Exploring the Ancient Grounds of Angkor

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On Saturday, we hired a tuk tuk driver for the day to take us on a ‘small tour’ around the ancient archeological grounds of Angkor where we explored the famous Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon Temple, Elephant Terrace, & Royal Palace), and finally Phnom Bakheng for a must-see view of Angkor Wat at dusk.

On Sunday, our tuk tuk driver took us to see Ta Prohm temple, Bantreay Srei temple, Preah Khan, and then we returned to Angkor Wat for our final farewell.

Of all the amazing structures scattered throughout the archeological grounds of Angkor, Angkor Wat is the most famous – and for good reason!  Nearly 1000 years ago, Suryavarman II ordered the rainforest to be carved out to make way for this enormous Hindu temple which was to represent heaven on earth.  The people of Angkor dug out the massive 190m-wide moat enclosing a rectangle measuring 1.5km by 1.3km (making these grounds visible from space)! The temple itself was built with a foundation of latterite stone covered by impressive sandstone carvings along the entire structure including multiple galleries packed with intricate and meaningful bas-reliefs.  This architectural and engineering wonder was built in an astounding 30(ish) years! Pretty impressive.

Although Angkor Wat is the most famous, all the buildings littered throughout the archeological grounds were amazing and unique.  The Bayon temple has multiple towers, each adorned with many faces.  Ta Prohm is a beautiful temple that has been destroyed by a forest of giant silk-cotton trees.  Bantreay Srei is a pretty rose-coloured sandstone temple with incredibly intricate carvings.  And Preah Khan (a former Buddhist university) is an interesting sight of ancient beauty and piles of crumbled structure as it is preserved as an example of how most of Angkor looked upon discovery in the 19th century (before restoration).

We only got to see a fraction of the buildings that are left of the Angkor Empire but we surely could’ve spent over a week exploring every nook and cranny of this fascinating city!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Thom (Bayon Temple, Elephant Terrace, & Royal Palace) & Phnom Bakheng

Ta Prohm Temple, Bantreay Srei Temple, & Preah Khan

Amanda & Adam

3 thoughts on “Exploring the Ancient Grounds of Angkor

  1. Fabulous pictures. What a neat excursion you had. We appreciate the commentary too.
    Enjoy yourselves.

    Love
    Mom and Dad

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