Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

 

Angkor Wat

For this alone the entire trip would have been worth it.  I cannot say it better than the introduction found in the Eyewitness Travel guide Vietnam and Angkor Wat:  “The ancient capital of the great Khmer Empire, Angkor is beyond doubt, one of the most magnificent wonders of the world and a site of immense archeological significance .  Located in dense jungle on the hot and torpid plains of western Cambodia, its awe-inspiring temples transport visitors into an enchanting and mysterious world of brooding grandeur and past glory.”

Our first stop is at Angkor Wat. The term “Angkor Wat” literally means “The city which is a temple” and it is the largest religious monument and temple in the world.  You can’t grasp its size until you stand before it, waiting for sunrise, and while it was a cloudy day (the Rainy Season) but as night gave way to dawn, the complex spreads out before us.

We spent a good portion of the day marveling at the   5-towered temple representing the 5 sacred mountains with Mount Meru in the center. The bas reliefs on its walls representing the history of the Khmer people, while the carvings of the Apsaras (celestial dancing girls) with their sensual smiles are not to be missed.