Angkor Thom, Cambodia

June 11, 2015

Wandering around Cambodia was nothing short of surreal. I've always thought I could only picture these images in Google. But since I have quite a long bucket list of what I hope to see and experience in the world, I've finally decided to check one off this summer. The incredible structures
and carvings inside the temple definitely trumps the searing 44C heat. I know you'll think I'm kidding but as you scroll down this post, Cambodia is definitely a beautiful mess inside.
First stop: Angkor Thom (which means the Great City). Hidden in the Cambodian jungle for centuries, the ruins of Angkor were just discovered only in 1861. Now does that sound a lost civilization to you? It certainly exudes an element of mystery, prompting hordes of tourists everyday. Unlike Angkor Wat which is one huge temple, Angkor Thom is composed of several smaller temples inside such as Bayon Temple, Ta Phrom, Terrace of the Elephants, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Te Keon, and more. 

Approaching the South Gate of Angkor Thom, you are welcomed by an array of different giant faces carved in different expressions. According to our tour guide, lined up on the left side are 54 varying figures of devas (god). While the faces on right side are 54 faces of asuras (demons). 

Bayon Temple, or also called Face Towers, is one of the most famous temples in Angkor. It was built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12 century or early 13th century. The King dedicated Bayon to Avalokitesvara, the universal God of compassion. It is said that the temple is a testament to the King's spirituality. 
What do you thing of this sculptures? It's amazing to imagine how they did that back in the olden days. There were about 37 towers with smiling faces on all sides. 
I honestly don't know how I still managed to take photos of myself. The reason why I did the looking down pose is my face was literally sweating buckets from hours of walking under the sun. Reality check folks, vacations are not always relaxing as it seems in pictures!! 
Every corner inside Bayon temple was just breathtaking. The details of the structures and carvings was just incredible. 

Finally here it is!!! Ta Prohm temple - it brought out the inner Lara Croft in me. I was such a fan of the Tomb Raider series that I felt I was in the movie for a second lol. 
Ta Prohm was also built by King Jayavarman VII at the same time as the Angkor Thom. He dedicated the temple to his mother. The temple served as a monastery but today it is nicknamed as the Tomb Raider's temple due to Angelina Jolie's movie.   
 On our way outside the temple there are several trees in which you could fit inside for a photo op. And of-course I couldn't resist...   
True to its reviews, Cambodia is definitely a must see. This country is so rich in culture and history. The pictures I've shown to you don't give justice to what it is in real life. This is only half of my tour in Siem Riep and I still have so much to share on my next post. Watch out for more amazing shots on my next travel diary.

Photos: me & Rea Vicencio (sister)

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