Let's start with Angkor Wat. P.S. We're now in Laos!
05.05.2007 32 °C
Witten on May 5...., recollecting the day of April 26...
Gees.. I don't even know where to start! It's been so long! I just found pics from Bangkok, but for the sake of moving this along, let's forget about them and focus on Cambodia.
This is the border crossing.
First and foremost, I must say that I have failed at my attempt of going to a McDonalds in every country I visit, as I didn't see a single one in Cambodia (you know a country is poor when...!).
The following is loosely inspired from Aliya's journal (since she's been good and wrote in it most days, aka, when the info was fresh. Note to self: buy freaking journal!!)
Note throughout Cambodia Lonely Planet: "Stay on marked paths, as there are probably land mines near by".
How many people do you know who get lost going to one of the largest religious structure in the world? - we do!
This is the view we had while biking on the dirt path trying to find the main entrance to Angkor Wat. As previously mentioned, we eventually made it to the right entrance (after two failed attempts on the same day) and decided to call it a day until the following day.
On our second attempt, with a Tuk Tuk driver, we (he) managed to make it to the site. Angkor Wat is thought to be the world's largest standing religious structure. To get to it, one has to walk on a bridge to cross the moat that surrounds the site (the width of the water is 190m, for a total lenght of 11.5km by 1.3km), walk through the outer wall (which is 1025m by 800m), walk on a longer walkway, passing fields, ponds and smaller buildings, then walk through a second set of walls which protect the 3 towers of this temple.
Unfortunately, there is no remaining documentation on the site, and therefore most interpretations are in only assumptions and theories. It is thought to have been built to honor the king's power (who at the time may have been king-god), and/or as his thomb. Today it is used for tourism (obviously) but also as shrines to Buddha (there are several several several shrines and Buddhas throughout every temple). Many stories/legends are recounted through intricate carvings on the walls. In fact, there is no section left untouched and some of it is quite amazing (aka must have taken forever!!).
Since I don't really have a great pic of the 3 towers, refer to the "Welcome to Cambodia" sign, which is a small replica of Angkor Wat. This pic was taken from the top of the central tower, and we are looking at the small courtyard, it's surrounding wall, and the massive ourside courtyard, also surrounded by a wall. The entrance to the site is seen in the distance.
To get there (top of central tower), we had to climb super steep steps (and I'm a chicken when it comes to that). The first steps are nice and square, but the last 5 or 6, at the very top, are rounded (by time) and very scary. I had to consciously think "to not think" or look down or I would certainly have froze.
The following pic is taken in front of the central tower.
Ok, gotta start a new entry. This one is getting too big.