Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Exploring Beng Mealea

If you want to go full Indiana Jones at Siem Reap, head out of town and explore the endless ruins at Beng Mealea. It's located in the jungle, is still in ruins and looks like it could be swallowed back up at any time.

Cut stone scattered everywhere, a temple starts to appear.


Awed tourist, taking in the trees that sprout from the temple.

The temple can definitely be seen among the stones, scattered a bit like heavy Legos.


Details to see, five-headed snakes and nicely-carved columns.

Inside the temple, a monumental task ahead, should they ever decide to reconstruct Beng Mealea.

Monday, 16 July 2018

A Relaxing Visit To The Roluos Temples

Away from the bustle of the main Angkor temples sit the earlier Roluos temples, built by Indravarman I in the 9th century. Besides the innate beauty of the temples, the best part of visiting them is having the place to yourself, a welcome change from the crowds at the main temple location.

Approaching Bakong.


Looking down from Bakong, an active Buddhist monastery beyond. Cute elephant sculptures mark several corners of the pyramid shaped temple.

On to Preah Ko, a set of grand, red sandstone towers.


Preah Ko details, holy cow and plaster detail.
Restoration in progress, donation desk and the place to yourself.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Basking At Banteay Kdei

At Angkor, there are many temples and structures to explore. There's a monastery to see, called Banteay Kdei. It may not have the majesty of some of the more famous places. No worries, the monastery more than holds its own, featuring fine carvings, a lovely layout and rich patina.

The mystery awaits.


Entrance gate and inside, still in use.

Inner courtyard.


Carving detail. Hi Sarah!

Out back, the posing tree (we made up that title).

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Beauty Of Banteay Srei

Away from the bustle of the main Angkor complex is a little jewel of a temple, bursting with the best carvings of anything in the area. Maybe it's because the temple, dedicated to Shiva, was commissioned by a Brahman, not a king. The man had good taste.

Heading into the small temple.


The main towers. The temple is famous for its pink hued stone and intricate carvings covering most surfaces. Understatement.


Carvings details. Rich.


One of the courtyards.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Angkor Monastery

The temples of Angkor aren't just for show. Some of them are still active, with Buddhist monasteries nearby providing support.

Welcome!


Giant lotus flower planter. Rabbit and flip flops on the lawn.

The little cemetery out back is interesting, all the crypts for urns looking like mini wats.


More cemetery detail.

Oh, hello again, rabbit! Buddhists love their figures. And frog.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Miniature Temples At Siem Reap

There's nothing like gawking at one person's personal backyard obsession. Think Watts Towers and Coral Castle. Siem Reap can proudly boast a similar work, created by Dy Proeung. He's taken it upon himself to re-create in his backyard many of the area's famous temples. Not enough room for life-sized, time to get small.

Angkor Wat, no drone needed for a bird's-eye view.


Folk art-like detail. Another amazing creation, Banteay Srei. That's a lot of patina.

Portrait of Dy Proeung.


So how does he do it? This ain't no Lego set. He's got piles of detailed plans, put out by a French survey in 1969. He's still working, partially-finished projects spread around the yard.

While James and Sarah were visiting, the rains came. Almost as impressive as the mini temples. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Learning About Landmines At The Cambodia Landmine And Relief Center

Tired of temples at Siem Reap? Head to the Landmine Museum, an excellent place to learn about Cambodia's heartbreaking battle with the deadly armament.

The museum and relief center is a homemade, organic project, started by a former soldier who started clearing mines and taking in children injured by mines. Aki Ra turned into a man on a mission. More details are here.

Bombs away.


The depressing spoils, quite a variety.

Bizarre paper m√Ęche marketplace re-creation.


A close up look at death. In the center courtyard, a murder's row of the different mines and munitions used.

The saddest proof of landmine consequences, the prostheses of the maimed.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Wat Preah Prom In Siem Reap

There's a great Buddhist monastery and temple right in downtown Siem Reap. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if you're looking for something different from the piles of 12th century rocks.

The main Wat.


Lots to look at around the expansive grounds. Finely-manicured trees, a gaggle of Buddhas.

Grizzly tales, in cringe-worthy 3D.


Concrete animals, looking well.

Advice and direction, during and after life.