After visitting Thommanon Temple,it's a pity that I have to skip visitting Chao Say Tevada which is right opposited to each other.I continue riding further east for about 160 m. and happen to see this thing on the left side of the road .At first I just rode past it but I turned around cuz thinking that it's very interesting but still don't know what was it.Now I found some infomation for you.It's called "Spean Thma" means "Stone bridge".It was built in "post Bayon" style around 15-16th century.It is one of the few Khmer Empire era bridges to have survived to nowadays.It was built on the former path of the Siem Reap River between Angkor Thom and the Eastern Baray and it was probably rebuilt after the Khmer period, as it includes many reused sandstone blocks.The 14 narrow arches are 1.10 m wide.The builders here used exactly the same method for spanning space as in the temples,that is,narrow corbelled arches.This necessitated a bridge that was twice as wide as the river in order to achieve sufficient passage for the water to flow through.Even so this later proved insufficient and ,since it was built,the canalised river has changed course to go round the bridge.
Several other bridges on the same model are visible ,for example... in the Angkor site (Spean Memai) and at several locations of the former empire. On the road from Angkor to Beng Mealea but I missed it..,the Spean Praptos is one of the longest with 25 arches.May be next time when I have chance to go back to Sien Reap again ,I'll find out how it looks like.
I continued riding along Victory way towards east only about 400m from the Victory Gate.There are 2 temples,one on the left side of the road which is Thommanon and another on the right side of the road whicj is Chao Sai Teveda.There are many temples in my list that I wanted to visit but the time was running out before sunset..so I have to choose.I quickly take a glimpse of Thommanon but I didn't walk inside the building.There were almost no visittors at the moment,so I have quite a peaceful moment there.This temple was built in Angkor Wat style in the reign of Suryavarman II,however, there is some disagreement as to the precise date it was built. Some believe that the distinctive carvings of females, known as devatas indicate that they were built during the reign of Jayavarman VI (1080–1113 AD).It was completely restored in 1960s by the French archaeologists by adding concrete ceiling in order to create the correct interior space.It's has typical layout of a single=towered temple of the period.The east facing sanctuary is topped with a tower and connected by a short corridor ,or an "antarala"(Antarala is a small antechamber or foyer between the garbhagriha (shrine) and the mandapa) The three make a central unit,set in an 60x45 m.enclosure.Gopuras on the east and west give access to the enclosure.There's no trace of North and South gopuras but the gaps in the wall show that they were intended.The enclosure was surrounded by a moat but now dry.There's a single "library" in the south -east corner.
The time I visitted this temple ,there was preparation of a party in front of the west gopura as you can see in pic 4.I guess that it'll be a wedding party.
There are many shops selling souvenirs and some snack and drinks near the road side so if you are with bicycle,no need to worry about the food and drink along the ride.There are enough of them.
Angkor Thom or the "Great city" lies on the west bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap, about a quarter of a mile from the river. The city walls, 8 m high and flanked by a moat, are each 3 km long, enclosing an area of 9 km². The walls are of laterite buttressed by earth, with a parapet on the top. There are gates at each of the cardinal points, from which roads lead to the Bayon at the centre of the city. As the Bayon itself has no wall or moat of its own, those of the city are interpreted by archaeologists as representing the mountains and oceans surrounding the Bayon's Mount Meru.Another gate,the Victory Gate,the one in the picture,is 500 m north of the east gate; the Victory Way runs parallel to the east road to the Victory Square and the Royal Palace north of the Bayon.
After visitted the Elephant Terrace I rode bicycle to the east along this road which is right in front of the middle staircase of Elephant terrace.It's good pleasant ride through the forest.It's about 1,500 m. from Elephant terrace to this Victory gate.
The second picture ,..as I mentioned before..that most of the heads of the statues of gods and asuras are missing ,this is the one at Victory Gate.The most restored and most complete one is at the south gate.
Leper King Terrace
This massive terrace,names after the 15th century sculpture that was discovered on top.This terrace stands independent of the other buildings that surrounds the Royal Square of Angkor Thom.It's probably dates to the reign of Jayavarman VIII.It was built in Bayon style, though its modern name derives from the sculpture discovered at the siteThe statue depicts the Hindu god "Yama", the god of death.The statue was called the "Leper King" because discolouration and moss growing on it was reminiscent of a person with leprosy, and also because it fit in with a Cambodian legend of an Angkorian king Yasovarman I who had leprosy.The name that the Cambodians know him by, however, is Dharmaraja as this is what was etched at the bottom of the original statue.The original is in the National Museum in Phnom Penh for saftey as even the cement copy one which replace it was decapitated! But in the picture 3 it's already has been repaired
The side of the terrace projects into the Royal square measure 25 m. but the corners are indentation,making it more like octagonal than square.The three outer faces of terrace..south,east and north are all carved in deep relief with mythological scenes.These are in 6 and 7 registers and feature dieties carrying swords,devatas and other figures,the lowest tier has nagas and marine creatures.The best relief is on the east facing extension wall immediately to the north of the terrace (pic 2)
I didn't have time to visit Phimeanakas thoroughly.I just had a quick look of it's east area.Phimeanakas was built in Khleang style and some parts are in Bakheng and Bayon style,built in the reign of Jayavarman V and Udayadityavarman I and Suuryavarman I onwards,which dated from 11th -end of 16th centyry.This royal palace was continued in use almost uninterruptedly.The area underwent many transformations and restorations.
The area that I visitted was right next to Elephant terrace ,it's the first group of Phimeanakas 's buldings,built by Suryavarman I,was surrounded by a moat of which some trace remain as you can see from pictures.
pic 1. You can see Phimeanakas at far end in the picture.
pic 2 .Standing on the platform ,and from that platform we can see Elephant Terrace next to this place.(pic 3)
pic.4 The first group of buildings ,same one as I was standing on pic 2,3.
After visitting the Bayon,many visittors went back to town but I continued with my bicycle further to Elephant Terrace,it’s only 200 m.further north.The Terrace of the Elephants is part of the walled city of Angkor Thom,looking over the Royal square ,used by king Jayavarma VII as a platform for royal reception pavilions and to view his victorious returning army. It was attached to the palace of Phimeanakas, of which only a few ruins remain. Most of the original structure was made of organic material and has long since disappeared. Most of what remains are the foundation platforms of the complex. The terrace is named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face.
The 350m-long Terrace runs north as far as the terrace of the Leper King.There are 5 projecting stairways symmetrically placed,three in the center and the other two at either end.The staircase is flanked by three-headed elephants with their 3 trunks pulling lotuses from the ground(pic 2,3 )There are only few fine carving lotus left ,they are enclosed by a small fence for the meaning of "don't touch" (pic 3) Beyond this ,the 3m-high wall is carved with one long continuious scene of elephants with their mahouts,in hunting scenes.The main central stairway is sculpted with life size lion- headed and garudas.(pic 4)
Angkor Thom (5) The Bayon.
The bas reliefs…The Bayon has 2 sets of bas reliefs,carved at different times.Those on the walls of the outer enclosure were carved earlier about the beginning of 13th century and the subject was about historical ,from battles with Chams to scenes of daily life .The inner bas reliefs cover the interrupted walls of the inner enclosure and were carved in the second half of 13th century when,under Jayavaraman Vlll ,the Bayon was converted to Hindu worship.Their subjects are from Hindu mythology.
There are 8 sections of bas relief along the gallery of the third enclosure,each of them 35m. long and 3m. high.The bas reliefs from south gallery ,east section are probably the best known of the Bayon bas relief.It’s battle between Khmers and the Chams(The Cham people ]are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They are concentrated between the Kampong Cham Province in Cambodia and central Vietnam's Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Phan Thiet, Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang areas. )
1.The naval battle in the great lake.This picture is the Chams boat.Chams have wear short-sleeves tunics and helmets,carrying spear and pronged shields.
2.The Khmer warriors have close cropped hair and wear the usual loin-cloth and arrangement of ropes around their chests and necks.
3.The battle between Khmers and Chams continues on the lake and on land.There are so many historical carving around the wall that I didn’t show you all.You must see by yourself.Give yourself some time to watch them around, and it’s better to hire a local guide to explain the story.It’s tempting to see the entire outer bas reliefs of the Bayon as an historical sequence.At least the events relating to the Chams appear to begin here and to end round the corner at the north end of the east gallery.
4,5 The inner bas reliefs leave no long panel but are broken up into small sections,covering angles ,corners and the walls ,and even inside some of the small vestibules.The subjects are for the most part of Hindu mythology,events from Indian epics that had long been popular amoung the Khmer.These 2 pictures are the only example of them,there are many more beautiful pieces.
Angkor Thom (4) The Bayon.
Pic 1.This is one of my favorite photo of The Bayon.This face was carved very delicately,the skin is smooth compared to the stone around it.I feel that the face is so lively and can’t help to think that he’s smiling.Look at the eyes ...looks so real .. looking downwards in a very soft and kind way..like they are not stone.I even see the eye lid and eye lashes..!!
2,3,4.The upper terrace at the moment was very hot ,the heat was really tense .One good thing about the heat...the tour group won’t be long ,they just quickly take pictures and go,so if you can stand the heat a little bit, wait until each groups go away,then you’ll have the moment of peace and calm in such a place.It's better to come here very early morning or late afternoon.The shade of sun light will give you more beautiful picture.
You’ll see many face-towers surround the central massif tower.And fine devatas (deity) adorn the walls of central massif which is round in plan but infact ,originally there were 4 projecting porches at the cardinal points but later the angles were filled in with 4 more radiating chapels.There are walls connecting all and complete the circumference.
5.The south inner gallery ,with the central massif beyond.
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
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
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.
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