I use the word blistering for two reasons. One its hot as Hades there - the heat and humidity is completely unescapable unless you hide out in your hotel room (which would certainly defeat the purpose of visiting!). But I also mean that its becoming quite a popular tourist destination. Considering its not so distant past, its changing fast to accomadate all of the global travelers that want to see Angor Wat and the hundreds of other temples Cambodia has to share. In large part its why we chose to go now - we wanted to see the temples before they were too greatly changed by the tourist machine and/or destroyed by tourist traffic itself. In that respect, it did not disappoint.
I won't bore you with too many of the temple details but each of them had their own character and interest.
Our first stop was the granddaddy of them all, Angor Wat.
Next up was Ta Prohm, likely most famous by Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raider movie.
As you can probably tell from the photos, its the trees that are the real attraction here. Gorgeous branchy growths have grabbed hold of the temples making it quite an interesting view of nature taking back the land. In reality, this temple's trees are cut back regularily and work is being done on the temple itself to maintain the structure. But that doesn't make it any less impressive to visit.
At this point, we were all melting and the appeal of the temples were wearing thin on us. So we planned to just high tail it back to town until we passed by Banyan. We just had to stop.
The sculpted faces were really amazing and beautiful.
We visited at off hours (the middle of the day) to avoid as many of the crowds as we could. The difference between having the area mostly to yourself versus fighting with big tours is substantial so well worth the trade off in terms of uncomfort and poor photo lighting conditions.
Based on the guidebooks, we had expected to be swarmed with children begging and following us around. We really didn't experience very much of that at all. There were a few children selling knick knacks but they politely asked once or twice and then left us alone. We were never asked for money once. Not sure if that had to do with the way we timed our visit or just luck but we had nothing but positive experiences with the people living there. While the temples were beautiful, its the people of this country that really resonated with me. More about that later.
Click here to see the rest of our trip to Cambodia.
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