Day 2 of Angkor!!
Mr. Sambo picked us up again at 8AM, and as if we didn’t do enough yesterday, our first stop of the day was the Tomb Raider temple! (Where the movie was filmed)
Year constructed: 12th Century
Significance: Kim Jayavarman VII erected this temple to serve as a Mayhayana Buddhist monastery and university. Not many bas-reliefs around this temple, and believed to be due to vandalism by Hindu iconoclasts.
Tomb Raider Temple!! I was excited for this one. We got there early, so we thought we’d beat the crowds. We were sadly mistaken.
Two large tour buses were pulled up out front, and we joined with the masses, staying on the pathway, squeezing around tight turns, and arrows pointing which way to go. With so many tourists, it really does take away from the splendor a temple can give you when you’re all alone. Still, an amazing visit.
Right away, you can see massive trees growing in and around the temple’s construction. From the outside, there looks to be so many ways of getting in and through the what seems to be myriad of tunnels. Unfortunately, the main entrance was blocked off, so were weren’t able to enter through the main chamber. The arrows directed us around, and we dutifully followed.
Wrapping around the side, we see this massive tree that’s clinging to the top of the roof. In the early 1900’s Maurice Glaize, an early French archeologist said, “On every side, in fantastic over-scale, the trunks of the silk-cotton trees soar skywards under a shadowy green canopy, their long spreading skirts trailing the ground and their endless roots coiling more like reptiles than plants.”
We kept walking along, amazed by the sites we were seeing. Trying to visualize what went on here. As we wrapped around, we came to the spot that was actually filmed in the Tomb Raider movie. I stabbed a couple pictures in the blog for reference. It’s any kid’s dream to run around here, and use the imagination to spark up some fantasy thriller.
I’ve never taken a tuk-tuk out on the highway, but that’s exactly what Mr. Sambo did! Seeing the country side reminded me of all the Vietnam movies I’d watch back home. Different species of palm trees growing everywhere they can. Passing rice fields, and people on bicycles. Little stands were boiling something in a large wok when we passed in the morning, and when we came back in the afternoon, those same stands were mixing what was in the wok with a large wooden paddle. I’m pretty sure they were making a gelatin/sugary substance, but I haven’t found anything on it…
Year constructed: 10th century
Significance: Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Built largely of red sandstone giving the structure a pink hue to it.
After a long ride down some country roads, we were ready to see more temples. This little guy was pretty intricate. The entrance wall surrounding the temple is elaborately decorated with carvings. Entering inside, a moat surrounds the temple. Many very well detailed carvings are dispersed about. It was small, and a lot of tourists were present, so it was a difficult time taking everything in. People take selfies and pictures all over the place (me included), so you just have to wait for your turn to take a pic, and try and get it with no one else in the picture!
We worked our way around the temple, and somewhat fought through the crowds. The outside picture is a nice shot of the moat, with the temple in the center. Really great art work detailed in this one, and statues.
Mr. Sambo was dutifully waiting for us (tip enhancement), and we took off further down the road to get to a trek that would take us up hill to river carvings, and a small waterfall.
The trek up wasn’t so bad. Even though we were in the shade, it was still very hot and very humid. We took some fun pictures along the way to help with the 40 min hike. We could hear the waterfall as we approached, and eagerly made our way to it. Something about the simplicity of waterfalls being in nature is beautiful.
The carvings were above the waterfall, and pretty contained for the most part. I thought there might have been more to it, but was happy with what we saw.
We hiked back down, and took the hour and half tuk-tuk ride back to town.
It was a great couple of days. Coming to Angkor National Park, we heard a lot about tourists overcrowding sites, and making it unbearable to visit the temples. It certainly wasn’t unbearable, but I can see where they’re coming from.
Having seen Bagan Archeological Zone first and their temples, the seclusion brought about from those temples certainly add an aura of fascination to them we didn’t get from Angkor. Our next post is Angkor vs Bagan to dive more fully into this subject.
Angkor was amazing, and really a wonder of our world.