We hit a lot of temples and ruins those two-and-a-half days we were in Siem Reap (the first temples we visited are back here and here), and boy were we ever grateful for this little band of kids to keep each other interested and excited about it all.
They climbed up steep stair after steep stair to inspect and explore.
So many nooks and crannies to soak in.
These two climbed to the very top of that temple behind them:
Yes, that is sweat Max is sporting. Did I mention it was hot?
We were addicted to that stuff.
I thought this was a funny sign in the bathroom above the toilet:
People love squatter toilets here. So much that they sometimes want to squat on Western toilets. So interesting what you get used to.
This is the temple I was most excited about visiting, right in the middle of the Cambodian jungle.
There’s something about the stone and trees intermingling that is so beautiful to me.
This is what “Lonely Planet” has to say about Ta Prohm:
If Angkor Wat, the Bayon and other temples are testimony to the genius of the ancient Khmers, Ta Prohm reminds us equally of the awesome fecundity and power of the jungle. There is a poetic cycle to this venerable ruin, with humanity first conquering nature to rapidly create, and nature once again conquering humanity to slowly destroy.Built from 1186 and originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. It is one of the few temples in the Angkor region where an inscription provides information about the temple’s dependents and inhabitants.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/cambodia/temples-of-angkor/sights/religious/ta-prohm#ixzz3I9r4yGBu
Isn’t that beautiful? I think, sadly, that they have cut out a few of the trees to try to keep the temple from being crushed by the roots. It wasn’t quite the same as I pictured it from pictures I’d seen. I totally understand that they need to try to keep the integrity of the buildings themselves, but it made me sad because boy those trees are so gorgeous.
They’ve done a lot to conserve the biggest trees like this big metal structure to hold up the “petrified python” we across one of the openings:
The kids loved that you could climb all over the place. Probably not the safest idea but they thought they were in Heaven.
Our whole group:
We took a road trip to some of the further removed temples.
The name means “Citadel of the Women” or “Citadel of Beauty” and it sure is beautiful.
It is really small and built with a more red stone which is incredibly intricately carved.
There were these cute little boys all over with “toys” they had made. So creative to think of making cars with water bottles and bottle caps.
Check out the detail of those snakes:
Then it was on to Beng Mealea.
This was one that they totally let trees take over.
There are collapsed galleries and towers all over.
…which sure made for some excellent exploring for the kids.
…a little more closely:
Lots of sellers outside the temples.
I cannot remember the name of this last temple! I didn’t take good enough notes. But I loved it.
More “demons” guarding the right side of the bridge.
Cute girl babysitting her little brother:
More amazing carvings.
But my favorite part was this cute little smiley man (maybe one of the priests?) who gave me one of his special bracelets (for a small fee).
Along with my bracelet he pronounced some sort of solemn blessing on me. Maybe he was actually cursing me…I couldn’t understand a word, but I’m pretty sure from the sweetest ever look on his face that it was right from his heart.
I still wear that little orange string bracelet and smile every time I think of him.
Loved our driver. If anyone ever needs a driver in Cambodia, he’s the man.
We had time to fit in one more morning sunrise and a date with Grace and Claire, one more swim
and some sad goodbyes to friends before heading off to our next adventure in VIETNAM.
…on another interesting airplane.
This one had serious mist coming out all over the ceiling…it was like we were in the Thriller movie with all that mist.
those places are incredible! I'll come back to your posts when we go to Thailand 🙂
I am loving all of these Cambodia posts — THANK YOU!!! My late husband served his mission there back in 1999-2001. We always wanted to go visit so he could use his language and show me around but, we never got around to it before he passed away. So thank you for posting — it's been so fun to live vicariously through you and these beautiful pictures!
Great post! As always thank you for sharing your fabulous adventure with us. The smiling man reminds me of Ketut Liyer (Medicine Man) from Eat, Pray & Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Beautiful photos. It does seem a bit congruous to see your kids jumping and doing other stunt photos on the sacred temple grounds. Do you take photos like that on LDS temple grounds? I do understand the need to keep kids excited and upbeat during sightseeing marathons, but perhaps a bit more reverence would help them to appreciate the ambiance, even if other sightseers are rowdy and disrespectful. Just a thought. Good luck on your travels!
(er, meant to write "a bit incongruous" in that first line)
the photograph of the smiley man is stunning!!! I love the beautiful nature you have captured.
So fun to see all these pictures. Thanks for sharing.
I'd love info on your driver. Planning to go to Siem Reap this Spring.
Hi Jen! Our driver was Mr. Vann Ven (I think…his handwriting is kind of hard to read). His phone number is +85512255799 or +85515255799 and his email is Ven2005_bb@yahoo.com. Hope that helps!!