Remotely Cool

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Angkor – words cannot describe

Angkor – the reason you go to Siem Reap. Sometimes you might think to yourself, “is it really that great?” — absolutely. Angkor should be on everyone’s itinerary when near Cambodia or in Southeast Asia. Being one of the Wonders of the World, It truly highlights and encapsulates the essence of the word ‘wonder’. This is how Collin ends his trip and where my brother Paul starts his, and what a way to end and to start. I would love to write about it and try to convey the grandeur of the sights with words, but that seems too much of a daunting task. I hope to show you Angkor through the view of my lens like a picture book – the good kind of books. In this story we start in Chiang Rai where Collin and I stopped to see the “white temple” before heading to Siem Reap. It was in Siem Reap that Paul joined us and off we went for two very full days of temple hopping in the once magnificent and still awe-inspiring kingdom of Angkor.

Chiang Rai

As you can see Chiang Rai is a very worthy detour simply to see this radically different temple. To give you a sense of how different Рthe inside of the temple had murals with pop culture icons on it (think Pokémon, Iron man, etc.)

Sometimes during a sunset you have to look in the opposite direction. Had this view to end our time at Chiang Rai.

The plane we took to Cambodia…I was excited because it had propellers but it felt like any other plane when it was in the air.

 

Pre – Angkor

Dy Preung – a man that suffered through the Khmer Rouge and prevailed.

 

I must put in some words here to explain how amazing this man is. He is one of the few artists to have survived the Khmer Rouge regime. Fore the horrors of the 1970s Proeung worked as an architect overseeing conservation works at Angkor. During this time he was able to draw very detailed architectural plans of many of the temples. During the Khmer Rouge regime he buried all of his plans and works and went into hiding. He is the only one of the four architects to have survived. When we walked in he was immensely proud of his life and could not have been happier to share it with us. He even gave Collin and I a free souvenir to take home. He is a living testament to never give up on your dream. He has now built an incredibly precise miniature rendering of some of the temples using his original plans. He is 81 and told us how he will begin to make another one that will take him 11 more years to finish.

Instead of emptying my wallet for a helicopter or hot air balloon over Angkor Wat, I simply payed two dollars and went up some stairs to get the same breathtaking view.

The exactness and the detail of the models is truly amazing.

 

Day 1

Our first view of Angkor Wat. The sun had just come up and we were transfixed for quite a bit (rightfully so).

The inner center of Angkor Wat. In fact, you can scroll up to the birds eye view of Angkor Wat and see the exact area that I am talking about!

The structures themselves are an example of pure genius. The carvings, however, are one of beauty and skill.

As we left Angkor Wat I couldn’t help but turn around and capture this awesome cloud formation. It was pointed out to me that the clouds seem to have formed an arrow that is pointing straight back at Angkor Wat.

We then made our way to Bayon and Angkor Thom where we saw a giant carved mural. This was definitely the most interesting image, take a close look and let me know what you think. Keep in mind that all these carvings were depicting the lives of the people who lived in Angkor.

Don’t scroll thru until you see the humongous reclining Buddha!

Now Angkor Thom, beautifully overtaken by the jungle (may recognize it from Tomb Raider).

You never know what’s smiling back at you in between the branches

Didn’t do the Angelina Jolie pose (whatever that is) but did take the classic picture in front of the famous Tomb Raider set.

Day 2

So I took a lot of pictures. However I am sparing you of every single picture I took and trying to show some highlights. I might not even have a picture for every temple I saw (as some of them might seem the same without a guide explaining the history and stories). Anyway, day 2 was a more adventurous day. On day 1, as you saw, we hit the major sights of Angkor with a guide explaining the history and significance of everything. Imagine that in front of Angkor Thom the king would be greeted with 600,000 elephants, in case you wanted some perspective on how large Angkor is. One more fun fact, there were moats around every large structure because the sandstone outsides were filled with sand and the moats kept the sand from spilling out and therefore allowing it to retain its structural integrity. If the moats dried out the temples would crumble (which we saw with the temples that had the moats dried out). On the second day Paul and I went to visit some of the more remote sites.

Let’s just say Sunset part 2 was much more successful… I must’ve filled up half my memory card in twenty minutes.

Every minute the colors seemed to changed as the sun rose

Here’s Paul, he gets to be my new model featured in the rest of my posts since he’s now the only person traveling with me.

I guess you can say that a lot of people want to get that Angkor Wat reflection shot

After the Angkor Wat sunrise we decided to spend the day at the remote temples of Angkor. This took us to the first one of the day that involved a little hike.

The hike culminated in a river with ancient carvings in the river bed and behind many small waterfalls!

We then got to see probably the coolest temple we saw thanks to these amazing, intricate, and deep carvings. They say that this temple is so beautiful that it must have been made by women because a man’s hand could not have carved such beauty.

Incredibly well preserved and incredibly detailed, carved in pink sandstone.

Angkor in a sandstone-shell

It is truly amazing. There is no other way to describe it. This would be hard to make nowadays with modern technology. They brought the blocks of sandstone from about a hundred kilometers away to build Angkor. Couple that with the engineering involved and the skill of the carvings and it truly is a Wonder of the World.

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