Temples of Angkor et al.

I woke up late in the morning, my driver and I agreed to start the day by 5:30 to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I managed to come down at the lobby by 5:45 am . I forgot to tell the receptionist to pack my breakfast the night before so I did not have my breakfast that day lucky I was able to shove in my bag some cookies that night before going to sleep so somehow I have something to eat in between temple hopping. My tuk tuk driver was driving fast I thought he was mad at me for letting him wait, and I was bearing the coldness of the morning as I was just wearing short and shirt. But we arrived at Angkor Wat still dark and there were a lot of people already coming in, somehow I realized that the driver was really in a hurry so that I will have ample time to settle in before sunrise which was the purpose in the first place for the early trip, not the one I was thinking.

Angkor Wat

We agreed to meet again after two and a half hour, and so I commence my first temple adventure for the day. By the time I arrive at the temple grounds where the crowd were waiting and anticipating for the sun to come out, I started to marvel the grandeur of Angkor Wat from a distance. After so much anticipation the cloud somewhat disappointed all of us spectators as it prevented the sun to give us a spectacular show that day. We all missed the sunrise and I did not let my spirit dampened instead I turned to the crowd to observed their reaction. After bushing around I begun my temple navigation by entering on the west site entrance gate.

The corner entrance to the first gallery on the west side

The closed wall of the first gallery has decorated with dancing figures, this western side shows scenes from the Mahabharata epos.

The second of the three galleries that encircled the main shrines.

Apsaras (heavenly nymphs) reliefs were found on all walls of the galleries

The outer courtyard viewed from the first gallery

The five central shrines, four on each corner and the center the sanctuary were connected by numerous exterior narrow staircases decreasing in dimensions as they go up.

The raised terrace

The Buddhist nuns

The cruciform entrance platform

The Main entrance gate

Bayon Temple

By the time I came out and reached the main road I totally spent almost three hours and again apologized to my driver for not sticking to agreed time. All he can do is smile and began to move for the next destination, the Angkor Thom, a walled city where the Bayon temple is standing in the exact center. While on the road, I was eating cookies as mentioned I have not taken my breakfast. After 15 minutes or so, we arrived at the Bayon Temple complex. My driver dropped me off at the entrance gate so I can take pictures, then walked through and crossed the gate and then rode again as the temple is still far away from the main gate. He dropped me at the foot leading to the temple and told me he will wait for me at the other end of the temple after 30 minutes. Then I proceed to explore the temple.

What's wrong with this picture?

Bayon is identified for its huge stone smiling faces dubbed as the Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia. They said that there are 51 towers surrounding Bayon each with four faces of its own, no I didn't count them.

The gatekeepers at the entrance leading to the temple

I have no idea about this picture, a photo op maybe.

Ta Prohm Temple

As agreed we met at the designated place, took some refreshment and shared the cookies I brought along. After that we hit the road again for the next temple, the Ta Prohm temple. I was looking forward for this temple as it was still vivid to my memory the Tomb Raider movie. I want to experience firsthand how it was to be like Angelina heheh. But then again as mentioned in my first post of this trip, I was not able to experience it but nevertheless the feeling and excitement was there. Seeing those iconic big grown trees and the structure made me think of something like nature showing of force . While the trees were growing and the structure stand still, only time can tell who will going to give in first.

The dirt road leading to Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm is a buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of the King ruler. Compared to the other temples of Angkor, this has been left to the clutches of the living jungle, though other parts shows on-going reconstruction.

The iconic Tomb Raider tree, where Angelina Jolie picked a jasmine flower and was sucked beneath the earth.

I ended my day by visiting another temple, the fourth and the last one.

Banteay Kdei

There is no restoration work going on here, so it allows visitors to experience what it may looked like as before.

By 2pm I was already back in the hotel preparing for check out. By 3pm I was already on the road on the way to nearby province Battambang. I spent a night there with a Filipino friend working in an NGO firm connected with the local government.