CAMBODIA ~ Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat for Sunset

Tuesday, March 23rd – Full Day Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm & Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

EDITORS NOTE: In going back through my posts for 2016, while working on my “year in review” post to wrap everything up, I realized that this post never got published. So, to fill in a blank spot, I am going to share it now. This was from our time in Cambodia in March of this year.  

Our first time to this complex occurred two weeks prior. That time we were with a different tour company, Intrepid Tours. This time we returned with our Gate 1 tour. After our first visit I hastily wrote a few words and posted some pictures, but only from the main  site of Angkor Wat. You can review that post by clicking here if you are so inclined.

I never got around to posting pictures from the other temples we visited, so I am planning on combining pictures and information from both visits in this one post.

But first I want to try to simplify (if that is possible), some of the information about Angkor Wat. 

The entire Angkor complex is known as Angkor Archaeological Park. It is massive and covers miles. Within this sprawling complex are different temples and sites, many of them are small, relatively insignificant.

“The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument.” ~ Wikipedia

There are 72 major temples or other buildings within this area, and the remains of several hundred additional minor temple sites are scattered throughout the landscape beyond. Most of the minor sites are simply ignored my the masses when they visit.

Then there are the standouts. These would include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom with the Bayon Temple and of course Ta Prohm, made famous by the Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft movie.

“At its peak, the city occupied an area greater than modern Paris, and its buildings use far more stone than all of the Egyptian structures combined.” ~ Wikipedia

I had known that the complex was very large and that it could not be covered in a day, but I still had not grasped how spread out everything was. It might be better compared to several distinct cities, with their own walls, central complex, temples, time frames, ruler, history, religious beliefs, and architectural styles that just happen to be within driving distance of one another.

To put it in some perspective, the closest rival to Angkor, the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, was between 100 and 150 square kilometres (39 and 58 sq mi) in total size where Angkor covers roughly 390 square miles.

All lumped together, we often call it Angkor Wat, when in reality, Angkor Wat is just one of the cities.

“…the architectural masterpieces of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, are designated as one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. This sprawling city, built by Khmer Kings was once home to more than one million people at the height of the empire” ~ Gate 1 itinerary

Angkor Thom

Artist rendering of Angkor Thom during it's prime

Artist rendering of Angkor Thom during its prime in 12th century

On this trip, we started our morning early at Angkor Thom.

Dating from the late 12th century, this was the newest of the major temple sites and has several features that allow it to stand out from the rest, markedly the entry gates, massive stone faces and the Elephant and Leper King Terraces, all adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs.

Lets start with the entry gates (some of the pictures are from earlier visit on 031116).

One of five main bridge entry points to Angkor Thom

One of five main bridge entry points to Angkor Thom

Young monk

Young monk

On either side of the bridge over the moat are giant stone statues. One side representing good, the other side evil. And of course at the start of the bridge, on either side are the enormous naga (snake or dragon heads).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple, highlight of Angkor Thom, replete with beautifully preserved bas-reliefs and more than 172 giant smiling stone faces.

Angkor Thom. We were just about to enter Bayan.

Angkor Thom. We were just about to enter Bayon.

The massive stone faces were the defining characteristic of Bayon.

Faces of Bayon

Faces of Bayon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Wall after wall of intricately carved features told stories of battles, religion and customs

Wall after wall of intricately carved features told stories of battles, religion and customs

And the Elephant Terraces.

One of many carvings on the Elephant Terrace

One of many carvings on the Elephant Terrace

Ta Prohm

Then on to Ta Prohm, where the jungle was left untouched, as it appeared to European explorers. Trees growing on top of ancient structures, roots strangling each other, trying to survive. This was the setting for the movie Lara Croft, Tomb Raider which helped put this fascinating place on the map.

Tree roots hang over ancient walls

Tree roots hang over ancient walls

The highpoint of the day is the visit to stunning Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. World-famous for its beauty and splendor, Angkor Wat has the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the entire outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu mythology.

dsc05277

Tim at Angkor Wat

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay to experience the unforgettable sunset – a view that cannot be compared to anything you have ever seen!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to have had more time to explore this splendid site. It is enormous and there is no way to properly capture it all – whether in pictures, or spending extra days there. It simple is overwhelming in size, grandeur, historical significance, architectural and artistic accomplishments.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
This entry was posted in Asia, Cambodia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to CAMBODIA ~ Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat for Sunset

  1. Terry says:

    On my bucket list. It is such a magnificent location today I can just imagine what it must have been in it’s day from the photo of the model.

    Like

  2. I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s an amazing place, and your post brought back memories of Don and I crawling all over there on two separate days. Even then it was impossible to see it all. I kind of wish we’d had a guide with us to explain it all a little more. We did have a book but it was so dense with information that after a while we gave up on it and just looked.
    Alison

    Like

  3. Wow what an amazing presentation and simply loved each and every little details of your post. Felt being there with you guys. Have a nice day.

    Like

  4. Brought memories from years ago. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  5. Fascinating and helpful. Beautiful post.

    Like

  6. Keng says:

    A very well-written post. Brought back momories from our trip back in 2010. The size of Angkor Wat and surrounding archeological buildings is mind-blowing. The sandstone carving work at Banteay Srei was out of this world. Siem Reap was so hot when we were there.I still enjoyed the touring despite the heat. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  7. Great post. We will be visiting there in late January and this got me very excited.

    Like

  8. corkscot says:

    I’m glad that you found this post. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  9. Amazing pictures! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kim Gorman says:

    Wow, stunning photos! What an amazing place. The tree roots growing on the ancient temple was my favorite. Looks like a giant’s hand to be somehow.

    Like

  11. Thank you. That was wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. anne leueen says:

    The temples in Angkor are really an amazing thing to experience. My husband and I were there a few years ago and it has been a dream of mine for decades to see them. Your photos brought back many wonderful memories. Thank you.

    Like

    • Anne, since you have seen them, you know that even 100 pictures would only scratch the surface of all the magnificent structures. It is really one of those places that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. I’m so glad that we gave you a few memories and hopefully will nudge a few to get out the door to experience it for themselves. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lyn says:

    I am visiting Vietnam and Cambodia next month. Your photos and story have enhanced my excitement. Thank you

    Like

  14. mpardi2013 says:

    Thanks for remembering those of us who traveled these areas under less favorable circumstances. Marco

    mpardidotcom.com

    Like

    • Marco, too many of my classmates and friends came home forever changed. A few did not come home at all. That is the harsh reality. I continue to hope and pray for a peaceful future for our country and future generations.

      Like

  15. randyjw says:

    Loved your personal, professional descriptions. It looks like a wonder to behold.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s