Cambodia, Pt. 1

It’s all about bucket lists. When you’re close to one you gotta go for it, and the flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap was less than an hour. Angkor has been on my list since I first heard about it not long after Apocalypse Now came out and I was doing research on the song “Holiday in Cambodia.” (Actually, it’s Kampuchea!)

Back then it was not the massive tourist destination nor the UNESCO World Heritage Site that it is today. Virtually unknown for years, it is one of the Alternative Wonders of the World. And tho’ the tour guide books/sites warn you about all the other tourists, they also say it is worth it. And tho’ the heat is sweltering here in late April, yes, it is worth it.

It is cool not only because it is vast, not only because it is old, not only because the stone architecture and carvings are amazing, but it is the art that I love – nature reclaiming the works of mankind, especially when both are so beautiful. Unfortunately, the evidence of global climate change is apparent here too as South East Asia is having a horrendous drought. Many of the venerable old trees that adorn the venerable old stones are dying.

We started this morning at Angkor Thom which features many magnificent towers with Buddha faces on four sides, along with hundreds of other beautiful carvings. First, through the entrance gate…

Among the splendors of Angkor are the relief sculptures. There were many, here are just a few…

At the center of Angkor Thom is Bayon, the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. In addition to the towers, here are pix of inside the temple, other wall sculptures, and some visiting monks…

Ceiling selfies Cambodia style…

More of Angkor Thom, including the hundreds of stones laying outside that have fallen off, been removed, or are waiting to be replaced, some panos, diagrams, and doorways…

Beyond Bayon is the Elephant Terrace, featuring more bas-relief sculptures, here too are some pix just inside and outside the walls…

 

Clips around Angkor Wat & Siem Reap…

IMG_7764

 

Study Questions:

  1. Research Cambodia. How is it the youngest Asian country? Discuss it’s recent history. What else did you learn.
  2. Research Angkor (Wat, Thom, etc.). How old is it? How was it built? What else did you learn.
  3. Click on any of the other links in this post. What else did you learn.
  4. Describe your favorite pix in this post, and why.

 

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