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Visiting Bayon & Ta Prohm Temples of Angkor Wat

Written By: jipp - Jul• 18•12

Bayon and Ta Prohm are two of the most famous temples in Angkor Wat. We went there as part of the Mini Tour together with the grand Angkor Wat itself.

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When I first arrived and walked around the temple of Bayon, I realized instantly that there was something about it that was uniquely different from the other temples in Angkor Wat.

Somehow it appeared to be so ALIVE probably because it has those faces. The whole temple itself is smaller than I had expected so it didn’t take long for us to cover every nook and cranny of it.

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From Bayon, we walked our way to some lesser-known temples. Most of them were pyramid-shaped so we had to do a lot of climbing to get to the top from where we’d get the best view of the surrounding.

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It definitely demanded a little bit of stamina and energy but hey, we didn’t go there as a bunch of spoiled tourists. We went there as a bunch of, dengan izin, runners OK? 😀

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They really are a lot of things to be amazed at in Angkor Wat and each of the temples has its own significance. To tell the truth, I don’t really remember most of their names but one thing for sure is that they all look so ancient. Even the trees that surround them look so ancient.

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With so many temples and ruins scattered all over Angkor Wat, it really is hard to pick a favorite. If I had to name one, I’d say the Leper King Terrance stands out prominently probably because I really liked the carvings of sitting gods and goddesses on its walls.

Some of them glow luminously in pink, or rather orange, as if they are ready to rise and walk off the walls any time any minute.

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Just across the road from The Leper King Terrace was what appeared to be a cluster of food stalls – or rather wooden restaurants canopied under the lush greenery of leafy trees.

The Tuk Tuk driver actually gave us the option of going somewhere else, probably in some lesser touristy area where foods were expected to be cheaper but one of the restaurant staffs was fast to approach and offered to serve us with meals at a discounted (and reasonable) price.

“I’ll give you the best price but please don’t tell the others”, she whispered conspiratorially in a lowered voice.

LOL! So typical of restaurant agents as I call them. With an assurance by the Tuk Tuk driver that the prices offered were actually OK, we found ourselves tagging right behind him over to the restaurant later.

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We couldn’t afford to waste more of our time looking for some other place to eat just for the sake of saving a buck or two when we still had a long way to go.

The fact that it was just a long wooden hut roofed under corrugated iron sheets made it a little bit less convincing to our judgmental eyes but the way they set up the table actually made it look quite nice and cozy. I think we all agreed in the end that the foods were not bad at all.

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WE continued visiting a few more temples and there were more and more stairs to climb. The temples and the stairs came perfectly well with monks in pictures so we had the best of time capturing whatever there was to capture on camera.

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The fact that I was going to run for the Angkor Wat Half-marathon the very next day made me worry a little but I kept telling myself that I didn’t register for the run to win (not that I stood any chance anyway. Haha! Gulp!)

It was 4 pm when we finally had (almost) all the temples covered. Of course we would never leave Angkor Wat without going to what is now considered one of the most iconic trees in the world – thanks to Angeline Jolie for making it so famous after it was featured in her movie Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider.

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Taking a picture in front of the tree had proved to be not an easy task as I later found out. Most of the tourists who are there on tour packages would be brought there just to take pictures in front of the tree so it attracts quite a bit of a crowd all day long.

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They have set up a wooden platform on which you can stand and take photo with the tree right behind your back but there was a big crowd of people all wanting to take photo so everybody was expected to do it quickly. Of course a kiasu can always find his way in. 😛

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The trees and their reptile-looking roots might be the temple’s most distinctive feature now but the fact that they are living things that continue to grow worries a lot of Ta Prohm’s enthusiasts.

The trees might be famous for where they are now but there are growing concerns over their detrimental effects on the structures so sooner or later they’d have to be removed..

.. WHICH WAS WHY we were happy to be there before that actually happened. 😛

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We ended our tour by walking over to Banteay Kdei, a long temple that makes you feel like you are completely in another time zone as you traverse along its long hallway.

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Just when we thought we had the temple all to ourselves, a little girl came out of nowhere and begged for us to buy her hand-woven bangles for 1 dollar each. Seriously, it was the most piteous voice that I’d ever heard in my entire life. She kept tagging behind us – to Ulai especially – from one end of the temple right to the other and continued to beg, half-crying.

“One dollar miss. One dollar.. Please..”

1 dollar. Come to think of it now, it was only RM3 something. What was so hard about letting go of RM3? She could be starving. Her whole family could be starving too. I imagine her mother’s utter disappointment when she came home empty-handed. They’d go to sleep that night with an empty stomach. All because somebody was so stingy to let go of 1 dollar.

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If there was something that little girl learned from Ulai that day, it’d be the fact that the world is such a cruel world to live in. She didn’t buy anything from the girl. Not a single thing. Nil. Nada.

One dollar.. 😀

It was a perfect ending nevertheless. We came in through the entrance and exited at a beautiful gate on the other end of the temple and found out that we were back in the open. A beautiful lake was there to welcome us, sparkling in red hues in reflection of the sky above it so I was again stunned and mesmerized for the umpteenth time.

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It really was a beautiful evening in Angkor Wat. The relaxing view, soothing atmosphere and the refreshing air that comes with it – those are the things that are very hard to come by nowadays. Youth playing soccer and kids chasing each other on the field, all adding in to such a beautiful surrounding.

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My days in Angkor Wat would forever be remembered.

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7 Comments

  1. thomas says:

    Nice temple,the stairs look like those on the pyramid.

  2. LJ says:

    wow!!!

    i miss Cambodia n “one dollar” too! hahahahhaha..
    berpeluh-peluh ni sight-seeing cni kan..

  3. Everytime I read your blog, I feel like transported to the place you narrated. Honestly, this is the best so far of Angkor Wat narrative experience that I ever read.

    Ang Galing

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