Blistering Cambodia


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.

TaProhmTreeonTempleTaProhmOvergrownTreeonTempleTaProhmCarvingatTaProhmTaProhmroots FaceintheRootsTaProhm

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.
FacesBanyanYellowUmbrellaBanyanTemple HeadscloseBanyan

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.

Like my photos? You can purchase some of my favorites from this and past trips here. Prints start at just $6.


  1. GORGEOUS. I had no idea.

    Is that a yellow hot air balloon in the sky above Angor Wat?

  2. I would like to know what you do with all your pictures after your trips? Do you put them in albums? Hang any on your walls? Or do nothing with them?

  3. Great photos!!! Great place! I wish you that you sell all! By the way, what's your favorite one from this serie you just posted?

  4. I was curious how you managed to get photos without people in them, a worthwhile strategy!
    The first image is really outstanding...Janell

  5. J+K: Its a baloon but I think its on some kind of line rather than free floating. I didn't go on it myself so I'm not sure.

    Danielle&Clint: Im terrible about putting them in albums but Im trying to get better about it. My plan is to design one of those blurb books to keep my favorites shots but I never seem to find the time to get it done.

    RG: If there is something you want, I can add it, I just tend to pick my favorites so its easier to scan. My fav is probably the very first one with the heads. I like the statue with the orange umbrella too.

  6. Your photos are amazing- it makes me want to get on a plane right this second and go visit myself! Those trees are out of this world, its so crazy the way they grow like that.

  7. Great pictures! How did you get to the temple? Is it in an isolated area? I want to go now!

  8. Funny story: when we were at Angkor Wat, I saw a lady working on a book of sodoku puzzles. Like she was waiting in a drs office or something. I guess one of the wonders of the world was not exciting enough for her!

  9. Great and interesting photos!

  10. Thank you for taking us with you on your travel! Wonderful photographs and so interesting to read your notes. At first I thought you used 'blistering' for the aged and patined surfaces (sorry - professional deformation). You'll never bore anyone with this!

  11. BellalovesPink: All of the temples in this post are fairly close to the town of Siem Reap (where we stayed). You can hire a guide as we did or take a tuk-tuk.

  12. One place I have wanted to travel for a long time. Now I really need to get my bags packed and tickets purchased.

    You may have covered this in another blog post, what kind of camera do you use? I am strating to look for a new digital.

  13. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Cambodia is truly magical. I was able to travel around Asia quite a bit and Cambodia has always stuck with me. I picked up a parasite or some such while there and was sick for a week, but I'd go back in a heartbeat. Great sights, great food and great people. You are right about the people. Oh how they have suffered, and that they can still smile is beyond me. Did you get to Phnom Penh? Tuol Sleng is absolutely indescribable. The Killing Fields left us speechless. So much potential in that beautiful country. I hope corrupt politicians don't ruin it.

    Thanks for sharing your trip.

  14. Breathtaking! What great photos! There is nothing more wonderful than travel.

  15. Love the photos, had a real good reminiscing moment and flash back of my travelling days. I'm glad you enjoyed it there and I share the same sentiments as 'Anonymous' re: S-21 prison camp and also the killing fields - ugh, that was depressing and saddening. We also visited a non profit charity but not the one funded by the Landmine museum one-it was near Angkor Wat where under-privileged/survivors of landmine children live - they really put a smile on your face and they practically have nothing.
    I've also posted my sunrise shot of Angkor Wat here:

    How i wish 3 mega pixel digi cameras existed back then!!! ;)


  16. Also an interesting journey when you and Mr. Limestone travel.

  17. These images are amazing.
    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  18. paisley: I use a D90.

    Anon: No, we only went to Siem Reap. Our main purpose was to see the ruins but we were still amazed by the stories we heard and the warm hearted people we met.

  19. Anonymous3:25 PM

    Beautiful stunning photos. Kind of reminds me of Tomb Raider.
    Ri likes J.D. Salinger, is “I May Be Seymour Glass” on Flickr, makes bisaya short films and is partial to flowers Vancouver

  20. It just amazing isn't it? I have never seen anything like it before. Thanks for taking us along on your trip.

  21. Your photos are always so captivating. Hope you enjoyed your trip! Thanks for the peek at the culture and beauty of the country.

  22. I am in love with you images!!! will add this post to my friday links... have a great one!

  23. Gorgeous photos! What a trip and I can't wait to hear more about it.

  24. Anonymous3:48 AM

    The contrast between black and white and the green lilies is stunning.

    Here are Montreal flowers you might like.

  25. Seriously, your photos are ALWAYS freaking amazing! You blow me away. Everything you do is amazing, actually.

    And I miss you guys! Please please please make some time to come visit us sometime this summer??

  26. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Thanks for posting beautiful pictures, I have been planning for a trip to Cambodia for some time.

    Reading you post, help me to convince my family that cambodia is the place to go for 2011.

    Thanks Blogger :-)


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