Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, owes its existence to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th through the 15th centuries.
We hopped a short, one-hour flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap yesterday, arriving at the ultra modern Onederz hostel just in time for an early dinner at the Angkor Night Market.
John tried crocodile meat, but I stuck with a known entity — the Cambodian version of sweet and sour chicken.
I’ve seen scores of dragonflies flitting about like flocks of birds throughout Southeast Asia. Siem Reap in Cambodia is no exception. Today as we toured the ruins of ancient temples, dragonflies kept us company on more than one occasion.
The jungle, as nature always does, has sought to overtake these timeless ruins, but thanks to about a century of reclamation work, led by the Ecole Francis d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO) and others, the structures give us a glimpse of their original glory.
Angkor is an archaeological fantasy. While the ruins are indescribably beautiful just as they are, check out this article to see how some of these ancient temples looked when new. It’s astounding!
Next to Angkor Wat, the most famous ruin is Bayon with its gigantic heads.
But I found some of the smaller, more intricate carvings at Bayon were much more interesting.
Buddhists still visit Bayon, and the other temples in Angkor, to pay their respects.
Banteay Kdei was the first temple we visited in Angkor. It is massive. It looked like the perfect set for an Indiana Jones flick.
We spent about six hours covering 9.3 miles today as we climbed stone steps, walked up and down long corridors, and ducked in and out of ancient doorways built for much shorter people. We saved touring the mighty Angkor Wat for another day.
But the dragonflies and temples of Angkor we did see were more than enough, making for an unforgettable day.