Angkor Park System
I really want to complain about the heat and humidity.
Do you want to hear about the 100 degree heat, high humidity and how my sweat has sweat?? And that I took three showers today? I am pretty sure the answer is no. So, I’ll describe my experience at Angkor Park System.
I am calling it a park system, much like our Yellowstone Park. You go to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful blow it’s spout; and people come to Angkor Park Area to see Angkor Wat but it’s so much more than than. Angkor means city, Wat means temple.
Angkor is one of the largest archaeological sites in operation in the world with over 4 million visitors a year. Established by the Khmer Empire of the 9th-14th centuries. All that remains of that civilization is its rich heritage of cult structures in brick and stone. And what a civilization it was which was left to the jungle until French explorers discovered it in the early 1900’s.
To enter the Park System, it’s a stop at the Tourist Police and a line. It’s $20 to enter the system. They take your picture and give you your pass; your pass you wear around your neck rest of the day. At random places, Park Rangers (if you will) will check and sure you have your pass on.
There are temples after temples. Villages after villages. Gates lined with God’s on one side; demon’s on the other. This gate takes you into the city of Vot (Sounds like Tom.) The city contains a real variety of temples, walk ways and little glances into an ancient civilization.
At first, you are oh WOW, look at that face smiling at me with a smile bigger than the Mona Lisa, and look at that; and that. Stand here, take a picture; stand there I need a picture. And this is all before the mother of them all, Angkor Wat.
We first saw the temple called Bayon. The stairs are steep, and the crowds thicker than syrup in January. The photo opportunities are endless. You are up and personal on everything and essentially allowed to climb almost anywhere but on the smiling god’s head. This place is an adult jungle gym. So much fun.
Then we went to where Tomb Raider was filmed with Angelia Jolie. I heard it called Tap Room, but that is not the correct spelling; it is tho how you say it. This temple complex was built by the king to honor his mother. Mother nature has indeed taken residence by growing in around the walls of this temple. More endless photos to be taken, mostly of the trees growing in the stone of the temple.
And then the 7th wonder of the world: Angkor Wat, or the Capital Temple which is the largest religious site in the world. It is surrounded by a man made mode 2.2 miles long, not made for defense but to honor the Gods.
Angkor Wat is essentially three levels. The first level is the pools to cleanse yourself. The second level is the cermony route the the temple which leaves the Temple on the third level which is about five stories high. The ancinet stairs to climb to the temple were loving called “monkey stairs” due to the nature of the narrow rocks and the steep incline. Our guide told us that they closed off the stairs about three years ago. (bummer) A wooden stair case with a handrail sits over one of the original. The wooden stair case is just as steep; and super scary. I saw people climb backwards down.
We headed towards the reflective pool to take shadow photos as the sunset on the temple. Too bad the water was low, the algae taking over the pond. As I watched the sunset I too, reflected on my day. I would highly recommend this park to anyone. I would come again to see more temples, more sites. Was Angkor Wat the best?? It was large and impressive; overall I enjoyed the Bayon Temple best. Maybe I just liked climbing over the rocks best.