 2007
Each of the towers of Angkor Wat reperesents one of the peaks of Mount Neru. They are covered with bas-reliefs, but you can see that weathering is taking its toll, as many of them are badly worn.
Updated Mar 27, 2007
Above the engine powered slow boat, I peer below at the man's belongings. He is en route, like me, but to where I am uncertain.
"Excuse me, sir, please don't move. I'd like to capture this moment because you and your wares make the contrasting turquoise paint come to life." I ask politely in the privacy of my head.
I'm drawn to color. I appreciate the fading but once bright color of the boat's deck to his peach short sleeve shirt. The unripe green bananas next to crumpled white bags and a background of dark rippling waters creates a dimensional effect.
Updated Mar 23, 2007