7. Some memories and tips for visiting Angkor Temples
I really enjoy historical travel. I’ve visited tons of Roman/Greek/prehistoric ruins around Europe. They were delightful and interesting. But I must admit that you need a lot of knowledge and quite a lot of fantasy to really “feel” the place. Maybe with the exception of Pompeii and Colloseum, they are so “bare”, so extensively looted and recycled by the next generations that there is not too much originally left that can connect you visually to the past, with one or two standing columns usually not enough :). The other more recent sites are so immaculately preserved that you really don’t feel that particular church or palace is like 700 y.o...In this respect, visiting Angkor temples was one of the brightest historical travels in my life. The experience was so raw, so visually rich, so complete. You see and feel what happens to a collapsed civilization just in several centuries when nature lavishly retrieves its due, which would also inevitably happen to ours sooner or later..It was dazzling, it was unforgettable. It’s really the ultimate bucket list travel! .
If you go, visit not only Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon, but also other temples around in Angkor and a more remote Beng Melaea (the picture is from there). Allocate at least 3 days, optimal a week. .
Great preparatory reads before the trip are “A record of Cambodia: the land and its people” - the only existing eyewitness account of daily life in Angkor written by a Chinese merchant Daguan Zhou who visited Angkor Empire in 13th century, and novels “A woman of Angkor” by John Burgess and “Remple of a thousand faces” by John Shors.
With that bright impression I conclude my memories of South East Asia trip last year. The new trips are ahead of me! Already today :)
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