Tourists from around the world flock to Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore its ancient temples. We were so pleased with our tour guide, B, with Angkor Guide Sam. He was very personable and shared his extensive knowledge of the temples. I can’t imagine trying to see all these temples in one day without an expert. We started with an early pick up at our hotel to purchase temple passes. From there, our first stop was the most famous of all the temples, Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world; built in the 12th century and spans 400 acres. Originally Hindu, it was transitioned into a Buddhist temple. Surfaces throughout the temple are covered in ornate bas-reliefs representing Hindu stories.
Bayon is the temple of smiling faces, as you’ll see. Bas-reliefs, like that below, illustrated daily life of the early Khmer people.
All the temples are in some state of disrepair with various world governments contributing to the restoration efforts. I can’t imagine trying to put the pieces of these immense temples back together.
This is an easily overlooked temple. It is smaller in comparison to the other, located off a dirt road in the jungle, so a visit here is much less crowded than you’ll experience at Angkor Wat. That contributes to its appeal. This temple is very serene and the trees are incredible.
This is the temple made famous by the Tomb Raider movie and, in my opinion, is the most photographic temple because of the trees that have grown right on top of the temples, blanketing it’s walls with webs of roots. It’s a sight to behold.
Our tour guide was a bit of a jokester. Throughout the day, he posed us for pictures, but we had no idea what was in store when he had us stand in this doorway with our “pistols” drawn. The joke was on us.
History buffs could spend days visiting the temples, but we were pleased to cover these in one day. We learned a lot and covered a lot of ground. I’m so pleased to have visited Cambodia to experience these relics of the Khmer Empire.