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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

the "Mother of All Temples" that is ANGKOR WAT

I took the liberty of using the word "shockingly" as a superlative so as to describe the awesomeness that is Angkor Wat because I find it difficult to find a word that could give justice to its majesty,beauty and grandeur.I wasn't even close.


Ah.Angkor Wat! At last.To say that it was one of our most anticipated part of the trip would be an understatement.I was holding back the excitement since landing in Vietnam and being here finally is indeed a dream come true.I never felt lucky being a citizen of Southeast Asia.This region is amazing, and Angkor Wat and the whole Angkor Complex is Shockingly Amazing!

Did you know that Angkor is the Earthly representation of Mt. NERU? (The Mt.Olympus of Hindu faith). It is glorious. I felt dwarfed being in front of such a great work of genius but at the same time felt overjoyed laying witness to its grandeur and enduring magnificence.

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ANGKOR WAT ---"Mother of All Temples" 
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At the height of Angkor Kingdom, the population was thought to have peaked at around 1 million, that at a time when London was still small with roughly 50,000 inhabitants. Of course not of all these people lived in temples like Angkor as the right to live in stone structures is reserved for the gods.Yes, the kings of Angkor were considered king-gods as they declared so.Ordinary people would have to live in wooden houses therefore which are non-existent today of course.

Hail the god-kings therefore for their passion and at some point obsession to construct temples that would better the other.These are not just rock structures of course as they also serve as religious sites.

Angkor,until today,is still the largest religious building.It wasn't the first constructed but it is considered the mother of all temples in the Angkor Complex where thousands of temples are to be found.

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There is so much history in Angkor Wat alone.Overwhelming!So much to marvel at.The physical structure that you can see by the naked eye is one thing but the story behind all of it is another.Of course I will not discuss that here or else I would be writing a book instead of a blog entry.That is for you to discover.You should make it a matter of goal to visit this place in your lifetime.
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Be Transported to Another Space and Time

Being here is like going back to time.And with the word "back" , I don't just mean a few hundred years but almost a millennium. A feeling that you rarely get elsewhere.

That feeling actually starts the moment you get your day pass at the ticketing office and navigate the narrow road dotted with giant trees on both side.Making the bend to Angkor Wat's Western gate, you will be greeted by a still lake which I find very romantic in the early morning.We were here before sunlight so the landscape really got more dramatic.

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How much is the Entrance Fee?
Entrance fee for a single day pass is $20 per pax.
That includes all the temples in Angkor Complex. 1 to sawa!

Other options:
3 days visit (1 week validity) -- $40
7 days visit (1 month validity) --$60

Ticket Office opens as early as 5am. Don't feel like cheating coz photos are taken on site and they are very efficient with the id system.Instant ID with your photo in less than 3 minutes. How I wish we can have that efficiency here.
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That early, hundreds of people were already marching the sandstone causeway of the main entrance.Stepping on the stone,you can feel its strength. I was busy being awed by what I was witnessing but my feet were also conscious as if the stones remind them that they were the same stones where the gods stepped on.

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morning
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before noon

We were directed by our tuktuk driver to get inside the gate and get to the pool in front of the main temple and wait for sunrise there.I used the word "main" coz I honestly thought we were already looking at Angkor Wat Temple itself while at the causeway but those were only the towers I saw coz you can only see the whole structure once you get inside the gate.


SUNRISE IN ANGKOR WAT
Many highly suggest that you either go to Angkor Complex before sunrise of sunset as the view of the temple is really amazing during this time especially during sunrise when you can see the reflection of Angkor Wat on the pool in front of it.There are two pools actually on both sides but the one on the left was with more water during our visit (summer) so that's where most people gathered.When we came, it was already full of tourists and it was quite difficult to find a spot. Whether  you are here to take photos or simply marvel at the view, the experience is equally rewarding.

Unlike other temples, Angkor Wat faces West.It could also be appreciated best therefore during sunset.

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sunrise in Angkor Wat


How to Get to Angkor Wat/Angkor Complex

If you are on a d.i.y budget travel, tuktuks are the cheapeast way to go.You can a whole day tour for only $15. In our case, we left the hotel 4:30am for sunrise at Angkor Wat so we agreed to add $3 more. $18 total.Taxis are also available a a more expensive price if you think you cannot handle the heat but I say tuktuk is still the best way to go as being exposed to the elements,yes even the sunlight, is part of the beauty of the whole experience.


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One can freely wander in and around the temple without any restrictions other than not enter the uppermost level if prayers are ongoing.Yes, Angkor Wat is until now, a functioning religious site where monks practice their religion.I was surprised how the place is left so open to the public thereby making it more susceptible to damage caused by undisciplined tourists.

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The intricate design,even the stone carvings on the inner court walls of the temple are in constant battle with the elements and the hands of uneducated visitors.

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Guides wander around the complex.They wear white long sleeves and they would approach you to offer their services for a historical tour inside the temple for $2 per head.And that's one of the regrets I have during our visit.

We failed to have one,I mean, my friends didn't feel like hiring one so I simply submitted.We would have appreciated the place deeper if we did. What is $2 for learning the rich history of Angkor Wat nga naman. Angkor Wat is considered the mother of all temples in Angkor Complex lang naman and the epicenter of Khmer Civilization. The walls, the architecture, the monuments all tell a story and we declined it.This temple was the epicenter of the whole Angkor Complex.The "Mother of All Temples", its story is linked to all the other temples so if you wanna understand the place, better start with understanding Angkor Wat.

I ended up buying an $8 book instead. So yeah, if you find a guide wandering around, do yourself a favor, kayo na magtawag.Wink *****
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This was part of our Day Tour of Angkor Complex which lasted from 5am-2pm.
WHO TO HIRE?
Tuktuks are everywhere so it's pretty easy.You can randomly call one and negotiate.As long as you don't go far from $20, that's ok. If you arrive at night (like we did) I would suggest you contact the tuktuk driver who will take you to your hotel.Especially if you are planning for an early departure for sunrise.

Our Driver was Mr. SARIN
and I can highly recommend him.He is nice and he will take care of you.
contact him: (855) 070 69 74 84 or 097 83 24 995
He has a website: www.siemreaptransport.com

More on Angkor Complex soon.
Up next, 
Angkor Tom
Bayon
Baphuon
Ta Prohm


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3 comments:

  1. ang laki ng place at ang ganda ng view ahh,
    napakareach din talaga ng culture nila nu
    buti at na preserve nila ng maayos ayos yun entire place

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am glad I was able to read your blog. I am planning to visit Ankor Wat anytime soon and your blog gave me some ideas on how to go about it. I am also interested to know more of travelling from Seam Reap to Bangkok. Have you experienced it already or do you have any write up about traveling from Siem Reap to Bangkok?

    ReplyDelete
  3. My First Visit...
    May I copy your Pic and take to my Blog?

    ReplyDelete

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