AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Siem Reap: Day 3

Posted on Jan 5, 2014

This was to be our best day around the Angkor temples. We had deliberately left Angkor Wat to the final day on the recommendation that if you see the best first everything else would be a bit dull and not as impressive. We had also booked a tour so we had a guide for the day. Even better the tour was limited to no more than 8 people and included lunch. The tour was at the top end of the budget but worth it to be in a small group been taken around the fantastic site of Angkor Wat. The day started with the tuk-tuk arriving at our hotel at 7:45am. The tour guide was riding with us and we were to meet the rest of the group by the temples (they had been at Angkor Wat for sunrise). Our guide was telling us about the upcoming protests planned in Phnom Penh as workers demand a salary with covers basic living costs. In Cambodia the cost of living is very high compared with the local average salary, it may seem cheap to us but we earn over ten times the average salary of most Cambodians. Update: As I write this a week later the protests have taken place and the military police opened fire with live rounds on the protesters killing a number of them. Our first destination was Ta Prohm, colloquially known as “Tomb Raider Temple” because this was the location for filming the first tomb raider movie. Our guide described it as the baby of the temples because it is one of the newer temples in Angkor, built around the beginning of the 13th century. We then headed towards Angkor Thom, which took us through Victory Gate. Angkor Thom was the final and largest city of the Khmer empire. At its centre is the temple of Bayon. Our guide led us around the temple telling us about how, when and why it was built and also giving interesting information on Buddhist and Hindu beliefs and explaining the poses of the statues. He knew the stories behind most of the wall carvings and suddenly what we were looking at made sense and seemed real. We were looking at stories about battles, we could see who won and who lost. We could see which tribes and peoples from across Asia were involved in the battles and we could even see their fashions and weapons. The guide was certainly giving us our money’s worth… After Bayon we walked over the road to the temple of Baphuon. We had already been in here on our first day around the temples but...

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