Today I got myself my own tuk tuk to take me around to some temples, and a guide to tell me all about them! Do you think I’ve remembered any of the information I learned so I could pass it along? No chance of that! I barely even remember the names of the temples, but know that I was glad to have had the guide to learn about these places while I was there.
Our first stop of the day was Angkor Thom. This was the capital of the Khmer empire (consisting of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) in the 12th century. The carvings on the temple are exquisite – they show the daily lives of the people, along with the large faces carved into all of the towers (4 faces per tower). It was definitely the most awe-inspiring temple to me.
Originally a Buddhist temple, when it became a Hindu temple all the Buddhas were either destroyed or turned into Hindu gods. You can still see the empty spaces where the Buddhas would have been.
Nearby was the Elephant Terrace, where in the past the elephants used to be. We know this by the many elephants carved along the walls.
Next up was Ta Prohm, also known as the Tomb Raider temple, as this is one of the film locations used.
And we ended in Angkor Wat, the temple I visited yesterday. You’ll see some pictures of very steep stairs – this was so when you climbed to the top of the temple you’d have to use your hands and feet and crawl your way to the gods. Of course, the staircase for the king was not as steep as the rest.
We finished by lunch, and I relaxed at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. It was simply to hot to do anything else. But that evening, my hotel sent me to a restaurant with a traditional Cambodian dance show.
It was interesting to see the dance, and understand the stories they told, but I was more excited for the Cambodian Circus show tomorrow.