Before going Cambodia, I was only aware of Angkor Wat, but once I started doing my research I discovered there was much more to the area than just Angkor Wat. Right next to Angkor Wat is Angkor Thom, which translates to “Great City” in Khmer, was the last capital of the Khmer Empire and covers an staggering area of 9km2.
Angkor Thom was the second stop of our first day of the Angkor experience and Thu stopped his tuk-tuk before Angkor Thom’s South Gate and told to walk across while he waited on the other end. The gate is guarded by statues of deities and their constant tug of war for power, giving the crossing over the moat slightly apprehensive feel.
Once on the other side, we were taken to Angkor Thom’s center, the Bayon Temple, with its distinctive faces of Lokesvara etched into the towers of temple. Again, we were left in awe at the amazing long lasting stonework around and everywhere you looked there was some perfect detail to take in and admire.
After left in awe once again, we walked from the Bayon temple to visit the area immediately north of Bayon, around Victory Square, where there are cluster of other temples, palaces and structures, which one their own are well worth being top attractions, but next to Angkor Wat, and Bayon, lose a bit of their magnificence.
We were extremely hungry at this point and headed to Thu, to help us find somewhere to eat and he suggested we eat at some of the food stalls around Victory square. The food was ok, but expensive, but our lunch time was made by a little girl selling the usual tourist wares, who once failing to sell something to us, chatted for a while and then headed to another table sporting two Japanese tourists.
She was trying to sell them some bracelets, which they wanted, but didn’t really think the price was fair. They asked her whether they could be “flee” to which the smartass little girl responded by saying “It’s not flee, it’s fRee!”. Yes an English lesson by a Cambodian girl to Japanese tourists… That’s globalization for you!
Realizing he was not going to get the bracelets for “flee”, he then used quite a novel way of getting them , by paying in Angry Birds games on his iPhone. The going rate seemed to be five games for a bracelet. The girl agreed and played here five games in exchange for the bracelet, while Raquel and I were entertained whilst waiting for our lunch.
After lunch, Thu said he would take us to another four temples/ruins before heading back to Siem Reap for the day.
We followed to a cluster of temple just outside Angkor Thom walls, namely Chau Say Tevoda, Thommanon and Ta Keo, which on their own would be worthy tourist attractions anywhere else where they weren’t neighbours with Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, but still magnificent nonetheless!
This post is based on our day of the 24th of September 2012
Entrance Fee: Three day ticket for use of up to a week = $40
Transport: Tuk-tuk for a day for major Angkor Temples (Big tour as it is known) = $10