Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

We just got back from an interesting trip to Cambodia where we went as part of a passport "visa run" for me. We stayed for 4 days in Siem Reap which is near Angkor Wat, the world famous 850 year-old Khmer Empire temple complex.

Siem Reap is quite a nice town with lots of quality accommodation to choose from, and it is quickly modernising. There are two great night markets to go looking around in the evenings if you want to find some bargains. And there are lots of lovely bars and restaurants in a street aptly named Pub Street that are open all day until quite late at night. There are also a few night club bars that are open until much later.

Angkor Wat is simply stunning. It is positively huge, much much bigger than I imagined, and very beautiful. There are amazingly detailed carvings in the stone all over the temple, including enormous bas-relief friezes in the large outer galleries around all four sides.

There are many other ancient Khmer Empire temples in the area around Angkor Wat dating from between about 700 to 1100 years ago, some in fairly good states of repair, others less so. There are also massive and extensive ancient city walls nearby. A number of restoration projects are currently ongoing in some of the ruined sites, which is very interesting to see.

We took a two day guided tour around the whole area, and then spent a day exploring without a guide. The area is beautiful woodland, parkland and farmland, and it makes for a spectacular trip - I personally highly recommend the journey if you're ever in this part of the world!

Update 30/01/10: Take a look at my wife's blog to see some photos from the trip, or see the photo album here: Cambodia, Jan 2010 Photos

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