Saturday, June 07, 2008

Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm

Cambodia Time 5:00 PM Saturday
DC Time
6:00 AM Saturday

A quick cab ride to the Saigon airport and we were flying Vietnam airlines to Siem Reap. The 45-minute flight was simple and even included a sandwich.

The airport looked remarkably like the Polynesian village at Disney World and after passing through customs & immigrations, we were scurried off by a drive from the Le Meridian hotel. Stephanie & I found this resort three months ago. Three of other people traveling with us were looking for something cheaper than the $125/night+ breakfast but hell, when else are you going to stay in room that has this view of the pool and a bathroom with a pass-through window to the bedroom.

Steph, Stacey and I arrived yesterday at 1:00 pm, promptly had lunch delivered to the pool. After three hours, we all went for spa treatments where I received a Back Reviver. My back was totally fine, but I couldn’t pass up the Kaffir Lime Scrub followed by the Herb &Spice Body Recovery Warp. I laid there for an hour and just got pampered for less than $50. Can you think of a better way to prepare for a day of temple viewing?

Mark & Becca arrived about 7:30 pm after touring the Cu Chi Tunnels. They raved about the experience and even got to shoot AK47’s. The five of us had a nice dinner in the hotel and then hit the sack for today’s big adventure.

Strangely, Ceci has booked this trip with us as well. She doesn’t arrive until today (Saturday), but she’s not even staying at this hotel. She’s mad with most people on the program because she thinks we’re being mean to her. In all fairness, she kept apologizing to speakers for “her embarrassing classmates.” Hmmm, maybe that might be why people don’t like you.

She decided to come to Cambodia since she escaped through here from Vietnam 47 years ago. She spent 9 months in this country before she made it to Thailand and finally ended up in the US. She has told us this trip is to provide closure for her.

That’s a wonderful story but as Stacey pointed out, “unless her escape included spa treatments at a 4-star hotel”, this probably won’t be giving her much closure.

This morning, Thy (“Tee”) our guide picked us up at the hotel. We at taking two half-day tours and this morning we toured Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. The temples of Angkor consist of 17 miles of building, walls, and monuments all built between 875 AD – 1240 AD. The most efficient way of seeing the temples is with a guide in an air-conditioned car. We got a mini-van for us with a driver and English speaking guide.

The first stop was Angkor Thom, which means “great city”. These are the most recent of the temples and are best known for The Bayon, which lies in the center of the complex. The Bayon has 54 towers and over 200 faces carved into the stone.

We decided to spurge for elephant rides around the complex. OK, that was absolutely the coolest thing EVER!

Directly north of The Banyon is the Terrace of the Elephants. This was used for royal reviews of the military and other parades.

We jumped in the van and headed over to Ta Prohm which was first used as a monastery. It is the most mysteriously looking of the temples because of how the jungle is taking over the structures. In its time, over 80,000 people lived in this complex, but now all that remains are these ancient ruins. You may also recognize this from Lara Croft Tomb Raider.

After a long day of trekking through the ruins, we treated ourselves to lunch by the pool. We slept, read and just enjoyed the afternoon. OK, more tomorrow. I’m off to my pedicure.

PS I can only purchase internet access for an hour so I apologize in advance for the typos.








Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Holy WOWIE! These photos are AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I'm pretty sure I'll NEVER end up in that part of the world, and I really appreciate your letting me live vicariously through you!

9:16 AM  

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