Two days spent exploring 1000 year old temples. 1000 years old. Let that sink in for a moment. Temples that are on most of the modern 'Wonders of the World' lists. What more can 2 founding members of Imagination Nation want?
And they didn't disappoint. Neither did the temples.
I'll come clean and admit that I really didn't know much about Angkor before we arrived in Cambodia. I had looked at many pictures. Read a few articles. And remember Jane & our neighbour Nicole trying to scheme their way towards a girls trip to visit them. But, I didn't know what to expect. Which sometimes is the best, because with little expectations, you're usually pleasantly surprised. And yep, we most definitely were.
I won't go into a huge explanation of the temples. It's becoming more and more clear that my part of the blog won't be in the style of a travel guide. Or chronological either. You can google most things now to understand their history and meanings etc., so I'll leave that up to you - And Angkor is a pretty sweet read. However, the Coles notes version and what I didn’t know beforehand is that, Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. Angkor was a megacity supporting at least 0.1% of the global population during 1010-1220. At one point it had over 1 million people compared to just 50 000 in London, UK! Angkor Wat (which is what most people have heard of) is a temple complex within Angkor that took 37 years to build and the largest religious monument in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century (I should now reference Wikipedia, b/c I just copied and pasted everything from it! My students will crush me for that - I tell them to never reference wikipedia - We’ll see how many actually read this blog, from their responses in the comment section!) There are many other temples within Angkor so we also visited some of the more popular ones. Those being the magical Bayon, which is embellished with superhuman images of enigmatically half-smiling Buddhas everywhere and the jungle-smothered temple remains of Ta Prohm, with crumbling ruins squeezed between the roots of enormous trees and trees growing right on top.
I’ll stop there…feel free to research more, but we had 2 fun days in Angkor, exploring, climbing, imaginating (yes that's a new word I just made up), sweating and overall just being in awe.