Tessa and I opted for a three-day pass to the world famous Angkor Temples. Before we headed to the temples, we visited the Angkor National Museum and got some background information about the Khmer's and their various kings throughout their 600-year domination of Southeast Asia. Their best king was Jayavarman VII in the 12th century, who built many of the temples (there's dozens of them!) and also created hospitals, universities, and roads that are still the basis for modern Cambodian roads today.
At the museum, we were lucky to meet Kiel and Tammy Ongg, a really nice couple from Singapore, visiting the temples with their 10-year-old son Viv. Tessa was talking with them in Chinese and I was making shadow puppets with Viv, and they invited us to tour the temples with them the following day. Kiel had been there before and knew his way around, a big bonus for us who had no idea where to go first!
Me, Tessa, and Viv in the front gate.
They do elephant rides here. I don't really like how they treat the elephants, but I'm sure the customers enjoy their ride.
Inside they Bayon temple, famous for the faces
So amazing. The pictures don't do it justice.
Wall carvings everywhere. And they all have stories behind them. You can see the lighter sections have been reconstructed.
Terrace of the Elephants!
Seeing the temples with a 10-year-old boy was fun.
This one is called Ta Prohm
They left the trees. Pretty amazing, eh?
This is a famous spot because Toumb Raider was filmed here.
Somehow Viv snuck into all of our pictures. This is Angkor Watt, the most famous temple there!
Many of the temples have these apsaras, beautiful female spirits from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies.
This is in Angkor Wat; its a huge relief depicting King Jayavarman VII's defeat of the Thai invaders. Its so well-preserved and amazing to look at, but the pictures really don't do it justice.
You're not supposed to touch, but people do anyway, and that's what makes it shiny.
This is in the very center of Angkor Wat, with the whole family and Tessa! I'm taking the picture.
View from up top, where only high priests were allowed... Now anyone can go up, as long as you are covering your arms and shoulders and not wearing a mini-skirt.
These girls were about to give a performance
Love the costumes!
So concludes our first day touring the temples... two more to go!