Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Angkor Thom The Archaeological Park Visitors Favourite Cambodia Tourism

The Bayon temple is the second most visited temple in the complex, contained inside the fortified inner city of Angkor Thom, which is protected by a high stone wall, where four gates, one for each direction of the compass, are decorated with four faces that are the most iconic image from the Angkor Archaeological Park. With 216 smiling faces, facing in the four directions of the compass, on thirty seven towers, wandering around the multileveled temple of the Bayon is a highlight of Angkor, and is often many visitors favourite.

The ground floor contains simpler bas reliefs than Angkor Wat, but are just as interesting, with scenes from daily life depicted here, including people selling fruit and fish, and even people taking bets on a cock fight.  Late afternoon is a good time to visit the Bayon, when the crowds have moved on to view the sunset, and the faces are bathed in the golden light of dusk, alternatively, mornings are also a peaceful time to visit, as many groups visit Angkor Archaeological Park right after the sunrise.

The Terrace of the Leper King
The Terrace of the Leper king also contains the Terrace of the Elephants, where a raised platform was once used as a viewing stand for rulers of Angkor. Possibly used as a crematorium, the actual purpose of the structure remains a mystery.

The Baphoun
Reconstructed after centuries of neglect, the Baphoun is a spectacular rendition of Mount Meru, which is also represented in Angkor Wat, over forty meters high.

Ta Prohm
When the temples of Angkor were rediscovered in the 1860’s, they were overgrown by jungle foliage, so much so that cutting down the trees would have destroyed the temples themselves, so entwined were the rocks around the vines and roots. It was decided to clear a minimum of vegetation from Ta Prom, to give future visitors an idea of what the entire city looked like before they were restored. What remains is a fascinating mixture of wood and stone, with magnificent silk cotton tree roots lifting and moving heavy blocks of stone. In fact, the entrance gate itself would collapse if the trees that grow around it were cut; the faces so familiar at other temples like the Bayon are completely surrounded by roots.

Built originally as a monastery in the 12th century, Ta Prom is a large temple, with a long esplanade leading to the central building, where many corridors are completely blocked by fallen stone. It’s wise to be careful of
footing in Ta Prom.

Preah Khan
Similar in style to Ta Prom, Kreah Khan is much larger, with a wall surrounding the temple that still exists to this day. Built in the 12th century, Preah Khan is believed to have served as a monastery.

With some of the world’s most stunning temple ruins, one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, and bisected by the mighty Mekong River, Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s best kept secrets, with friendly locals, a unique cuisine, and exotic rural scenery.

Phnom Penh, the capital, is a city with a rich array of French colonial architecture, and a beautiful riverside promenade. The city sits at the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers, with an increasing number of
restaurants and clubs catering to a growing, affluent population. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda offer an insight into the royal history of the Cambodian people, with outstanding examples of Cambodia’s cultural riches on display.

Shopping is one of Cambodia’s highlights, especially the reproduction statuary, stone carvings and shadow puppets. To the north, the friendly, relaxed town of Siem Reap is home of Angkor Archaeological Park, the 10th century temple complex that is truly one of the wonders of the world, and the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa. Rediscovered by the outside world in the 1860’s, at its height, the city was the planet’s largest city, and what remains today will leave visitors in awe of this great civilization. Wandering through Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world, intricately carved galleries depict scenes of Khmer history, in a building that was constructed to resemble the world according to Hindu philosophy.

The Bayon is full of ancient mystery, where timeless faces stare out from the temple’s spires, where galleries show more scenes from the every day life in Angkor. In the far south of the country, tropical beaches and offshore coral reefs offer opportunities for relaxing on white sand beaches and scuba diving, together making Cambodia a perfect choice for a wide range of activities.


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