. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: October 18, 2000

Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia's Flag

Map
Siem Reap, Cambodia:
Latitude: 13° 21' 50" North
Longitude: 103° 51' 14" East
Altitude: 74 feet
From Seattle: 8360 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Apsara Angkor Guesthouse

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: Cambodia
Region: Angkor
Start: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Stop 1. The Bayon, Angkor
Stop 2. Ta Prohm, Angkor
Stop 3. Ta Keo, Angkor
Stop 4. Angkor Wat, Angkor
End:Siem Reap, Cambodia
Linear:16 miles
Weather: Partial Sun / Rain

Available Photos:

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

Tower face at the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs at the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs at the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs at the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The central tower of the Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

The Bayon Angkor, Cambodia

Elephant Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Gate to Royal Palace enclosure Angkor, Cambodia

The Royal Palace Angkor, Cambodia

The Royal Palace Angkor, Cambodia

Elephant Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Reliefs on Lepers Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Elephant Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Phimeanakas? (across from Elephant Terrace) Angkor, Cambodia

Elephant Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Elephant Terrace Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Tree and door at Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Roof top of Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins and tree, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Tree and Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Tree and Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Mossy ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Tree and Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins, Ta Prohm Angkor, Cambodia

Top temple, Ta Keo Angkor, Cambodia

Looking down from top of Ta Keo Angkor, Cambodia

Looking across moat to Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Looking across moat to Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Entrance structure of Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat from entrance Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat from entrance Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Central tower of Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, towers from front Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, towers from front Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, towers from front Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Lower gallery walkway, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs, Angkor Wat: "Churning the Sea of Milk" Angkor, Cambodia

Wall reliefs, Angkor Wat: "Churning the Sea of Milk" Angkor, Cambodia

One of the corner towers, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

One of the corner towers, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Looking down at main entrance, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

One of the corner towers, Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

Monk at Angkor Wat Angkor, Cambodia

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1287
Linear Dist: 245119
Countries Visited: 72
Regions Visited: 271
More stats...
Hotels: 500
Friends / Family: 302
Camping: 130
Hostels: 261
Transit: 80
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4313
Hide...

Journal Entry:
I got up at 6:30 and had a quick breakfast and then set out to look for a car. While I was out I found someplace that would break a hundred dollar bill, so I have smaller money now - I was a bit worried about having to change that much money as it would be hard to spend. I headed back to my guest house and hired a moto (scooter and driver) - there's just me, and it's a lot cheaper than a car anyway.

I started my explorations at the ancient city of Angkor Thom. It was a great ride out there. We passed numerous ruins including the famous (and incredible) Angkor Wat reflecting in the still waters of its huge moat. The road enters the city through the original southern gate. Here's where I got my first taste of what was to come. Leading up to the gate is a giant stone bridge whose railing is made of dozens (hundreds?) of statues of gods holding a giant snake. The gate itself is a huge conical structure with giant faces looking out in the four cardinal directions - very compelling I almost strained my neck trying to keep it in site after we passed through it.

In Angkor Thom the first place I got to explore was the incredible Bayon. It's a huge three tired pyramid like structure. It's most striking feature is the fifty-four towers arranged over the top of the structure. On each of the towers there are - again - four giant faces eerily staring down at you. There were also what seems like miles of vaulted passages and rooms to explore. On the outer walls there are over 1,200 meters of carved bas reliefs depicting more that 11,000 figures (from the guide book). All in all incredible! The best part was due to my early start I had the place to myself when I first got there. About an hour after I arrived the tour busses started to roll in. It was still big enough that you could avoid the mobs, but I still felt that it was time to go.

The next stop was at the nearby Baphuon, also in Angkor Thom. I walked around the giant pyramidal Baphuon but the structure itself is closed for restoration (looks like a big job). I wandered next door through the Royal Palace (that's what all the locals called it, it's not even in my guide book), which was nice mostly due to the peace and quiet (ignoring the venders which were particularly blood thirsty here - I don't think the officials bother with clearing out this section yet). In front of the Royal Palace I passed through a small temple and gate out on to the Terrace of Elephants a 350 meter long platform covered in carvings (lots of which are elephants). Next to the Terrace of Elephants was the Terrace of the Leper King, a smaller platform whose sides are densely covered with carved dancing women. I also wandered through some huge nearby temples that aren't even on my map - there is just so much here!

Then we left Angkor Thom through the east gate (more faces and another stone bridge) following the road to Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is a huge, one of the largest structures in Angkor, twelfth century Buddhist temple. What's really interesting about it is that it's been left just the way it was when it was discovered over a hundred years ago. It's falling down, there are giant tree roots cascading over and through many of the structures, and it's possible to scramble almost anywhere you can. It's dirty, mossy, infested with spiders, insects, and bats. It gave me goose pimples to climb over piles of rubble and easily imagine what it would have been like to have discovered it in the jungle. It satisfied all my lost city fantasies and was beautiful as well. After a couple of hours I was on my way out and ran in to my parents group. They seemed pretty excited about what they'd seen so far - they'd just come from the Bayon.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed so I took a break for lunch. I ate at one of the local stands set up - a big plate of delicious fried rice. Then it was back towards Ankgor Thom to Ta KeoAngkor Wat.

Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world. All I can say is wow! It's sublime, beautiful, graceful, and mysterious. Did I mention huge? The moat encloses nearly a square mile! There are again three levels. The outer wall of the first level is completely covered with incredibly detailed bas relief carvings depicting legends. Each level consists of a square ringed by a complex circuit of inter-winding galleries and corridors. The third level in crowned by four corner towers and a hundred plus foot central tower - all intricately carved. I spent two hours wandering around - from the way my legs feel mostly going up and down stairs. On my way out I met my parents again. They were coming in to watch the sunset. I wanted to go up a nearby hill and watch the sun set behind Angkor Wat so we made arrangements to meet for dinner again and I headed off.

About half way across the moat bridge I heard rain and could see it on the water and the bridge behind me but it was approaching at the same speed I was walking so I was just ahead of it until I hit the end of the bridge. It started to pour. I decided against climbing the hill (there wasn't going to be a sunset now) and headed back for Siem Reap. The rain got even heavier and we stopped to take cover under a sagging roof for a half hour until the rain lightened a little. When I finally got back to the guesthouse I was soaked. I took a shower and laid down to work on my journal but there was a power failure so I fell asleep. I woke up after a half hour and realized I was going to be late to meet my parents. I ended up being twenty minutes late but then we just sat around the room for an hour anyway. We took a tuk-tuk to a recommended restaurant (by both of our guide books). Dinner was fantastic - curry served inside a coconut shell. We tried to make plans for tomorrow, but the logistics were complicated (they have to fly our in the afternoon and getting their luggage could be tricky), and with the weather unknown it seemed risky to commit to going to the ruins together. So in the end we just agreed to meet back in Bangkok the day after tomorrow.


Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Siem Reap
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Cambodia
CIA - The World Factbook: Cambodia

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