Angkor Wat

Our first real weekend in Asia. Field trip to Angkor Wat.

angkor wat through a fisheye lensOur entire group of teachers-in-training packed onto a bus for the gnarly ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. After being tossed on the back of a bus for the eight-hour trek, we arrived for dinner in the town of Siem Reap. The temple complex of Angkor Wat (wat means temple) is less than a half-hour outside the town.

reflections of faces at Angkor WatOur first temple, Wat Bayon, was a great place to explore.

Traditional Costume at Angkor WatWe meandered through the gorgeous stone grounds, climbing among the spires and pillars. Gazing at the carved images of women, gods, goddesses, mythical and revered creatures.

Traditional Costume at Angkor Wat

We watched the myriad of visitors at the temples, a blend of locals and international folks gazing at the tremendous architectural achievement.

Tree growing out of the Wat Prohm Temple

We toured Wat Ta Prohm, the temple used in the filming of “Tomb Raider,” a source of national pride. As any Khmer national who Angelina Jolie is and they’ll smile and proclaim, “Tomb Raider!”

Tomb Raider Temple, Wat Ta Prohm

Somewhere in the middle of our tour of the famous temple, we heard distant drumming of thunder. A threatening but welcome addition to our afternoon of tremendous heat and sweat.

Waiting out the rainAs we walked toward the main temple, Angkor Wat, a pattering of cool droplets began to hit the grass. We bolted up a set of stairs into the central tower just in time to miss the downpour. Visitors everywhere sought shelter in the cool stone coverings to wait out the rain.

Monks at Angkor Wat after the Big Rain

We befriended a monk studying at Angkor Wat, Jame, pronounced Jam. He was born in a rural province in Cambodia and moved to Angkor Wat recently. We exchanged emails with him since we were on our way to Thailand and he eventually wanted to study at a temple in Thailand. Hopefully we made a new lifelong friend.

On Sunday we toured Bang Mealea, just outside Siem Reap. This completely overgrown temple was surreal to explore. With trees engulfing the stone, it felt like we were worlds away from the 21st century. Bang Mealea outside Siem Reap

Looking for more photos? Check out my flickr page.

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About KShaw

English teacher in Thailand. Global Traveler. Amateur linguist. Reader. Writer. Photographer. Musician. Friend.
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