Cambodia (Part 2): Angkor Thom


Let's get back up to speed shall we? Back in 2014 my dad came to visit me in China and we decided to take advantage of his time in Asia and go to Cambodia. We booked a few days of some photography guides from Peace of Angkor Tours since we didn't have much time to plan the trip and there is just so much to see. On our first day we visited the floating village of Tonlé Sap Lake and I wrote about it HERE if you want to truly get up to speed. Ok, now that we're caught up we can get going.

On our second day we got picked up at our hotel fairly early in the morning (although looking back, I'm kicking myself that we weren't up for sunrise every single day). This was going to be a long one, and lots of walking, in the heat and humidity, but totally worth it. The main attraction for the day was Angkor Thom. The word angkor means city, so for instance the famous Angkor Wat translates to temple city (something you would understand if you walked around the gigantic complex). Angkor Thom was an ancient royal city, complete with multiple temples, gates, terraces and anything else you could imagine. Our first stop for the day was the South Gate to Angkor Thom.

One thing that you probably noticed about the gate are the faces that were built into the structure. This is a bit of a theme around Angkor Thom and definitely the calling card of the first temple that we visited, Bayon. There are literally dozens of these towers constructed with faces facing each of the cardinal directions.

People actually do still use these temples to pray.

After Bayon, we wandered the ancient palace grounds and came to an active buddhist temple. After consulting our guide we were told it was totally acceptable to wander through and photograph the daily goings on, so we absolutely took that opportunity.

Finally, we made our way to the Terrace of the Leper King which contained some amazing reliefs. Since we were there in the rainy season, most of these were covered in moss which I absolutely loved.

Our next stop was actually outside of Angkor Thom and that was the temple Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm has always been spectacularly photogenic, but it has grown even more popular recently after the movie Tomb Raider used it as a setting for some of their scenes. The highlight of Ta Prohm is the total reclamation of the space by the jungle. Everywhere you look there are plants, moss and gigantic trees reclaiming the space that the temple builders borrowed for a couple hundred years.

Our last stop for the day was the most famous temple of them all Angkor Wat. It is hard to describe just how spectacular Angkor Wat actually is. Along with being gigantic it is architecturally beautiful and covered in reliefs.

This little guy who was living basically on the temple grounds took time out of throwing rocks at pigeons to strike this pose for me.

Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't great while we were there, so the grand scale images of the temple didn't turn out exactly how I wanted. But, that is just part of photography. If you can go somewhere and get the perfect shot the first time, every time, you are essentially magic and should start playing the lottery. Fortunately for me, we were going to be visiting this temple one more time but that is a story for another day.

Until the next time,

Ian

If you didn't get a chance to check out Part 1 of my Cambodia series you can check it out HERE. I am also working on an Iceland Series and I have a couple more new ideas in the works. If you want to make sure that you don't miss out on any of my upcoming posts, you should sign up for the newsletter below. I will let you know when new posts are up and that's it, you won't be getting any spam from me so don't you worry.

Also, if you would like to purchase any prints from any of the photos in this post, or any other blog post for that matter, you can find them HERE. If there is anything that you can't find just shoot me an EMAIL and we can see if we can work something out.

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