mastercopycat

Virtual meanderings

Angkor Wat | Angkor Thom photos (a taste of things to come)

   I thought that Angkor Wat was supposed to be the world’s largest religious complex. But could it be that like many other “largest, biggest, best” places to see, it would turn out to be mostly hype, smoke and mirrors? I mean, you call this big?

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat - not as big as they want you to believe!!!

Courtesy: www.trazzler.com

    By the way, that’s not me on the photo (in case you wondered). And now, let’s get serious.

    I’ve been to many locations that are hailed as architectural masterpieces. Ankgor Wat just blows them away. Even the ruins of Ayutthaya (Thailand’s ancient capital and source of national pride) are no match for Angkor’s magnificence.

     I prefer to not add comments to the photos below… Enjoy them for what they are. Make up your own explanations. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case a thousand words will do no good to any of the pictures. And when you are done, prepare to read my next post for some explanations.

All the photos were taken using a cheap digital camera. If you like what you see, the credit is neither mine, nor the camera’s.

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat II Angkor Thom

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Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat || Angkor Thom

Some end words

    The guide books claim that the best way to visit Angkor area is to hire a tuk-tuk with a driver for the whole day for $15-$20. In this way, the books say, you could quickly get from one place to another place in this vast area (this is what we did). But there exists another possibility that gets much less attention – renting a bike ($2). Angkor Wat is just 6 kilometers away from Siem Reap, and is easily reachable. You can park the bike in the areas where tuk-tuk drivers are waiting for their patrons.

    Another good idea according to the guidebooks is to get up very early –at around 4.30am – and get to Angkor when the sun is rising over the stone towers. Well, check the weather forecast first. During the rainy season you might end up watching the clouds. As a pale alternative, you can see an Angkor sunrise video on a huge screen at the Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap.

    Did you notice the neatly ordered stones on two of the photos above? There are thousands of those stones all around waiting to find their way back to their original place. Major restoration works at Angkor will continue for the foreseeable future. Here is a short video that first appeared on Euronews about the restoration works going on in Bayon temple at Angkor Thom – http://www.euronews.net/2011/02/10/major-restoration-at-ancient-khmer-temple/

    As far as I was able to determine from the information tables, the main restoration sponsors are Japan and Germany (albeit other countries are involved as well). The US, in case anyone wonders, was altogether absent (Could it be another example of “if everyone thinks we are involved, why bother do it”? Maybe). But one still has to give the US credit for helping – they did support the Khmer Rouge all the way until their final defeat in 1992. Or as Wikipedia’s article on Cambodia mildly puts it: “Throughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge, supplied by China, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom continued to control much of the country and attacked territory not under their dominance. These attacks, led to economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies, made reconstruction virtually impossible and left the country deeply impoverished.” I personally found it interesting that the Khmer Rouge had such powerful supporters and still lost. But speaking realistically, this would not have been possible without Vietnam carrying most of the burden (with the backing of other socialist countries).

      Here are some more links that’ll tell you more of the Angkor story: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon

      A good book about Angkor – featuring hundreds of beautiful photos is Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques. I was able to buy a copy from the Rosy guesthouse’s book swap section. Arguably, it is the best pick on Angkor out there – successfully threading the middle path between popular writing and academic punctuality. I read it with great interest and carried it in my backpack throughout the rest of the trip. My sincere gratitude to Kara for being the one to recommend the book to me.

     A single-person one-day ticket to Angkor Wat costs $20 (unless you are Khmer – then it is for free).

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One response to “Angkor Wat | Angkor Thom photos (a taste of things to come)

  1. Pingback: Discovering Angkor « mastercopycat

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