"Not just stones..." Angkor Thum by yukisanto
Angkor Thum Travel Guide: 266 reviews and 933 photos
Angkor Thom is a temple complex, with various smaller temple structures within, the most famous being Bayon. We went to Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Lepers and Preah Khan. Other temples we went included Phnom Bahkeng and Ta Phrom.
A lot of times, we went against our driver's advice and chose the places we went. Like instead of heading over to Angkor Thom after the sunrise at Angkor Wat, we went to Ta Phrom instead. Turned out to be a good choice, since there was little other people there, and we could get the feel of the place (a abandoned jungle temple kind of feel) rather than one bustling with tourists. The moment we stepped out of that place, the tour buses came one by one. I was so glad we were one step ahead of everyone else.
Ta Phrom, the temple amidst the jungle. Giant trees with tall trunks crushing the roofs of the temple with their weight. It feels like I'm in a FF game. We had an impromptu guide (from the temple sweeper) who latched onto us and showed us where to take the best pics. Of course, he later asked for USD1 from us, which we gave since we really took good pics. He even showed us this particular tower where if yous tand against the wall and thump against your chest, you can feel the entire tower echo and vibrate with the sound. But if you tap against other part of your body, there will be no effect. Some kind of acoustics thingy I guess.
Baphuon - a crumbling temple structure closed to the public. We wandered around its grounds, and saw stones all over the place. A crane stood over the temple, in the process of restoration. But really, by the look of the stones strewn all over the place, they may as well rebuilt the temple instead. Case in point, there was this animal sculpture whose missing four legs were replaced with wooden sticks instead.
One thing I note about all temples was that the route to the entrance of the temple itself from the entrance of the temple grounds was always a long path. Walking down that path invariably made me think back on how people in the olden days must have walked along the very same path during their ceremonial ritual.
Preah Khan - the temple shaped like a sword. And being so, it's extremely long, and the central passageway goes on forever. Side aisles have all crumbled, and the one fun thing we ended up doing here was to count how many doorways the central passageway has. This temple has alot of unexpected surprises - such as a papaya tree growing among the crumbled stones of the side aisles.
Phnom Bahkeng, famed for its really nice sunset view. Well, no one told us it took a 20 min walk up the hill just to reach this temple, and further climb its steps to the top. And since it had just rained, the view we saw was a sea of clouds enveloping the trees beneath us. This place is really great for the views - a wide expanse of land in the horizon, and even the Tonle Sap lake in the distance. Too many tourists during sunset though, but it's not enough to put me off.
The most temple like atmosphere was at Bayon. The gallery of bas relief carvings were at one corner, and not many people seem to know about it. Most just go to check out the stone faces I guess. But that was fun - counting how many faces there were on the top level. LoL
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