A Holiday in Cambodia
Siem Reap is the closest town to many of the ancient Khmer temples of Cambodia, including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Our Plane from HCMC to Siem Reap
A Very Familiar Sight for Us in Cambodia, the Back of Ti's Head (Our Faithful Tuk-Tuk Driver)
The Hotel Pool
Vegetable Khmer Curry
Another Type of Khmer Curry
Cambodian Family of Five on a Motorbike
Small Kid on a Big Bike
Bayon Temple is located inside the ancient city of Angkor Thom. The Buddhist temple was built by King Jayavarman VII around the year 1200. Bayon has 216 giant stone faces which are either images of the bodhisattva of compassion, or Jayavarman VII himself.
Elephants and Tuk Tuks Carry Visitors Through the Gate to the Ancient City of Angkor Thom
The Gate to Angkor Thom
Entrance to Bayon Temple
Bayon Temple Courtyard
A Detail of the Intricate Bas-Relief Carvings at Bayon
One of the Many Faces of Bayon
People Dressed in Traditional Khmer Costumes
More Faces of Bayon
Towers of Bayon
Linga in the Bayon Temple, Hindu Phallic Symbol and Representative of the God Shiva
Other Temples of Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom was the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire until it was abandoned sometime before the year 1609. Scholars believe the city once sustained a population between 80,000 and 150,000 people.
Cute Cambodian Kids Sitting in Angkor Thom
Baphuon, Pyramid-Shaped Temple in Angkor Thom
Baphuon has Steep Stairs!!
View from the Top of Baphuon
View from the Top of Baphuon
Baphuon -- Can You Spot the Reclining Buddha in this Photo? Hint: It's Huge
It's a Steep Climb Up to the Ruined Top of Phimeanakas
A Small Temple in Angkor Thom with Many Trees Growing from the Foundation
A Red Tree Ant, Used in Khmer Cuisine -- The Ants' Venom Makes them Taste Like Lemons
Watch James Taste a Local Delicacy: Red Tree Ants, Plucked Fresh from the Bark of a Poisonous Tree
Later, James Ate This Dish of Beef with Red Tree Ants
A Modern Day Buddhist Temple in the Ancient City of Angkor Thom -- In This Photo, Khmer People are Being Blessed by a Monk
Terrace of the Leper King
These Scary Carvings Below and Surrounding the Terrace of the Leper King Represent the Hindu Hell
Terrace of the Elephants in Angkor Thom
Terrace of the Elephants
Panoramic View from the Terrace of the Elephants -- Ancient Khmers would Hold Elephant Fights in this Clear Area -- The Towers in the Background Once Held Prisoners to be Exposed to the Elements
Ta Prohm is a temple intentionally left partially covered by jungle. It is famous for the enormous and ancient strangler figs growing from between the stone blocks. The temple was also featured in the movie Tomb Raider.
Some Trees in Ta Prohm Were Left in Place by Archaeologists to Show How the Jungle Took Over
Us at Ta Prohm
An Ancient Tree in Ta Prohm Temple
The Roots of This Tree Are Big Enough to Hide Behind
Tree Roots Easily Shove the Massive Stone Blocks Apart
Leaving Ta Prohm, We Stopped at this Cambodian Style Gas Station -- They Keep Gas in Johnnie Walker Bottles
This Kid was the Only One Working at the Gas Station
Angkor Wat is the single largest religious monunment in the entire world. It was constructed as a Hindu temple by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Most of the other Khmer Hindu temples are dedicated to Shiva, but Angkor Wat is dedicated to Vishnu. The enormous temple features intricate bas-relief carvings of Hindu myths.
The Grand Entrance to Angkor Wat is a Huge Bridge Across the Enormous Moat
Entrance to Angkor Wat
Entrance to the Outer Wall, Angkor Wat
Outer Wall, Angkor Wat
Us at Angkor Wat
Upper Courtyard in Angkor Wat
Carvings of Aspara Dancers in Various States of Complete-ness
The Outer Wall of Angkor Wat at the Back of the Complex
This Massive Bas-Relief Caring Depicts the Hindu Myth of the Churning of the Milk Sea
The Churning of the Milk Sea -- Gods Pulling on the Tail of the Many-Headed Naga Snake
The Other Side of the Mural, Demons Pull from the Head of the Snake
Carving of a War Elephant
Another Small Detail from an Absolutely Massive Carving
This Frog was Living Right Outside the Temple
Banteay Srei is a temple further away from Siem Reap than Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. The 16 mile tuk-tuk ride there gave us our first glimpse of the beautiful Cambodian countryside. The temple was built in the year 967 and so is actually older than both Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Cambodian Countryside on the Way to Banteay Srei
An Improvised Cambodian Farm Truck
Banteay Srei Temple
What a Beautiful Framed Picture :)
Cambodian Girl at Banteay Srei
One of Many Intricate Carvings
A Monk Visits Banteay Srei Temple
Another Cambodian Girl at Banteay Srei
Looking Back at Banteay Srei from the Outer Wall
A Common Sight at Cambodian Temples, Victims of Landmines Performing Traditional Music
More Cambodian Kids Hanging Out at the Temple
Another Kid Hanging Out at the Temple
Shopowner's Cute Daughter, Actual Quote: "Mom!! There's People Here! It's Not My Life to Sell Clothes!"
Waterfall Hike & 1000 Linga
After Banteay Srei, we ventured even further into the Cambodian countryside for a waterfall hike recommended by our tuk-tuk driver, Ti. The stream feeds into Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Because of the importance of Tonle Sap to the ancient Khmers, they carved many linga into the rocks of the riverbed to bless the water on its way.
We Saw This Makeshift Truck on the Way to the Waterfall Hike
Local Shop, a Common Sight Along the Side of the Road
Small Kids on a Big Bike
Hiking in the Cambodian Jungle
Steep, Muddy Cambodian Hills in Slippers? No Problem!
Waterfall and Many Linga Carvings -- These Bless the Water at the Source as it Flows to Tonle Sap
Another Angle of the Linga Carvings and Waterfall
Another, Bigger Waterfall
Other Temples on the Big Circuit
After the waterfall hike and Banteay Srei, we visited several other temples in and around Angkor Thom.
Elephant from Below
Lin at One of the Temple Towers
James Tries to Learn Cambodian Dance
Path to the Water Temple
Walking to the Water Temple
Near the Water Temple, the Water Gets a Bit Murkier...
Preah Khan Temple
Pub Street is the main hangout for tourists and ex-pats in Siem Reap, and has most of the town’s restaurants and nightlife. Sadly, we were unable to find fried tarantula in the Old Market, perhaps it will be available next time. We were told tarantula is only sometimes available in Siem Reap, otherwise we should go to neighboring Battambang province where it is readily available in the markets.
Pub Street in Siem Reap
We Saw This Motorbike on the Way to Pub Street -- Look Closely, She is Carrying Her Own IV on a Trip Home from the Hospital!!
Pub Street Has Many of these Fish Spas -- The Fish Will Nibble the Dead Skin Off Your Feet
Outside the Old Market
Flower Shop in the Old Market
Seafood in the Old Market
Temples on the Way to Tonle Sap
On the way to Tonle Sap, we made several stops along the way as recommended by our driver. Each was a bit different from the other temples we had seen. At one of the temples, James tried to take a picture with a cow. The cow didn’t like this very much and headbutted James in the thigh.
Moments Later, This Cow Attacked James
Looking Back from the Top of the Temple
A Different Temple
Lots of Bamboo
Kids on the Way to Tonle Sap
More Kids on the Way to Tonle Sap -- This Girl Reminded Us of Malie
This Looks Fun...
Transporting a Boat to Tonle Sap
Typical House We Saw on the Way to Tonle Sap
Kids on the Side of the Road
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The waters of Tonle Sap change direction twice a year because of a complex interaction with the Mekong River and the weather patters. Tonle Sap is very important to the region for fishing and for rice farming. We visited a floating village on the lake, a sunken forest, and watched the sunset from the roof of our boat.
Boats at Dock, Ready to Take Visitors to Tonle Sap
People Seem to Walk on Water in the Shallows of Tonle Sap
Floating Village in Tonle Sap
House in the Floating Village
Floating Village Houses
More Floating village Houses
Our 13-Year Old Small Boat Captain
Cambodian Kids Fishing from a Small Boat
Baby on Board
Another Typical Village Home
Near the Village is the Sunken Forest
Taking a Break at a Floating Restaurant in the Sunken Forest
All Hands on Deck!
Waiting for Sunset on the Roof of the Boat
Another Boat Silhouetted by the Setting Sun
Boats Headed Home at Dusk