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Angkor temples

"One dollar...'

This was my second visit to the Angkor temples in Cambodia, the first being about 6 years ago. I was worried that they wouldn't live up to my memories, but I needn't have been...

There are over a hundred temples across an area of 250 sq miles, some over 1000 yrs old and the detail that remains is breathtaking. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture the temples at the heart of a thriving city with incredible wealth. It is not understood how, but this great civilisation came to an abrupt end and the temples were lost to the jungle for hundreds of years. So that's the guide book bit...

The splendor of the temples and the hordes of designer-clothes-clad, electronics-wielding tourists is a stark and rather unpleasant contrast to the local Cambodians. The area is extremely poor and the touts and sales people are desperate for your dollars. Its easy to become dismissive and even annoyed by the constant: "sir, lady, you want pant OK?" "Only 1 dollar OK", "Where you from?". We both found it easy enough to deal with with the adults, but the children make the whole experience quite heartbreaking. We did see a number of free school projects, english lessons and small scale local initiatives to improve the lives of some, but this is far from enough. We gave only to the bands made up of landmine victims and a girl with severe burns and a disability. There are literally hundreds of kids that want your money and you feel terrible for not giving it. We decided to find a local initiative to support rather than giving to individuals.

Around Asia, its easy to become a bit templed-out, but the Angkor temples are truly awe-inspiring and I could not recommend a visit enough. We spent from 5am to 6:30pm and did little more than scratch the surface. The local touts are a big part of the visit, though we had significant parts of the day walking though temples without hassle and where we we could neither see nor hear anything but the jungle and the incredible ruins. Responding in German also seemed to bring a swift end to conversations. Despite the constant attempts to relieve you of the contents of your wallet, the 2 of us had a driver for the day, entry to the park and a local lunch for under 80 dollars, which I thinks is worth every penny and a lot more...

Favourite temple:
Going to have to choose 3...

Bayon- the one with the surreal faces is INCREDIBLE
Tha Prohm- the one from tomb raider - large parts are unrestored and we had large areas to ourselves. Incredibly atmospheric and being able to climb around make you feel like your discovering it for yourself.
Banteay Srei - worth the 36km tuktuk ride (and extra 8 dollar charge!) The temple is 1000 years old and the stone work is not only pristine, but is also the most detailed I've ever seen. That, combined with the rose coloured stone and getting away from the crowds put this right up there.

Posted by bloorsontour 19:21 Archived in Cambodia Tagged angkor wat reap siem

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Amazing! Xxx

by Ma & Pa

It looks incredible. Xx

by mutsi

Spectacular!!! Will definitely visit Angkor..

by Vorion

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