Angkor Thom (3) The Bayon.
This State temple of Jayavarman Vll is one of the most mysterious and powerful religious construction in the world.The temple itself is composed of 2 galleried- enclosures.Dominating the whole arrangement of gallerries and terraces are the face-towers,some over the gopuras,others over the corner angles,and others free standing on the upper terrace but the number of faces are still dispute because many were added later.
1,2,4,5 .At the upper terrace ,you'll get wonderful view of faces-towers,which are shrines.There are many views of these faces,some in profile,some framed by doorway. I like the first picture the most.
3.When passing through the first gopura ,don't forget to notice the dancing apsaras ont the pillars.The pillares are 4.5 m .high and on the outer bas-relief gallery .The south section of the east gallery and the east section of south gallery are the most interesting.
Angkor Thom (2)
To enter the Bayon area,there are 5 gates ,all five gates are similar,but the south gate is the most extensively restored and is the most complete.Regulary use has helped to save the statues of the gods and asuras (demons) that lined its approach.Most of the heads at another gates have been stolen and only the north gate retains a number of complete figures.Two rows of the figures each carry the body of giant serpent ,a seven headed naga(but now damage) The figures on the left are gods while on the right are asuras.The use of naga balustrades lining the approach to temple and useually across a moat was common and it's beleived that the purpose was to link the world of men(outside) and world of gods (inside) You can see the gate itself is 23 m.high,has triple tower carved with 4 faces ,the first look of the Bayon.But the faces were added late than the main construction.
1.The south gate,it's very narrow that a tuk tuk can pass only one at a time even bicycle has to wait.You can see asuras are on the right.The city walls are 8m high.
2.The gods are on the left side of the bridge.
3.,4 The monkeys waiting for food from people along the passage to center of the Bayon.Some body may think that human should not spoil wild animal by feeding them but local here told me that we have to feed them because there are much less trees and food source for them.Of course the people here are very poor so all the fresh fruits and food are all picked and eaten by human so there's nothing left in the wild for monkeys.So everyday there are many kind people come to feed these monkeys.You'll see them almost all day but many start to come at late afternoon cuz it's a little cool down.But you must be careful not to leave your belongings without attention,cuz these monkeys are still naughty ,not as cute and tame as they seem,they may take anything away from you ,..food ,camera,sunglass...they are not that aggresive or dangerous.. but just watch out your things.
5.The Bayon ..south side.
Angkor Thom (1)
Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII's empire, and was the centre of his massive building programme. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride.Jayavaraman Vll's era was during 1181-1220 and was later than Suryavarman ll of Angkor Wat (1113-1150).Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however,Yasodharapura, dating from three centuries earlier(Yasovaraman l 889-915), was centred slightly further northwest, and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas, which was incorporated into the Royal Palace.The name of Angkor Thom "great city" was in use from the 16th century.Angkor Thom remained the capital of a kingdom in decline until it was abandoned some time prior to 1609, when an early western visitor wrote of an uninhabited city, "as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato". It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000–150,000 people.
The plan of city...The city walls surrounded by a moat, enclose a square,approximately 3km.on each side,total area of 9 sqkm.,and most of it now forest.These walls are pierced by 4 gates at the cardinal points and the roads that pass through them converge on the central State Temple of Jayavarman Vll,the Bayon
Pic 1.One of the area that not many tourists visitted so I can have a little peaceful moment without crowd.
2.The north gate.
5.The city plan.
Kompong Phluk , over water village
We visited the Kompong Phluk on Tonle Sap Lake , on 28 Dec 2013 as a part of Siem Reap day tour.Transport back and forth already provided by Happy Angkor Tour ,by a Camry sedan.We paid about $ 15 per person for entry fee and speedboat fare.
A lot of tourists came here by Ramork ( tuk tuk ) ,motorcycles,cars ,minivans and even they use some kind of open truck to transport tourists here.
The road was dusty and bumpy,and some area are muddy, because the road itself was flooded during the rainy season.The Ton Le Sap lake expands maybe 2-3 times larger than it should be, during rainy season.
No access to here by land transport in the rainy season all must be done by boat.
We board a long boat and begin our journey in the Ton Le Sap river.The weather was nice and we enjoyed the trip very much.Its like in a strange new world because we rarely see this kind of panorama, plantations partially submerged in the water.
Along the river ,we saw many houseboats , high raised houses , schools ,clinics, and government offices, the villagers kept their live stocks of chickens , pigs ,and ducks on some kind of floating pontoon on the river surface.
A hydroponics garden also floats among the houses.We saw daily activities of the Ton Le Sap river people as they catch fishes in nets.Some small kid floats with a tin bucket, and some resting on hammocks.
As we landed on Kompong Phluk ,more daily activities can be seen, they dried small shrimps , fishes and mussels.people selling daily necessities and etc.
There's a primary school here , and a temple with stupas around it.
Humble and friendly peoples ,a lot of children playing around us , but no one asks for money or disturbed us.
Later we continue to the Ton Le Sap Lake , rested for a while, some floating sampan boats approached ,offering us to buy fruits and drinks , an original floating shop.
After a short break , we proceed to the Flooded Forest where we can ride Sampan boats , for as low as $ 5 per boat.We do recommend this to be done , because its so beautiful in the Flooded Forest .
Wear comfy shoes ,bring your hats and sunglasses,when you visit this place , and wear masks if you dust or unpleasant smells irritated you.There's a toilet on usually every floating restaurants.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Cambodia Land Mine Museum and School
The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Facility (CLMMRF) is more than a museum. It serves also a home that provides education and support for dozens of at-risk youth and landmine affected children rescued by the CLMMRF NGO. Many children who are part of this family suffered overwhelming hardships. The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Facility was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds.Visited this museum on December 2013.Located 7 km south of the Banteay Srey Temple complex , 25 km north of Siem Reap ,inside the Angkor National Park .
Accessible by Private car , tour buses ,Ranmork (Tuk tuk), bicycle and motorcycle.
There's a small fee to enter the museum , $ 3 for foreigners, Cambodians are free to enter. Opened from 7.30 am until 5.30 pm.
Guided tours:Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 0900 – 1500 (English and Japanese)
A humble museum , built by Aki Ra (this nickname was given by the Japanese) , a former Khmer Rouge soldier, who used to clean landmines scattered all over Cambodia , with help from his wife ,who sadly deceased by illness.
The story and history about Cambodia, the Museum and the Khmer Rouge was told by Bill a US citizen, a volunteer ,whose already relocated to Cambodia.
The Museum consists of 4 galleries , and a home for 27 children, most of them are victims of the landmines.In one of the gallery ,we can watch the method of Aki Ra , defusing some Land Mines.
A sad story of war , evil practice of human kind in the name of war, and the aftermath of war now still continues for the Cambodians
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Walking around at Pub Street
I was lucky to see this performance in Siem reap those days.They are Madacascan drumming band that are touring around in Cambodia for about one week,as part of Bloco Malagasy’s Asian tour. There are 10 girls, aged between 14-18 singing and dancing batucada (afro-Brazilian percussion) The group has been performing all over town,and that moment in Pub street.
Jose Luis Guirao Piñeyro, director of NGO Bel Avenir Madagascar, describes the girls as “ambassadors for women’s rights in Africa.”
The group, made up of girls from underprivileged neighbourhoods in Toliara, Madagascar, was put together by European and Malagasy music teachers at Bel Avenir’s Art and Music Centre.Bel Avenir is part of a group of NGOs called Coconut Water Foundation and they are in France, Spain, and Andorra, and in developing countries like in Brazil, Madagascar and Cambodia.
The full Bloco Malagasy group consists of 75 girls, all from the poorest part of the city in the south of Madagascar.The project leader said that it’s a very bad age there because they have nothing at home. They are very poor so often they try to find an easy solution,going out to meet men to get money so they try to give to them a basic education, training, a job and set them on the road to a good life.Part of the project is taking the girls on international tours, both to perform and to talk to other young people about women’s rights.They played drum and dance very well ,the rhythm is in their blood..The drum sound was so loud,it caught everyone's attention.Me and people around enjoyed the performance so much.I couldn't help dancing along with the rhythm too.I gave a little donation for them and it seem that many people did it as well.They made the Pub street so lively that day..
I heard that they are coming to Bangkok this summer(2014) ,so I hope to see them again.
Wat Preah Prohm Rath Pagoda
"Wat" means "monastery" or "temple" .This temple is located in Center of town and right by the river .It's along Pokambor Avenue ,left side of the river if you are heading north.Here are the history that written on the board in temple.
"One of the oldest monastery in Siem Reap in term of running time, has a history approximately 500 years. The King Ang Chan, who dedicated this monastery to Preah Ang Chang-Han Hoy and to the spirits of Ta Pom Yeay Rat. This temple was also established for propagate the Dhama (the Buddha teaching), and to provide lodging for monks., as many of them who came to Siem Reap who did not has lodging at that time.
It was built in late 15th and early of 16th century, situated on the land of the rich family of Ta Pum Yeay Rath. According to spoken source, we are told that this monastery was a sacred residence of Preah Ang Chang-Han Hoy who was a revered monk living in 13th and 14th century. It was believed that every class of Khmer people came to worship him, especially king Ang Chan who came to pray for the victory as the kingdom was unstable.
When the kingdom became stable, the rich family mentioned above provided its sacred land to king Ang Chan to establish monastery, thus became Ta Pum Yeay Rath Monastery. Then in the 1940s, under the most venerable monk, the former abbot of the monastery, it was renamed as Wat Preah Prom Rath as it is now."
The boat in the first pic has also some history .. it's about the revered monk Ang Chang-han Hoy. It’s said that every day he went by boat across the Tonle Sap lake from Siem Reap to Longwek (near Phnom Penh) to collect alms and then returned each day to Siem Reap to have lunch.One day ,his boat was struck by a shark (but I don't think so,the possibility should be a croccodile)and cut in half. He was carried on in the front half to Siem Reap and the back end ended up at Wat Boribo in the Kampong Chang Province. Apparently the front half was going at such a speed that water could not flow into it. Thanks to Buddha’s guidance neither half sunk. A temple was built at each place, and in Siem Reap, a reclining Buddha was made from timber to honour the saving of the monk.
The temple is quite clean and not many people visitting at that time.Actually I plan to visit this temple later cuz the temple openning time is from 4.00-21.30 but I had to stop riding my bike right in front of this temple by chance cuz have to wait for my mate going back to change another bike at the hotel,so that is the chance that I went inside to take a glimpse of the temple.
To visit the temple ,there's some rules ..wear proper ,not too short ,no hat ,take off shoes when inside the building,and please behave politely as when we are in any monastery in thw world.
Angkor Wat (5)
I think Apsara carved here are the most beautiful of all the temple I visitted.Ther are lively with full detail.The carver did their jobs well.They were made by sand stone.I always feel amazed of how they did it with the stone work.The ancient people did such amazing things ,not only here but some other parts of the world too like in Latin American countries and Egypt.All are amazing.Here too..notice the joint between each rocks..both architecture and scultures ..some pieces are so neat like it's made by one piece of rock only.Here you can see from pic 4 ..they used about 5-7 pieces of stones to make her and even the colour of rock is a little different but the size ,scale and dimension of carving are so smooth and neat.And look at her..."She smile .."
You'll see about 2,000 Apsara at Angkor Wat .The best area to see is at the entrance Gopura.They are both ondoor and outdoor.
1.This Apsara is unique..she is the only Apsara that smiling with teeth !
2.Even the frame was also carved with fine details
3.They carved them every where,make the buiding deserved to be the wonder of the world.They are lively ..see the movement of their arms ..so delicate..the decoration of their hair and crown ...so beautiful.
4.Yes...she smiles.. : )
Angkor Wat (2)
The causeway over the moat was built about a century later than the temple.Ahead is the west Gopura, the main entrance.it's another 350m long causeway to the main temple.The balustrades of causeway are in form of Naga serpents,their bodies raised on short square columns.There are 2 so -called "libraries" on the left and right side.Next are 2 ponds that added later about 16th century.The view of temple from their banks is one of the most popular.I took them too as shown in very first pic of Siemreap intro page.Then you'll see galleries extending to your left and right and see thousand of Bas- reliefs which is what I wanted to see so much after the architecture itself.
Enter the second level,you'll see 4 rectangular stone basins perhaps made water -tight with layer of clay,are part of a structure known as the "cruciform cloister"
2.Angkor Wat model.
3.Connecting gallery ,upper level.
4-5 After steep 50 degree (11m.)ascent to the top.From there..you'll see the libraries and galleries of the second enclosure below.(And ..look well to the North-east you'll see Phnom Bakheng summit.) The top level is enclosed by a continuous gallery 60m square,4 towers rising from the corner,and is connected to the central shrine and tower (42m high) by the axial galleries.Many thing to see, so spend good time there even there are too many tourist group around.
Angkor Wat (4)
Statue and craft.
1.After enterring the first Gopura you'll see Vishnu statue on your right.The statue seems too big for this location,so may originally have been worshipped in Angkor Wat's central sanctuary.The area is also too small for such amount of tourists that came all at once.
2.Angkor Wat was built by different materials ...brick,sandstone and laterite.Wood was used for palaces ,houses and monk's dwellings.Although wooden structures have almost disappeared,we still see some good idea of Khmer tecniques by making stone doorways and false doors and baluters carved in imitation of wood, especially the joints of the door and windows were not made by stone mason but by wood carver !
3,4.On the south side of "cruciform cloister" are the remains of few Buddha statues,seated and standing.There were many more,placed in recent centuries by worshippers for whom Angkor Wat was a Theravada Buddhist pilgrimgage site,giving this area the name "Hall of the thousand Buddhas" Most were removed for safety in the early 1970s,others were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge during their reign of terror.
5.The main central shrine on top originally was open on all 4 sides and contained a statue of Vishnu (possibly the one on the first pic) After the temple converted to Theravada Buddhist,these doorways were blocked by walls and carved with standing Buddha and 4 vestibules turned into Buddhist shrines as they are now.The south doorway was opened in 1908 inside ,the space under central tower is dark and dangerous as the earth floor has been excavated into 25m.deep pit.The sacred treasure buried here was pillaged long ago,and all that was found by the French in their excavation was a couple of gold leaves.
Angkor Wat (3)
There are 3 important gods in Hindu believe..1 Shiva 2.Brahma 3.Vishnu (some time mentioned as Krishna) The craft area is immense,approaching 600m in length and 2m high.The subject matter is from Hindu sources,mainly the Ramayana and Mahabarata epic.In the Pre-Angkorean period (before the 9th century) the Mahabharata had a great influence on Khmer society, and the names of the heroes from this epic were adopted by the elite.The southwestern gallery of Angkor Wat is a 50-meter long stone wall depicting scenes from the Battle of Kurukshetra, where an important clash between the Kauravas and the Pandavas takes place near the end of the epic.
When we consider the popularity of the story of the Mahabharata in Khmer art, of which there is little, we might surmise that in Khmer art it was popular to show only the stories from the Mahabharata that are concerned with the gods. Even though the bas-reliefs of the Mahabharata at Angkor Wat don't emphasize the story of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, they emphasize Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu ,so the artwork does not feature the Mahabharata is because the story does not directly praise Krishna, unlike the Ramayana that praises Rama, another avatar of Vishnu.There are some exception topic of the artwork such as the Historic procession of Suryavarman ll ,and the heavens and Hells craved on west and east parts of the south galleries, which all are interesting if you know a bit about the story,if not ..some may just walk past them even without looking.So my suggestion is study a bit before visitting,or hire a local guide that hanging around there.I took a lot of pictures but can show only these.
1.The Kaurava army advance into the battle of Kurukshetra.These carving are nice and clear.
2.The 50 m long balcony.
3.66 m long wall on the east section of southern gallery represent 37 heavens and 32 hells.THe Hells on the lower part are pictured in greater detail than The Heavens above.Each Hell is identified by an accompanying inscription that we read " Avici"
4.Some other parts of Bas-reliefs.
Angkor Wat ( 1)
Angkor Wat was built in Suryavarman ll (1113-1150) as the capital and state temple of Vishnu.The outer limit of Angkor Wat are set by its broad moat ,faced in laterite and sandstone.It's 1.5km E-W and 1.3 km N-S the largest temple at Angkor.But the temple itself measuring 332x258 metre.Temple combine 2 major feathers of Khmer architecture: a pyramid and concentric galleries.Pyramid mean "stepped terraces" is Khmer method of symbolising the center of Hindu universe,Mount Meru,in the form of a temple mountain.Galleries ..are annex buildings surounding the sanctuary.Angkor Wat is pyramid of 3 levels,each one enclosed by gallery with 4 gopura(entrance) and corner towers.The scale of Angkor Wat enabled Khmer to give full expression to religious symbolism..Hindu universe.The moat represents the mythical oceans surrounding the earth and the concentric galleries represent mountain ranges that surround Mount Meru,the home of the gods.The towers represent mountain's peaks,and the experience of the ascent to the central shrine is may be an immitation of climbing a real mountain.
Here are some pictures to share..
1.An outdoor view of the temple.
2.Angkor Wat plan.
3.closer look to the tower.
4.The upper level and tower from the courtyard of the second level.
5.The wooden stairways for tourists to climb up to upper level to the central shrine ,that we can walk around and see better view of surrounding from up there.It's quite steep so walk carefully.They have some rules for this climb..no umbrella,no hat ,no stick,no short,no dog,no weapon,no eating,no smoke,no filming,no spitting ,no litter,no loud talking,no pregnant ,no kids and visitting not more than 15 minutes.
Tonle Sap and floating village
Although I wasn't impressed much visitting "Chong Khneas" floating village but I want to share some story about Tonle sap.Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water lake that originate from Makhong river and largest in south east asia .Tonlé Sap Lake is linked to the sea via the Tonlé Sap River, which converges with the massive Mekong River in Phnom Penh.The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.The lake size is about 2,700 sqkm in dry season with1 meter level deep ,but when water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake from May to October, it increases its area to about 16,000 sqkm, with a depth of 9 meter.When wet season, the surrounding areas become a prime breeding ground for fish. During this time, fishermen are scarce. Fishing during this time is actually illegal, as to prevent disruption of mating. At the end of the rainy season, when the water levels go down, fishing is allowed again. Fisherman install floating houses along one half of the river, and the other half is left open for navigation.
Most of fishermen are of Vietnamese origin, and they mostly supply the country’s markets.Viietnamese have lived in Cambodia and have this activity for a long time.Started before the Pol Pot era, when the Khmer Rouge took over from 1975 to 1979. They had to flee to Vietnam,but came back and have been fishing on the Tonlé Sap ever since. The orphanage that living in school are those fishermen's kids that parents went out for fishing in deep water area but had accident and drown into the lake ,so the school had to take care of those kids.Some women became a beggar.You may see some of them paddle along to beg something from you.I didn't see them this time ,may be some other area,mostly they are with a kid,some may say it's a scam again, but I'm not sure about this.
In dry season the floating village will move a bit farer from the bank cuz water level is too shallow for the boat.
There are actually 3 floating villages..Chong kneas ,Kompong phluk and Kompong Khleang.Most tuk tuk will probably like to bring tourist to the first 2 cuz it's not far but the best one is Kompong Khleang cuz it's still pure and the boat service is run by the locals so money will go to them but the other two run by private company that you have to pay 20-30 $for service and money won't go much to the villager.
Angkor Wat entrance ticket(Angkor pass)
There are 3 kinds of Angkor passes
1 day pass =20$
3 days pass =40 $ visit per one week validity .Any 3 days in a week and punch a hole on the ticket each day we visit.Maximum 3 holes.
7 days pass = 60$ valid for 1 month.Can visit 7 days within 1 month.
The pass is the entrance ticket to all the Angkor temples and monuments in the Siemreap area but can not be used for visitting Beng Mealea and Phnom Kulen mountain.
Visitors can buy the Angkor Pass at the main ticket sales booths on the road from Siemreap to Angkor Vat, at the checkpoint on the road from the airport to Angkor Vat and at the checkpoint at Banteay Srei. No other organizations (guest houses etc.) are authorized to sell Angkor Passes.All passes need photo require.Photographs have to be taken on location and tickets are not valid after the expiry date.
The fee must be paid in US dollars, Cambodian Riel, Thai Baht or Euro. Credit cards are not accepted for payment, but there is a bank counter at the ticket sales booths, where visitors can get a cash advance on their credit card
Entry is free for children under 12 years old. Children 12 and above must pay full price.
Entry is free for all Cambodian nationals.There are no discounts for groups.The Angkor Pass is not refundable for any reasons.Keep ticket well in dry place cuz the ink on the pass is easy to dissolve if you are soaking sweat during the day.
Chong Kneas floating village
I've read some traveller's comment about this place from other website and so many people complaint about it.They said that it's a "rip off" so I have some idea what I'll face and expect that I won't be ripped off anything.And finally I felt that I was ripped off too.It's hard to avoid now,I think it become tradition already there ,that they will charged you such a very expensive price for just a "so and so" experience.When we arrived at the ticket booth and ask the price, they saw that we are only 2 customer and ask for 25$ each.We felt it too much and start to hesitate if we should go on or not.In the mean time staffs talked to each other in very angry face about us and the manner was so rude.I tried it anyway just want to see if it's worth paying or not,just to have some experience to tell other people,and I can say "It's not worth paying" The payment was include a guide.I tried to enjoy the trip but NO ..because there are many floating village in some other place in the world including my country and this place is just "nothing" But if you go ..be careful about the shop that they try to sell some kind of food,rice and drink for children in the area.People said it's a scam ,I don't know that it's really scam or not but I notice their reaction..the shop staff,boatman and the guide ..and I can feel that it's a scam.The guide promise that he will bring us to visit the school that these orphant are living but when we didn't buy anything from that shop ,he simply skip the school and head back to the port.I heard that what they do is..bring the things we buy back to the shop and re sell it again and the kids didn't get anything that we intend to give.Anyway that day I saw a couple bought a big sack of rice.They are kind ..yes...but I hope the rice will really go to the kids.
1.The port ,those are the boat ..by the way I tried to think that I paid in a price of "private" boat cuz there are only 2 of us.But if you are in group and still have to pay 25$ each,that's too much,so if you want to go ..try to negotiate and please tell me the result.
2.THe shop they sell food and rice for kids.
3.The floating church.
4.The floating market..there are restaurant and shop and a small crockodile farm in the area but not many of them in the water,most of them became a souvenir hanging in the shop already.
5.Above the shop ,there's upper deck to see a little better view around the lake.The shop at main deck sell product that similar to downtown market.I treid to bargain something but very hard to get.I found that people here were not friendly at all,not like some other places in Siemreap.That's why I can say I was disappointed visitting there.
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