A 5am rise for a flight to Siem Reap, as I am a bit short on time, chose the easy option!
Basically Angkor Wat is a bunch of really old temples, built between 9th century-14th century AD by lots of different kings. Its one of the wonders of the World! It was built when they were making a huge Khmer Empire, fighting a lot with the now known as Thais, and the knigs believed in Hinduism and others Buddhism. Some Buddhas have been scraped away by the Hindus, there are lots of amazing wall sculptures. A French guy, Henri Mahout took the credit for discovering it in the middle of the jungle in 1890. Japanese, French, American groups are pouring in money to reconstruction work as a lot of it is falling to bits, due to jungle growth, war, weather affects For more info check out Trivia section!
The temples have been amazing, tho it is easy to get templed out, esp if youre not a huge architecture buff like me. There are so many people trying to make a living at the temples selling souvenirs, the kids all know how to say, hey lady u wanna cold drink, wan dohller! The wee guy in the pic, asked where I lived to which he promptly replied Edimburgh, I was well impressed!!
At the temples, as with all over Cambodia there is still a terrible lagacy of land mines, the guide books warn u in no uncertain terms, DO NOT step off the marked path, the hoards of limbless people in and around Siem Reap, and the rest of the country arre proof of this. Most temples you went to there were musical groups of amputees playing local music looking for a dollar from the tourists, with signs saying, they want to work, not beg.....
Even still it amazes me all the goings on in hte streets, all the wee baby boys seems to go round naked till they get to about 4 or 5. People eating, cooking, washing, sleeping in hammocks, all happens outside, so its easy to get a glimpse of these peoples lives. Lots of oxen, water buffalo used in the fields n rice paddies. And the endless truck loads with loads of people hanging off the back catching dust n sun for hours on end as tehy travel on their pilgrimage to see the temples at Angkor Wat. Its a country that is changing rapidly, wonder what it will be like in 10 years time, there are huge hotel chains here already, Le Meridien ,Sofitel.....
The temples at Angkor are spread out over some 40 miles around the village of Siem Reap, about 192 miles from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. They were built between the eighth and 13th centuries and range from single towers made of bricks to vast stone temple complexes. There are two main sites where the Khmer temples are located. The first is at Roluos which is about 10 miles south east of today's village of Siem Reap, where only a few of the earlier temples were built. This was the first Khmer capital in the Angkor area. In the late ninth century, Yasovarman I moved the capital to the immediate vicinity of Siem Reap. This is a much larger site, where the majority of the Khmer temples are located. It is officially known as the City of Angkor. There are other temples located in the area, some up to 20 miles away from Siem Reap. Khmer temples can also be found in many other parts of Cambodia, as well as China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Today, a great deal of restoration work has been done on many of the temples. However, because of the lack of security in Cambodia and the continuing rebel insurgency around the Angkor region, some of the temples are closed to tourists. The major temples, as listed below, are usually open to tourists
Major Temples at Angkor:
Regarded as the supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture, it is a huge pyramid temple built by Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150. It is surrounded by a moat 570 feet wide and about four miles long. The mass of bas-relief carving is of the highest quality and the most beautifully executed in Angkor.
A very large temple complex enclosed by a moat. It is one of the most beautiful of the Khmer temples as it has not been restored, but has been left surrounded by jungle
A massive temple complex built by Jayavarman VII between 1181 and 1220. It features 3,936 feet of superb bas-relief carving and mysterious Buddha faces carved on the towers of the third level.
Much more info to be found at http://www.angkorwat.org/