Angkor Wat – City Temple literally speaking is the largest religious complex in the world. There are hundreds of publications about this temple, so I’m gonna bring only most essential and possibly surprising history details. It is indeed one of the most incredible places in the world.
It is hard to believe Angkor Wat remained neglected from 15th century for 500 years. It was built in 1113 (date might be different in other sources) for Vishnu – one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. Vishnu along with Brahma and Shiva are considered of the holy trinity (trimurti) of Hinduism. The entire temple covers an area of about 500 acres and is one of the greatest archaeological sites of mainland. One of the precious piece of Angkor Wat walls’ is over 900 metres stone ‘arras’ (stone sculpture), which consists of more than 20 000 figures from realistic scenes of the Indian Ramayana and Mahabharat epics (more to find in the post: http://freestyletraveling.com/incredible-pai-northern-thailand/). The most famous is Khmer art showing gods with demons mashing up a Milk Sea to extract immortal elixir from the depths.
How to explore Angkor Wat?
Obviously you know that there are three passes for Angkor Wat. I would definitely recommend you take the three days, even if it sounds too much time – trust me it’s not. Try to feel the atmosphere of this stunning piece of art and history. It is possible to discover the area by bike but some distances are really huge and it takes lots of time to travel between the temples. A good idea is to hire a tuk-tuk which is accessible for 20-25$ for whole day. Leave the bike for the third day, to spend less and explore the area with no rush.
There’s plenty of accommodations in the area! An average room is possible to find even for 5$, a good one for 15$. One every two weeks I rented a better room just to have a little more rest and more facilities. The one with breakfast and swimming pool was for 30$ per night.
Food. There’s lots of small restaurants with very fair prices even for sea food and local specialities. Great fruit cocktails! The only thing what was a little irritating were chatting up children. It was obvious that they were pushed by adults to accost tourists and ask for money. Sometimes I had to even shout to let me go. The city is quite nice, colourful and very touristic. Considering the place it’s not surprising at all. After a long day sightseeing Angkor Wat massage is a great idea. They are really good there and cheap compering to other cities.
- Many temples of Angkor Wat are entwined by an old trees. It’s because the temples are made of sandstone which enables the trees to extract water from the stones.
- a Khmer architecture, in Khmer language “City Temple”.
- it’s the only temple which remain a religious centre since its foundation.
- Before Angkor Wat you need to visit the bats valley. It’s a small park near Angkor Wat with really high trees full of bats. I have never seen hundreds of bats hanging in a day light over the trees. Some of them were spreading their wings, which made me realise they are really huge! Walking the valley hearing all the sounds makes you feel like in Indiana Jones set.