Our last summer hurrah was Siem Reap. It was our first time to Cambodia and she did not disappoint. The main attraction is Angkor Wat and we quickly arranged a driver and tour guide via the hotel and headed out on our first full day. We did not arrive early enough for the ubiquitous sunrise photo, but it was amazing just the same.
Angkor Wat is an UNESCO World Heritage site and built in the early twelfth century. During that time it was the capital of the Kmer Kingdom. Angkor Wat was built to symbolize the Hindu world. The moat represents the oceans. The towers symbolize the mountain peaks and the surrounding galleries depict the mountain ranges surrounding Mount Meru.
One of the Angkor Wat entrances-- when arriving on elephants.
Most of the Buddhas are headless due to war and pillaging. Many bas-reliefs have been pried off. Luckily, these five apsaras have weathered the test of time.
The view from the temple to one of the surrounding libraries.
Smiling among the sandstone balusters.
One of several courtyard basins used for religious bathing.
There are many stories carved on the inside walls of Angkor Wat. The east gallery carving is the most famous. It depicts the story of milk churning. The story goes that the gods and apsaras rotated Mount Mandara with a serpent to churn the sea into the water of immortality.
Looking out at Angkor Wat from one of the surrounding libraries.
There's a reason Angkor Wat is so highly rated as a 'must see.' It is just amazing to think this massive city was built so long ago using thousands of elephants to transport the stones. It's so hard to believe even while walking amongst the halls. Tomorrow Angkor Thom...