Kennett’s Siem Reap, Day #2
And we’re off folks. Here is our first full day together in Siem Reap every. Here is Kennett’s Siem Reap, Day #2. First of all it’s off to the ticket office. If you are here for more than one day make sure you buy a three-day temple pass as it is the same price as a two-day. Just in case there are a few more you want to meander round. If you have any kids under the age of 12, make sure you take their passport to the ticket office with you, as that will save you $20 USD. Kids under 12 are free folks.
We grab a tuk-tuk for the day, truly the best way to see this beautiful country, but also to queue jump, and wiggle in spaces that traditional tour buses cannot. Also you are masters of your own destiny. You say where you want to go, not be shipped to the usual pre-determined ‘shop-stop’ where you have to look at silk, gems and other stuff that you never wanted to see in the first place. Get a tuk-tuk folks and have great fun whilst whizzing though the countryside. It is simply the must do way of getting round, and you really do get to see so so much more.
Here we are all good to go. Mary, Jude and Amy in the back clearly looking like fun is about to begin, and the boys in the back acting a little cooler, but clearly up for the surprises in store. Our first time to see Angkor Wat. Something that has been on my bucket list for years, but sadly neither Mary or I ever managed to drag ourselves up from Phnom Penh to there after we had done the Tabitha Charity House Building. But now we have – weeeee!!!
As you walk in you see this sign, which I love. “From who?” is the question on my lips?
Be prepared for crowds though, big crowds. And being hassled left right and centre – buy a book, buy a hat, take a guide etc. – until you get truly inside the temple itself. Calming and cooling in there, to a degree (still very crowded).
You first arrive and drive around the ‘moat’ that surrounds Angkor Wat. It is 190m across. Yes 190m across. And is man-made with hand-held tools. The feat is just incredible when you stand and see the scale of this. The surrounding wall is 3.6 Km long. A project that took 300,000+ people over 30 years to complete, some 800 years ago. Like the Pyramids and Stone-Henge, the rocks used in construction were shipped from quarries some 60km away by oxen cart, then raft, then elephant and then human grunt.
It literally means Temple City, and is reputed to be the largest religious monument in the world. Originally built by the Khmer King, Suryavarman II, covering 126 hectares. Can you believe it. It started life with Hundu faith following Vishnu, hence the mountain like shape (yep Hindu = mountain shaped temples, and Buddhism = single level temples). Towards the end of the 12th Century it converted to Buddhism. There is lots of chat re it’s West facing orientation – apparently they reckon that is because he built it as a state capital and eventual mausoleum, with the Hund faith leaning towards to the West, it symbolising death for them.
You seriously cannot help but be absolutely blown-way by this place. I’ll share a few pictures now to share with you what I mean, hopefully. Picture paints a… but believe me, you need to stand next to this place and see it in person. Breath-taking may be a vast under-statement.
All over all the temples you see the stones with these holes. It make you think and wonder, well it sure did me. What on earth are these for. Quite random. All over in fact. The answer was given to me. At the quarry these holes were bored in to the blocks, so that wooden rods could be inserted so that the workers could haul, manoeuvre and even carry the blocks in to position. It’s a device to allow precision of placement.
We visited the National Museum and there were some verbal translations of the Sanskrit that you could listen too. One stand out for me was a dispute between two neighbouring “Lords” arguing over land-rights. The King is this piece of Sanskrit I was looking at, decreed that they should have their hands and lips cut off to resolve the dispute.
Newbies to this but. We had 5 days and 4 nights. Get that 3 day pass for the temples. Spread out your exploring time. You really can get quickly templed out. Hence recommending to get your own tuk-tuk. Do it at your leisure not the tour guide. Break it up. Have a half day temple exploring and half a day exploring something else or just relaxing. As we did day #2. Back to the hotel and let the kids go bananas in the pool. Daddy clearly was enjoying happy hour and those peanuts. Just relax and contemplate what you have seen and what you will see tomorrow. This stuff has been there 800 years ++ it ain’t going anywhere, believe me!