The largest religious monument in the World. Angkor Wat means “Temple City”. The monument was made out of millions of tonnes of sandstone and it has a greater volume as well as mass than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Angkor Wat Temple consumes about 6 million to 10 million blocks of sandstone with an average weight of 1.5 tons each. In fact, the entire city of Angkor used up far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian pyramids combined, and occupied an area significantly greater than modern-day Paris.

 “Is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of.” –  António da Madalena, portuguese monk.

 “One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged.”–  Henri Mouhot, French naturalist and explorer.

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My Personal guide: A very kind tuktuk driver.

He will show you around and will stop along the way to allow his clients to take pictures and do the shopping. He will wait patiently outside the temple to go to another destination. With his courteous smile and availability the figure I paid seems little to have that service all day.

Stay @  Claremont Angkor Boutique Hotel

The place has a convenient location 10 minutes away from the Siem Reap International airport and 10 minutes away to Angkor Wat by tuktuk transportation. The staff will greet you warmly as you enter in the building. It has an open space lobby with a view of the pool on the right side. The room is spacious, with complementary fresh fruits, coffee and water. I love the restaurant on the rooftop which serves different Cambodian and European dish. The view is peaceful and the staff are very friendly, polite and helpful. 

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Personal thoughts :

#remarkable old city

It’s 1pm, I just had a liquid lunch compose of coconut juice and cold water. It’s too hot. A lot of green around but no air. Not hungry at all, I’m still very thirsty. I walked too much. Each temple was huge and a lot of passage where I could wonder and lose myself. But my tuktuk driver is waiting outside. It is forbidden to get lost. It is like a dream I’m here. In the map this country looks close to the Philippines. But everything is totally different. The language, the alphabet, and even the history is very far from us, but I notice right away when I arrived in the airport that Cambodians and us (Filipinos) look quite similar. Some people would talk to me in their language and I would just smile and say I’m Filipina and I don’t speak your language. And the person will smile back and talk to me in english. They are very polite and soft spoken people. They have this version of our tricycle which they called tuktuk that I like so much. The wind I get when the tuktuk is on for a ride is priceless. I’m sweating, and it’s so dusty and hot.The afternoon air is a sweet remedy. They use US dollars around the city.It’s convenient for most of the tourist. Later I have learned that this country suffered greatly. Millions of people died at the hands of Khmer Rouge. They are Cambodians fellow country men, brutal and murderous lead by Pol Pot. The genocide between 1975-1979 caused by the group, killed millions of people. While the Khmer Rough was gaining power, U.S government had very little interest in the event. General William Westmoreland, the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, stated, “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner.  Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient.” It was very sad.

 Back to my thoughts into the temple, it was indeed a very extraordinary place. I start to imagine, and questions flooded my mind. Where did they get all these stones? Who were these beings and how they were able to do all these carvings on the wall? Were they giants? What kind of technology did these ancient use to carve these faces into hard stone? Why we cannot make something like this anymore with all the available advance tools we have today?

I visited each temple. I climbed every ladder I could. I enjoy to be in the high places and this experience gives me that great opportunity. The ladder looks very dangerous. Each step is quite difficult, every level is of different height and the foot step is narrow. They made that for some purpose. I am trying to  be concentrated as much as I can because my mind can drift away easily. I always manage to climb up to the last level. It’s always a good feeling. Going down is a hard task. With great care I never hurt myself.

My personal guide and driver is waiting for me always with the smile outside the temple. We didn’t talk much.  But I always have a good feeling for him. He speaks good English. He never bother my silence. He just talk when I ask him questions.

Lots of people are trying to offer any kind of goods in the street. Some will just try to talk and will ask donation for their school or whatever. Some ladies carrying children will ask for money.

 Most of the tourist especially the Western travellers feel distressing emotions upon the sight of poverty and misery in the developing world. Some cannot stand it and so they try to change it. Cambodians have a tragic past but they are overflowing with kindness, their face are beautifully enlightened by simplicity and their smile is like an honour on how they rebuilt themselves. Perhaps I will close this after thought with inspirational words from Tupac.

 “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest lost is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.”

 

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