china travel guide
One of Angkor’s best known temples is Ta Prohm, a picturesque temple boasting hundred-year-old giant roots that thread themselves around the temple. This made it a very photogenic subject, and one that is a big hit with the tourists. Bayon is known as the “Temple of Faces”, and once you’ve been there you’ll easily know why – as you climb the steep stone steps and make you way into the inner sanctum of the temple, looking up you are struck by the hundreds of large stone faces looking down upon you. There is also the Banteay Srei, a temple filled with awe-inspiring elaborate carvings covering every single inch of stone there. Even with today’s technology it is almost unbelievable that such precise and intricate patterns and sculpture can be made from stone.
The Number Nine
To know Asia is to understand the continent’s superstitions, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the massive Angkor Thom, a temple fixated with the number nine. The pronouncement for “nine” is similar to the word for “development”, and almost everything on the temple can equate to this number – 54 carved towers, 216 faces on the towers, 54 gods on the left of the entrance, and 54 demons on the right – all those numbers adding up to 9.
Awe Inspiring Angkor Wat
The Angkor Wat is the biggest, best preserved, most intricately designed and awe inspiring temple in Indochina, a jewel in the crown of ANgkor’s extensive palace complex. It is a source of national pride and international renown, covered with beautiful bas relief carvings depicting the Ramayana epic of Hinduism. Like most temples in Asia, it is best seen at the crack of dawn or during sunset, when the colorful sun-lit sky accentuates the five towers for an exquisite scene.
Siem Reap, a former outpost of a pariah state run by the bloody Khmer Rouge, has risen admirably into an international tourist destination, one that boasts the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and host to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Only twenty years ago, the region was still off limits to tourists, its local denizens ruled over by terror and fear of the atrocities of one of the bloodiest regime in the world.
Now, Siem Reap is a booming city alongside the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, seeing almost a million international passengers coming and going at its international airport in 2007. While Angkor Wat remains the top drawing factor of the area, the city of Siem Reap itself is not lacking in attractions, boasting some of the best hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries in the region.
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