It’s a word I always associated with Cambodia, but never really knew why. There was also a permanent negative connotation to the word; my childhood memory banks are to blame probably, with the Khmer always being followed by Rouge.
It turns out that scrubbing my ignorance on the matter was one of the best parts of this trip so far. Khmer culture, or Cambodian culture is not so different from other countries that we have been too thus far. Checkered scarfs, praying hands greetings, full body massage all come to mind from our time in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
The real spectacle lies a few minutes north (by tuk tuk) of Siem Reap in ancient Angkor. This vast tract of land is home to some of the most impressive temples I’ve ever seen. My words cant do it justice so here are some photos instead.
1- The west gate to Angkor Thom, an (at least) 3×3 sq km complex completely surrounded by giant stone walls.
2- Bayon. A massive complex where the king lived. There are 216 carved faces in the towers looking at you from every direction.
3- Dark Erin, bright face.
4- The Baphuon, an earthly representation of Heaven.
5- Some carvings from The Terrace of the Elephants. This was a public forum.
6- Temple at the north eastern corner of Preah Kahn, a massive city structure with a never ending central hallway and a labyrinth of side passages.
7- A glimpse down the outer wall of the Angkor Wat main temple at dusk
8- Angkor Wat’s main temple silhouetted at sunrise.
9- The 3rd level of the Angkor Wat temple.
1- Angkor Wat
2- The west gate to Angkor Thom
4- The Baphuon
5- Terrace of the Elephants
6- Preah Kahn
7- Ta Prohm (The Tomb Raider Temple)