Thursday, March 29, 2012

Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor

The deck outside our first room in the guest house.
Eric and I got to Siem Reap after a long bus ride from Phnom Penh.  Eric worked and lived here in 2009, so it's been exciting to see a lot of the places I've heard him talk about before.  Siem Reap is a little more touristy than Phnom Penh, but in a good way.  There's a lot to see and do, and I've been trying to take in as much as possible.  I'm still working on writing down some stories and impressions of the city, but for now I have photos:

A street of shops and restaurants in the middle of town.
In addition to exploring Siem Reap, Eric and I have been going through the massive temple complexes of Angkor Wat.  The former seat of the Khmer Empire, these abandoned temples are incredible.  I've been struggling to understand how anyone could envision so many massive temples and then actually carry out their construction without modern machinery.  

Walking up to Angkor Wat
While parts of the temple have been ruined over time,
some of the carvings are remarkably well-preserved.
Monkeys and their babies outside the temple!
Some of the many faces of the Bayon
Eric in a ruined temple — all he needs is a bullwhip and an awesome fedora
While Angkor Wat and several other temples have clear paths for visitors, others are still being restored.  I've gotten to feel like an adventurer discovering the temples for myself, wandering around fallen stones and walls taken over by tree roots.  More photos to come soon!

 Do you have any good exploring stories?
How do you get to know new cities?

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