Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Siem Reap - Bayon Temple and Other Stops at Angkor Wat Park

*For previous posts, click here.*

After our stop at Angkor Wat, we quickly rushed to the Bayon Temple which was about 10 minute drive from Angkor Wat. Bayon Temple is famous for being the temple with many faces. All those faces on all the four sides of every tower are the same and it is reportedly that those faces bear strong resemblances with King Jayavaraman VII, the most famous and widely respected king in the Khmer civilisation and also the king who built this temple.

Bayon Temple

This temple is the second most famous temple after the Angkor Wat itself and it is understandably so. Although it is not as majestic as the grand Angkor Wat, it holds itself well with the unique features, especially the faces on the towers. The temple was the main temple during the reign of King Jayavaraman VII. Read on for more pictures.

For me, it seems that not all of the faces gave the same expression. Some of them smiled while some bear the mystical looks like what people often described Mona Lisa. In fact, I think the smiles on the faces are very mysterious, just like Mona herself.

According to my friends, if you stand at certain point, it can be seen that you were having a smooch with one of the face like what my friend was trying to do in the above picture though you cannot see it from the angle where I took this shot. 

Throughout the site, you will see a lot of cravings on the walls depicting the daily life of the Khmer people during that time, which is different from those drawings at Angkor Wat, which has strong Hinduism influence.

Last look at the temple

Next stop after our brief visit to Bayon Temple would be Ta Prohm. Another beautiful temple that was hidden deep inside the forest, this temple is a perfect picture of the temple blending in with the forest. Trees were sprouting out and around the temple, like a snake ensnaring its victims. These trees grew high and mighty and the authorities fear that should they cut the trees down, it might lead to the collapse of the temple. Hence, they leaved the trees alone with the temple.

Ta Prohm complex

See how the trees are relying the temple as much as the temple is relying on them

Everyone is fascinated with it

After that, we proceeded with the next stop, Srah Srang, the pool made by the king of Angkor during the civilisation. When you were there, you will not believe that it was a pool but rather a lake for it is THAT big. When we were told that it was built as a recreational site for the royal families back then, we were astonished by it. That big of a pool? It shows how advanced their civilisation was already, to be able to make such gigantic pool.

This pool/lake is also the perfect spot to witness the rise of the sun. Too bad we did not have the privilege of seeing sunrise or sunset at Angkor Wat.

The vastness of the pool

Tara, the little girl that sweet talked me into buying things from her

The little girl above, Tara if I remembered correctly, is a cute little kid speaking fluent English and was chatting with me when I arrived at Srah Srang, trying to get me into buying drinks or souvenirs, which I eventually did. I guess her cuteness did have an effect on people.

When our visits at Angkor Park was over, we headed back to our hotel to rest and dinner. We were having BBQ dinner at the hotel. After dinner, we walked around the town, visiting the Night Market for souvenir shopping and also a walk through Pub Street, a famous ground for alcoholic beverages. 


Local beer

Night market

Souvenirs you can find there

Red Piano, made famous by the visit of Angelina Jolie during filming of Tomb Raider

One of the many eateries and pubs at Pub Street


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

There are a lot of locals trying to sell you souvenirs and drinks and most of these are rip-offs. Often you can find much cheaper stuffs outside the park or elsewhere. However, they were also just trying to earn a living so if you are willing to pay, then, do it.

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