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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Memories in Cambodia (Angkor Wat) - Part 2

And the journey into the land of Khmers continue...

On the next morning, we were up at 4am to prepare ourselves for the day ahead. Today our itinery was to view the sunrise at Angkor Wat. We would then proceed for the Mini Tour, which consisted of visits to a number of temples.

We bought a one-day pass on the way there, which cost a whopping USD20 per person. Pricey considering the living standards on Cambodia, but the locals get to go in for free. Just a note on the currency - here the US Dollar reigns supreme, and the locals only used the Cambodia currency (riel) for change or for small denominations.

Luck was not on our side that morning, as it was cloudy and we could barely see the sun rise over the magnificent structure ahead of us. We were not the only ones disappoited; the place was already packed with visitors eager to catch a glimpse of first light.

Our fellow travellers, Fenny and TL.

Despite the not-so-inspiring view, we snapped away. Standing before Angkor Wat, the temple of temples, greatest glory of the Khmer people was truly awe-inspiring. From a far distance we could already have a feel of the proportions, how grand the entire structure was.

As morning came, we moved on the the further structures which were now in ambient light. Two so-called 'libraries' lined the pathway up to Angkor Wat. We had our next photo session there.

Just to give an idea of how large the structure was, I look dwarfed by the buildings which seemed like they were built for kings of giants.

We did not proceed into the main building because there would be a visit later in the evening. So we headed on to our next destination: Banteay Srei, literally 'citadel of the women'.

The reason why it's called 'citadel of the women' is because of the intricate carvings found on the walls of the temple. It was believed to be too delicate to have come from the hand of man, hence the name. The details that were preserved in the carvings are amazingly preserved despite centuries of harsh weather.

After a couple hours, we stopped at Pre Rup, a relatively huge structure and definitely taller than the earlier ones we had been to.

I could reproduce the history of these temples here, but surely that would be boring. So just google it if you're interested :)

Our trusy Angkor guidebook which we bought from one of the kids constantly hogging you to buy their merchandise. It was one dollar cheaper elsewhere; I felt ripped off. By an 8 year old.

The steps up to the peak of the structure were so steep, we had to hold on to the sides while climbing down. A little mistep and I guess that would be the end of you.

By the time we finished our tour at Pre Rup, it was nearly 11am, and time for a visit to one of the more interesting temples.

More to come...

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