One of the reason we visited Siem Reap is because of their Angkor Temples. These ruins are the most famous archaeological sites in Cambodia that reminds Khmer’s historical events.
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The main highlight is the Angkor Wat which is the capital of the city of temples in early 12th century — built for the Hindu god Vishnu. But what happened to this city that made it as one of the iconic and largest religious monument of the world? What ruined it?
Let’s talk about a little history here since that’s what we came there for. During the Khmer empire and the reign of King¬† Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat is the biggest capital of world. It was made of sand stones thatwere traveled from the sacred mountains miles away to the old city by big elephants. It was said that the entire temples were created within 3 decades under the same king.
Cambodia and Thailand
However, the mystery of the lost city appears to be solved by some researchers who spent their lives studying about it. There are speculations that it was lost due to a major drought that caused illness to the Khmers and to the fall of the great city.
There was also a great war between Thailand and Cambodia and it took time before they won the fight. Their religion was once Hindu and was changed to Buddhism. Its history is quiet remarkable but I won’t dig deeper to it.
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During our visit, we visited 4 temples only and they are Ta Phrom, Baphuon, Bayon and Angkor Wat. The city is so big that one day tour isn’t enough. There are 3 kinds of passes — one day, three days and seven days. We got the one day pass since we have a limited time for $34 each. Last year, it was still $20 but it increased just this year.
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We hired a tuktuk driver, which is Mao who is our guide, lecturer and a photographer that time. You might ask ‘why hire a guide when it’s a DIY?’. Well, you can’t reach the temple by foot and it is measured to 162.6 hectares so it is massive.
Tuktuk is $15 each and that includes cold bottles of water, guide and photographs. I would even highly recommend him because not all guides have dslrs and he knows where to find the best and the non-touristy spots.
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Neil and I enjoyed the temples while learning the history of it. The carvings in the stone are the best. They even carved animals they see during their time and guest what? There are dinosaur carvings and its truly fascinating. I was even looking for any extra-terristrial carvings ’cause we never know maybe they saw one.
Cambodia and Thailand

dino carving

Putting aside the imaginative and geek part of me, let’s move to other temples. In Ta Prohm, there’s a temple that has holes on it. Mao said those holes were once homes of the diamonds that was stolen by enemies during the great war. There are other holes in Angkor Wat that were caused by gun shots. You will also notice that many of the Buddha statue’s heads are missing. Mao said that it was cut off by Thais and brought in Thailand. While exploring, I was thinking if how many ancient people died there.
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Now, let’s check the temples we visited.
Ta Prohm
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Angkor Wat
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The experience is truly amazing and one of our best experience. We learned a lot of their history and was given the opportunity to explore the mysterious and sacred ancient city of Angkor Temples in Siem Reap. Imagine how it felt to live in the most biggest capital city in Southeast Asia.