Before visiting the Temples of Angkor, we had done no reading. We had not even seen Tomb Raider, although we knew where to go to see the famous bit from the movie. ($1 at the market has since rectified this, by the way. Pretty much $1 and two hours wasted in my opinion).
Deciding not to hire a guide, we wandered ourselves about the temples of Angkor, following our noses and stopping when we felt like it. One day we even went home to sleep in the aircon half way between long exciting clambering sessions. Our three days were feasts of history and feasts of people watching. So many languages were being spoken around us, so many buses, guides, salespeople, begging busking children and plenty of old, old temples. Some crumbling and indistinguishable, some under restoration, and some battling it out with the slow strong winding roots of ancient trees.
Built between 900 and 1300 AD, they’ ve seen a lot of people some and go. Not to mention changes of official religion, both Buddhist and Hindu. Even the actual Hindu ones had Buddhist shrines in them for today’s devotees.
Temple clambering is hot work especially with a big girl on your back or a baby on your front. We gravitated towards the cooler insides of each building, and lent against the cold rock before launching out into the sun, or to climb incredibly steep steps.
On our third day at the temples, we returned to sketch and paint our favourites, rather than see yet more places. If you sit somewhere long enough, you become a watchee not a watcher… as the waves of tour groups go through pausing only for each mandatory photo and a recited spiel by their guide.
Yes, that is the famous face of Bayon behind her, but this Japanese lady is snapping the cute white baby instead!!
How do you like this for a climbing wall?
Nothing like total wheelchair inaccessibility to make us want to all go in…
Here are our favourite pictures.
Here are some poeple watching us watching them watch the sunset….the end of a long hot fascinating day.