Friday, December 13, 2013

The Adventures Of de-I And The Temples Overrunning With Tourists! Part One

Day Two of the Cambodian Adventure was the beginning of our immersion into the the Khmer Empire ruins.  The Khmer Empire was the major force in Southeast Asia for a period of around 600 years from the 10th through the 15th century.  It was a culture that build on prior Indianized civilizations in the area.  Through it Indian based religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) and culture spread.  Throughout this period the kings built extensively.  However, the building of administration, living quarters (even Imperial Palaces), trade, etc. was always done in wood.  Only the temples, first to Hindu centric forms and later to Buddhist forms, were made of more permanent materials, brick to start and then later stone.  In this highly humid, warm climate where plant growth is great, only the temples have survived.  It says a lot for this culture (even today) that so much focus was on the spiritual.

Over the course of the 600 years or so of Khmer power, there were ebbs and flows and many capital cities.  We think of Angkor Wat has the place but in reality it is just one of many, many, many temples in this area.  When you get a government trained tour guide, they have a number of set routes they want to take you on.  In deciding what pictures to put on the blog, I had to cut down the number substantially...and we only saw maybe 25% of all the ruins in the area!

On day one we were doing temples that were outside of the major Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat complexes.  I probably have some of the pictures mislabeled but you will get the idea.

Sunrise at Ankgor Wat

This is one of the 'must do' parts of visiting this area.
You catch your transportation at about 5 AM and then head out to the Temple area.
You find out that they only take cash for the passes so you (and everyone else) is fumbling around trying to get enough cash to pay for the tickets.  We will find that in general cash is needed for everything.

Ah the beauty and the solitude...

...with about 10 thousand other fellow tourists


 First 'selfie' ever

After being up for 3 hours we need breakfast!
#2 and I dig into Cambodian noodle soup

Trial by a Thousand Temples

I believe we started after breakfast at Banteay Srie

This was one of the few that you could climb the original steps up to the top

It was steep!

Even Wife made the trek

Different temple
Even though I was making notes, I got them all confused.
Think this was Ta Som  which was a 10th century edifice

 On to Preah Khan build in 1189
This was the one used for the filming of Laura Croft Tomb Raider

Most of what we are seeing has been reclaimed from the forest and restored.
Here and below are examples of just how much the forest took over.

"Yes Madam", our guide says, "I know this seems like the Khmer Rouge marching of innocents out of the cities into the country, but really it is just touring of temples."

Happy couple #2 and 2B
Actually #2 was really ready to call it quits at this point but we were in the middle of temple with only one way to go.

A guard alerted me to this shot where you align the Shiva Linga with the opening in the wall so it looks like a candle.

Day one of the temples is ovah.  Time to go get lunch, a massage, and dip in the pool

Footnote on costs:

Cambodia is incredibly affordable.  We stayed at a very nice low key resort hotel.  We had a driver and air conditioned vehicle for all four days, a tour guide for 3 days, were getting massages most days, drinks at pool and mini bar, laundry and the total was $150 a couple per night.  The most expensive meals we had were around $30 a person with drinks, dessert, and service.  More often we were at around $8 to $10 a person and not feeling we were skimping at all.


The Count said...

Lovely pictures. Thank you for bringing back many good memories. Seems like ALOT of tourists there now. How overrun is it?

de-I said...

It was crawling with people at the major sites. But this is also high season because it is the best weather.

Agent W said...

Great pictures! Wonderful to hear that you had a wonderful stay at the resort with good amenities! Love following your posts!

terri said...

The pictures were so worth the wait! What an amazing place, so full of history!