Siem Reap-Angkor, I am long for these names, the name of the place where Khmer rich cultural heritage set its foundation some 1,400 years ago, and now one of most well-known tourist sites in Cambodia. I have a chance to come here again after coming here 2 times during the last 2 years.
I arrived here on the morning of 2nd, November 2012. It is foggy morning as I stepped down from the bus, only Tuk-Tuk and Motor-Dup drivers welcome me. It is neither the first time I am here nor the last but this time it is completely different. I am here alone joining Blog Fest Asia 2012, annual meeting of bloggers from Asia, without any friend or family members, only some online friends waiting me at the event. I am sure we will become offline friends soon, and I surely know I am going to befriend more people.
I have been here 2 times for the last 2 years, but I never had chance to visit Angkor Wat, the biggest religious monument in the world, it likes I did not even visit Siem Reap.
The thing which impresses me the most is Heritage Tour: Tour of the Ancient Wonders. Like what I have mentioned above, I would like to visit the majestic Angkor Wat very much after spending 2 previous times only in the town and pub street.
I could barely wait for the registration and welcome speech by the organizers to finish as then I could freely go out roaming those Ancient Wonders. A friendly Tuk-Tuk driver took us there, and I eagerly jumped out from Tuk-Tuk even before it stopped and run toward the bridge in front of Angkor Wat and yelled “Angkor, here I come!”
I toured Angkor Wat in different route from other tourists, so that I could enjoy a quiet walking environment and enough space for taking photos. I took the quiet northern route and entered the temple from its back entrance on the east. I circled the temple, viewing the carving of Churning of Ocean of Milk, a myth I am told since I was young.
I climbed up the stairs and again circled the five main towers of the temple. On some columns, there are inscriptions from the 16th century and I can read some sentences as I have read them before in the book: Cambodian Middle Age Inscription. I feel awesome to be able to read those letters, even I couldn’t read all, but still I do read some.
I spent two hours at Angkor Wat, walking back and forth enjoying the beautiful carvings on the wall. I am amazed by the enormous size of this structure and I feel like I am a man in the giants’ land.
Leaving Angkor Wat, I went to Bayon where we can see many big four-faced towers standing out of each other. The faces at Bayon are gigantically magnificent to me; all those faces smile and give me the sense of mercy and compassion. Bayon is built to worship Mahayana Buddhism unlike most temples which are built to dedicate to Hiduism whether for Shiva or Vishnu. The four-faces tower doesn’t represent Bhama in Hinduism but showing the four concepts of Buddha: Mercy, Compassion, Unselfishness, and Neutrality.
Walking eastwards, I came to Bapoun which most parts were destroyed by storm hundred years ago and were reconstructed during this last decades. I tried to locate the Reclining Buddha in the front of the temple, but to no avail. Bapoun is a pyramid temple building on strong sandstone foundation at about 20 meters high. The walk way is a bridge-like one on the east.
Climbing up to many stairs I came to the final point where the top tower lies. Unfortunately, a sign bans people for climbing up any higher. Climbing down to the back of the temple, I accidentally came across the Reclining Buddha which was actually built later in the 16th century. It is mass assembling of many blocks of sandstone from the temple to build the status which sizes as big as the temple. You probably won’t notice the statue easily as it is very enormous.
After the temple tour, the night walk to the famous Pub Street relieved me of my numbed feet resulting from long hours of walking and climbing.
It is another new experience of traveling, and I feel I can be more independent and start my own backpack travel soon. 🙂