25 May, 2008

Khmer Temples of d'Angkor

. 25 May, 2008

The “famous” Khmer temples of Angkor is one of many interesting places I visited on one week trip to Cambodia and Vietnam in the mid April 2008. The temples at Angkor are spread out over some 40 miles around the village of Siem Reap, about 192 miles from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Siem Reap, is the closest city to the temples of Angkor which also known as “the gate to Angkor”. It is located in northwestern Cambodia. This city has been the major tourist hub in Cambodia since the discovery of the Angkor temples in 1860 opened up this ‘lost city’ to the world.

There is no direct flight from Medan to Siem Reap, so I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur and stayed there overnight because a flight to Siem Reap is at 7 a.m the next morning. It takes 2 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap. Although Cambodia is a member of ASEAN, upon arrival I have to complete form and apply for Visa on Arrival. Visa fee is USD20 per person for single entry, valid for 30 days.

Entering area of Angkor Temples, one of the most famous World Heritage Sites where exists Angkor Archaeological Park, visitor have to buy entrance ticket or admission pass from the official counters of Aspara Authority. Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. Visiting hour is 5.30 A.M to 5.30 P.M. While paying for the ticket , the teller shoots our face with pen size stand camera, and in seconds our photograph is printed on “non transferable entrance ticket”. We have to always carry the ticket. It will be checked upon each park entry and at major temples. There is a significant fine for not possessing a valid ticket inside the park.

The majority of Khmer temples are located in the Angkor Archaeological Park as well known as City of Angkor, a very large site with Tonle Sap Lake surrounded by temples in a range of different art and architecture style. It was a capital of Cambodia in the late ninth century, when Yasovarman I moved the capital to the immediate vicinity of Siem Reap. The temple ruins of Angkor contained within the Angkor Archaeological Park represent the remnants of the millennium-old Angkorian-era capitals of the ancient Khmer Empire.

Both sides of bridge are railed with statues

Tonle Sap lake behind the rail

A series of statues act as a fence

There are so many temple ruins in the Angkor Archaeological Park spread across more than 400 square km. The temples are in different artistic and architectural styles.They were built between the 8th and 13th centuries and range from single towers made of bricks to vast stone temple complexes.

One of the gateways into Angkor Thom

Motorbikes to hire ; called 'moto taxi'

One of around more than 100 large temples in Angkor'

Some of the statues and temples' wall are broken. According to the local people, it is caused by continuing rebel insurgency around the Angkor Region. This has caused some of the temples are closed to tourists. The major temples open to tourist are Khmer temples of Angkor Thom, Baphoun, Phnom Bakheng, Banteay Srei, Roluos Group, Grand and Small Circuits. Today, a great restoration work has been done on many of the temples. There are other temples located in the area, some up to 20 miles away from Siem Reap. Khmer temples can also be found in many other parts of Cambodia.

Visited on 12 April 2008 with group members from Pnom Penh (Normaline, Gindo), Jakarta (Laura, Priscilla, Winda, Katrina), Medan (Esther), Kuala Lumpur (Erna), Tuban (Marida, Benmarel, Benaya), Surabaya (Elly).


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