Day 3 at Cambodia: Ancient Siem Reap!
Siem Reap with me is a mystical city with many old buildings. And because they imported electricity from Thailand, many restaurants and cafes there cut the light and use candles at night. That makes the city more mystical and beautiful when the night. One interested thing, houses and buildings at city can’t be built over 5 floors following the rule because it’ll be higher than the temples.
And this is about my trip.
1. Phnom Bakheng
The ancient constructions and temples are located in Angkor area; and to enter the area, you have to buy a ticket which is like your ID to go all of those places. The price of tickets will be depended on how many day you want to go there. After breakfast, I visited the first place Phnom Bakheng. This temple’s located highly in a hill so it will take your time and energy to walk to. (It used to have elephants to take us there but now I don’t see one 😦 ).
Phnom Bakheng is currently on maintenance so there are many spots that I can get to for taking picture 😦
2. Angkor Thom
The second construction I visit in the area is Angkor Thom, a unique place that famous with Bayon. But before getting to the temple, I have to switch to a smaller carrier because the gate is only fit with an elephant-size (the constructions were implemented with helping of elephants). Along the bridge, there are two sides of gods which represent the fight of good and bad in the past.
Bayon is placed right at the central of Angkor Thom. The temple is very famous with 54 4-faces Buddha which add up to 216 smiling faces. Because all the 4 sides of Bayon are quite similar, you should take care and remember the way to enter and out.
3. Ta Phrom
The third place I visited in the area is Ta Phrom. This place is well-known with many large, old trees and also a place that used to be in film ‘Tomb Raider’.
You can easily find many images of this dancer around Angkor. It’s Apsara, a very beautiful spirit that represent for the Champa female. Furthermore, she is super in dancing. Many visitors touch the statue and wish to be more beautiful, that’s why you can see some statues at the temples are quite glossy.
4. Tonlé Sap – the Great Lake
I’ve gone to Tonlé Sap after Ta Phrom, it’s a super big lake that you can’t see the lake shore and looked like a sea so many people call it the Great Lake. Actually, it wasn’t a destination in my tour; however, I have decided to go there after hear the story told by the tour guy.
It’s about the life of the locals at the lake in the past and current. ‘From 1975 to 1978, there was a war between Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Kampuchea; there were a lot of Vietnamese had been killed under the policy of Khmer Rouge. Many people have to run away and find a place to hide; and they have chosen the Great Lake. It’s not only because the lake is very big but also there are forests around so it’s hard to find them. Furthermore, from June, the water level in the lake increases significantly up to 9 meter so it’s ideal for fishes breeding. And of course it’s ideal for fishing. Time pass, those people are more familiar with this place and they cannot get used to the modern world outside; so they live there for generations based on catching fish then sell in the market. That means their lives are quite difficult‘. As a result, many tours when going to Siem Reap, the tour guys usually introduce this place and ask visitors if they want to go there and do charity. My tour guy also told me a story that one time he had met. ‘It was the time that he had taken a group to go there for charity. That group made a tank of mixed water and soap for kids to wash their hands after playing around and to eat. But then one kid was thirsty and drank that water because he thought it was find’. They are living poor that they don’t know many things. Here are some pictures I took at that lake:
At the lake, they live in boat houses above the water or make some temporary house by some wood piles. They will move the houses based on the water level in the month.
These are the kids living with their family in the lake. They always ask visitors if they have anything or money to give them. It’s what they do daily. I asked them to take some pictures, they had made ‘V’ with their fingers for style. When I gave some candies to the girl in red, she said “I had candies, can you give it to those boy? (she pointed to the boy in the right picture). Then I asked the boy to take him a picture, he said “I let you take my picture, do you have candies for me?”.
5. Angkor Wat – the Capital Temple
After Tonlé Sap, my last destination is Angkor Wat. It’s the largest construction in the Angkor area. Angkor Wat was built by a Khmer King firstly for Hindu, but now it’s for Buddhism. In Khmer, Angkor Wat means ‘Capital Temple’ so it is chosen to be the symbol of Cambodia and appear in the flag of this country. Let’s see some pictures that I took
It’s about 21 kilometers for a round Angkor area (good for exercise ha?; if you like jogging, cycling or running ;)). So if you are tired of going around Angkor, you may want to have a foot or body massage. There are many massage shops in the night market at Siem Reap. Also there are many pubs and bars at the night market, even a pub road, if you want to leave the ancient environment behind and enjoy a modern world in Siem Reap.
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Khoi founded The Broad Life to save his memories of places that he has been visited. And he wants to share his memories with everyone to inspire people go exploring the world.