Tag Archives: Cambodia

Phnom Penh – A History of Cambodia

An early morning start at 5am saw me take a boat from Siem Riep to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh in the South. I managed to bump into Paul who I’d met on the bus ride to Siem Riep from Bangkok, so we stuck together for the next couple of days. The ride lasted around 6 hours down the Tonle Sap, giving me a chance to relax in the blazing sunshine whilst taking in the sights of the local villages on the banks, passing by fisherman and farmers en-route.

Boat Ride on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Boat Ride on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

The country was evidently still heavily rebuilding itself from the hangover of the Khmer Rouge days, with rural life seemingly still battling for survival. The villages were extremely basic, propped up precariously on the bright orange-coloured soiled river banks.

Villages on the Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Villages on the Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

The majority of the housing was built out of wood – and not even good quality wood by the look of it -just simple scraps found here and there thrown together for basic shelter.

Local Construction - Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Local Construction – Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Other villages would be floating in the middle of the Tonle Sap, almost constructed to cater for the local fishing industry. We would pass families in boats on their way home after visiting local markets. The whole eco-structure of the Tonle Sap was perilous, and you could see exactly why any change in nature could have a devastating impact on its people. I even saw locals trying to fish out their farm animals that had been caught out by the treacherous tides. It was almost like the country had just been hit by a huge hurricane and was in the midst of a clean-up.

Boats Passing by the Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Boats Passing by the Banks of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Resting Workers - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Resting Workers – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Fishing Boats on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Fishing Boats on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Mum with Children - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Mum with Children – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Mum and Child on Fishing Boat - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Mum and Child on Fishing Boat – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Local Fisherman - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Local Fisherman – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Family Cruising down the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Family Cruising down the Tonle Sap, Cambodia


On the Roof of the Boat - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

On the Roof of the Boat – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Cattle Taking a Drink - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Cattle Taking a Drink – Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Fisherman in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Fisherman in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia


Rescuing the Cattle - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Rescuing the Cattle – Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Arriving in good time in Phnom Penh, Paul and I were confronted immediately by a con artist tuk-tuk driver. We didn’t really know where to head in terms of hostels so wanted him to take us to an area close to the city centre to take a look around. Of course, he knew where the hostels were, but to show us came with an additional fee even though he was only really taking us 10 minutes round the corner. After a bit of arguing, we bartered with him to take us to a hostel then wait around for a half hour before taking us to the nearby Killing Fields for the day. Although my motorcycle guide from Angkor had already given me some background to the dangers of the Khmer Rouge, the visit to the Killing Fields and to the S21 Prison Genocide Museum the next day really hit it home with me.

All in all, there wasn’t too much to see at the Killing Fields because of its nature, but, the museum and information there described how the country had its heart ripped out by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, with Cambodians subjected to all kinds of brutality and inhumanity. As mentioned previously, 2 to 3 million Cambodians were butchered which added up to around a third of the population at the time of the regime.

The Killing Field Graves - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Killing Field Graves – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Khmer Rouge formed in 1968 as a splinter cell to the Vietnam People’s Party and later created an Agrarian Communist Society between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia. Pol Pot led the party which decided to go through drastic social and economic reforms, with a social re-engineering project comparable to the Nazi Regime. With the attention of the world fully focussed on the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge took full advantage to storm Phnom Penh in 1975 and carry out the atrocities right under the UN’s noses. The regime even had a seat in the UN until 1993 – the full extent of the regime going unnoticed. In return for its membership, the exploits ended up being one of the biggest acts of genocide in recent years.

Skull Remains - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Skull Remains – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

With agriculture central to the government’s plans, those living in urban areas were gathered up and forced out into rural areas for acts of slave labour. Families were split apart with children completely separated from their parents to be brainwashed into the new agrarian way of life, and to punish their parents with their capitalist stances.

Truck Stop Plaque - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Truck Stop Plaque – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The reform led to widespread famine across the country as the project was completely implausible and unsustainable. There were also reforms put in place for complete self-sufficiency which cut the country off completely from any type of medicine or aid and led to widespread diseases and deaths from malaria. With conditions unbearable for the slaves, many were tortured or finally executed for their lack of cooperation.

Mass Grave - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mass Grave – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Any cultural symbols, books and records were gathered up and burnt, replaced by propaganda. Intellectuals, city-dwellers and anyone suspected of being a traitor were killed. All free market operations were banished. Hospitals and schools were closed. Banking and financial institutions were abolished. Religions were outlawed. Private property was nationalised. There were language reforms and people were told what to do, what to wear, who to speak to, what to eat and forced into a new authoritarian way of life.

Tool Shed Plaque - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tool Shed Plaque – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Chemical Substances Storage Room Plaque - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Chemical Substances Storage Room Plaque – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Killing Tree - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Killing Tree – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


The Magic Tree - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Magic Tree – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Local Children - Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Local Children – Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As refugees began to spill over the borders of Vietnam, the regime were finally driven out in 1979 following a pre-emptive attack on Vietnam which backfired seeing Phnom Penh fall. The Khmer Rouge still operated in the remote hills by the Thai border, but had limited influence on future rulings of the country.

S21 Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

S21 Genocide Museum – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


S21 Prison - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

S21 Prison – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Cells of the Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cells of the Genocide Museum – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


The Gallows of the S21 Prison - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Gallows of the S21 Prison – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Toilets of the Cells of S21 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Toilets of the Cells of S21 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


A View Inside the S21 Prison - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A View Inside the S21 Prison – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sandwiched in between the visit to the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum, Paul and I had a chance to check out the night life of Phnom Penh. As with Siem Riep and Bangkok, it didn’t take long in each bar before we were surrounded by local women offering up some entertainment. They weren’t call girls as such, but there would be groups that would come and sit with you to try to get you to buy them drinks all night in return for their company. In one of the quieter bars at the start of the night, Paul decided to buy in a round of drinks to see exactly what was going on, and after they realised we weren’t there to buy girls, they hung out with us and bought us drinks in return! It was completely bizarre and there was, in the end, no hint of seediness to it. That was until the next group of guys walked in…

The following day after the visit to the Genocide Museum, Paul headed off to the Philippines for work leaving me to explore the city for the rest of the day before moving onto Vietnam. I decided to head towards the Russian Market, the main market which was used for foreign trade in the 80s – the majority of which was by Russians, hence the name. The market itself was full of colour, offering all kinds of stuff from cheap clothes to food stuffs to electronics and pets.

Bike Garage - Russian Market - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Bike Garage – Russian Market – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Inside the Russian Market - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Inside the Russian Market – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Entertainment Section of the Russian Market - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Entertainment Section of the Russian Market – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Lunch in the Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Lunch in the Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Schooling - Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Schooling – Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

However, en route, I started to see signs of the hangover from the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam War, encountering a few victims of landmines with missing limbs, begging for money. I also passed by a number of orphanages and homeless kids just sat around on street corners. It was a harrowing time walking through the streets witnessing it all.

Back Streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Back Streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Back Streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Back Streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Chess on the Back of a Truck - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Chess on the Back of a Truck – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

From there, I headed back into town to check out the Silver Pagoda, wandering down the main stretch by various Government buildings, the Presidential Palace and the Liberation and Independence Monuments.

Royal Palace - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Royal Palace – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Gardens of the Royal Palace - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Gardens of the Royal Palace – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Locals Gathered - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Locals Gathered – Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Liberation Monument - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Liberation Monument – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Footballers - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Footballers – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On one particular stop off point on the main strip, I managed to meet a teenager called Ny Soklin. As we got chatting about why I was there and what my future plans were, I turned the topic of conversation to the Khmer Rouge. Ny immediately shied away from the subject and said that they prefer to try and forget about the atrocities and focus on the future. He explained to me how difficult life was in Cambodia. People were still only just managing to scrape a living, with a huge proportion of the population still struggling to find any kind of work. The streets were busy, like today in Phnom Penh, just because there’s nothing to do. International aid from the UN was coming in, but the money wasn’t being distributed by the government, simply going into the back pockets of those that inhabited the Palaces surrounding us. The government like to call themselves democratic, but there was little evidence of change from the authoritarian government before it. There were no educational reforms meaning that the next generation weren’t being catered for and had no hopes for the future. The country also lacked any economic focus. Tourism was starting to build in the country, but again the investment of foreign money was being sucked up by the government. After a bite to eat with him, he then bid farewell and randomly joined an early evening aerobics session in the street in front of us!

Night Time Aerobics - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Night Time Aerobics – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Although I only spent a couple of days in Cambodia, the visit was enough to give me a brief insight into the difficulties of a country that has evidently been scarred by its dark history. With the country trying to rebuild itself after the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, it has a long way to go before it can fully move on from the ghosts of its past.

Further Reading on Phnom Penh, the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge

 
Phnom Penh City Guide
http://www.phnompenh.gov.kh/

The Khmer Rouge – Genocide of Cambodia
http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_cambodia.html/

The Killing Fields Museum
http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com//

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

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The Ruins of Angkor – A Cambodian Adventure

Sandwiched in between my visit to Thailand and Vietnam, I took a brief trip into the Kingdom of Cambodia for a few days after my stop off in Bangkok. My original plan was to stay in Cambodia for a couple of weeks, but I’d heard some fantastic things about Vietnam, so I decided to head there as soon as I could. It meant that my visit to Cambodia was fleeting, checking out the Ruins of Angkor in Siem Riep, before heading down to Phnom Penh to sort out my visa for Vietnam.

Border Crossing - Thailand to Cambodia

Border Crossing – Thailand to Cambodia Taken on the Canon IXUS 50

My time with Matt (who I met on the plane from Kolkata) was cut short after only a couple of days in Bangkok, with the plan to meet up in a couple of weeks and head to Kho Phangan to check out the infamous Full Moon Party. He decided to go to Fiji for some diving and relaxation following his isolated and turbulent few months in the remote areas of India. After a heavy night out on the Khao San Road and hitting the sack at around 5am, I had to pick up my passport from an agency at 7am and catch a bus to Siem Riep. My decision to grab a quick snooze before I left was a bad idea. At around 7.30am, I bolted upright in blind panic knowing I was half an hour late, and ran as fast as I could to the agency on the Khao San Road. It wasn’t a revelation that the bus had left, but I luckily managed to pick up my passport and book a place on the next bus at 9am. I was struggling heavily from the night before and the next 14 hours were some of the most unbearable, introducing me to a world of scams and teaching me a valuable lesson to never party too hard the night before a long journey again.

The bus that I’d booked myself onto mimicked a cramped chicken coop, more claustrophobic than cheap flight seats in Europe. Even though I’m not the biggest person, I was completely squashed in, almost doubled up, with leg room that would only even just accommodate a small child. The air-conditioning was seemingly broken, with the windows of the bus completely sealed shut so we couldn’t even let in any fresh air. I passed out within minutes at a combination of tiredness from the night before and the intense heat that was building up on the bus.

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Riep

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Riep

After cooking nicely for a few hours, we finally had a chance to get off the bus, stopping off for lunch in the middle of nowhere. The wonderful scamming pleasures then began. There was only one restaurant in the whole area that was owned by the bus company. The food, although tasty, was three to four times more expensive than normal. We had suffered so much from heat stroke on the bus, that we were pretty much forced into buying a few expensive bottles of drink to take with us for the rest of the journey – of course all after re-hydrating on a couple at lunchtime. The bus driver also started to sell extortionately priced hotels for our stay in Siem Riep. Although Siem Riep was only actually about 250 miles away from Bangkok, the bus driver tried to convince us that we would arrive far too late to sort out a hotel. As if a place like Siem Riep with its huge tourist attraction would be short of a place to stay? A few signed up, but I stuck to my guns and turned it down. Having wasted a good 2 hours at the pit-stop for the bus driver to do the rounds, we then hit the road again and only an hour or so later, we arrived at immigrations at the border to Cambodia. This took another 2 hours to get through, and en-route, the bus driver started to try and force people to sell up their Thai Bhat for Cambodian Riel at some of the Currency Exchange booths which he was clearly getting a cut from. Apparently, Cambodia was short of Riel, so it was best to get it from the booths there – all for a nice tidy fee. Amazing how many people got scared and fell for it. You can see why the scams happen if droves of susceptible people keep arriving on their doorstep.

Upon hitting the road again, by sunset, we finally started to approach Siem Riep. The crowd on the bus were getting more and more irritated by the conditions we were in, and I was pleased to see a sign for Siem Riep outside the window that indicated we only had 25 kilometres to go. Then, all of a sudden, we pulled in off the road into another huge restaurant. The whole bus went berserk at the driver who said we had to stop here for an hour or so for no apparent reason, and then vanished off the bus and out of sight! We were literally in the middle of nowhere again. Other than the restaurant, the whole area was pitch black for as far as we could see. We were stranded and it was little shock to us that the restaurant offered more overpriced food and drinks. An hour and a half later, the bus driver turned up again to much aggravation from us all. He threatened to not take us further if we didn’t leave him alone and get on the bus. Fuming, we all got on as we had little choice and half an hour later at around 11pm, we arrived in Siem Riep some 14 hours later. And guess what, it was one last chance for the driver to sell us a hotel room.

Refusing, I headed off to a hostel with a group of youngsters and arranged to meet up with Paul and Boi, a Canadian and Dutch guy I met on the bus for a couple of drinks later. They had earlier caved into the charms of the bus driver and booked a separate hotel. The main strip of Siem Riep was pretty similar to the Khao San Road, although a bit classier. Again, apart from the back-to-back restaurant and bars catering for the tourists, local girls would constantly beckon you for entertainment at a price.

The next day was all about visiting the Ruins of Angkor. Visions of Lara Croft – Tomb Raider were in my head, and I couldn’t wait to go exploring like a kid again. The best way to visit the ruins is by motorbike and I decided to hire one with a guide for the whole day. The guide came under the alias, “Tom” – a lot of Asian people like to use a Western name with foreigners to avoid the possibility of embarrassing diction issues. He was a charming 21-year old guy who had been working as a guide for the last couple of years and his English was impeccably good meaning that we struck up a really good relationship throughout the day.

En route to the ruins, we had a chat about the struggles of Cambodia since the terrifying Khmer Rouge days in which one of the most atrocious and biggest acts of genocide occurred under the control of Pol Pot. An estimated 2 million people were killed which added up to a third of the population at the time. As a result of the country’s afflictions to this social engineering massacre, politics is extremely important and very comprehensible to the young population. A large proportion of the population who were killed were older which meant the demographic is much younger now, with many of them orphaned following the regime. He knew his country’s history through and through and was battling not only for his own survival, but for a political change in his country to try and bring greater democracy and standard of living to Cambodia. He respected the Western Democracies and had high hopes for reforms within Cambodia over the coming years to help modernize the country. He personally had worked as a guide for a few years and only earned $30 a month to care for his family. I have always thought that money was relative, that without knowing the costs of living, you couldn’t fully understand economic shortfalls. But, $30 a month here was still very minimal – he worked 7 days a week, living and sleeping at the agency where he worked, only getting a couple of days a month to go home to see his family in a village nearby. From what I gathered from him, poverty here was not as severe in comparison to India, but, people really were struggling for survival. He told me that he could make ten times more money if he had his own scooter rather than work for the agency. I asked him how much the scooter was, and it was a mere £200 ($320). I offered to give him a hand to get to his goal and help his family, cutting down a couple of years’ worth of saving, but he was too proud for me to give him even £50. He even almost didn’t take my tip at the end of the day. He knew how easy it would have been to take it, but he wanted to work for it himself. And that made me hugely respect him.

As we arrived at the ruins, my excitement started to build. Angkor served as an expansive seat to the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries and covers an area of 400km squared, with a number of remnants of past cities, temples and hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as evidence of the Empire’s communication routes with expansive water reservoirs and huge urban estates. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon and Ta Phrom are perfect examples of Khmer architecture, each instilled with huge symbolic significance. Social class and ranking were important values to the Khmer civilization, and the architecture and layout of the successive capitals bear witness to this. The park is still inhabited, and many of the villages there still practice agriculture and rice cultivation, with its ancestry dating back to the Angkor period.

I managed to take in a handful of the most important and breath-taking of the sites. One of the most expansive was that of Angkor Thom (“Large City”) which included the breath-taking Bayon. The influence of Khmer art came to fruition here, with the area playing a fundamental role in its distinctive evolution. Its artistic development was key to a new distinction of oriental art and architecture, later influencing other Asian sub-continent designs.

Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Close-up of Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Close-up of Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Back of the Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Back of the Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Towers of Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Towers of Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Serpent of Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Serpent of Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Khmer Art of the Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Khmer Art of the Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

The Bayon was built by Jayavarman VII, a city dedicated to Buddha who is depicted heavily in its architecture. It also represented a spectacular maze of tunnels, turrets and sculptures.

Close-Up of Buddha Face - Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Close-Up of Buddha Face – Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Buddha Face - Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Buddha Face – Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Alleyways of Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Alleyways of Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

The Phimeanakas just to the North was built by Suryavarman I around the year 1000 to act as a huge fortification around his Royal Palace.

In 1050, the impressive state temple of the Baphuon was built to supersede them, but I could only take a glimpse of the exteriors as it was under maintenance. Next to this, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Leper King sat, with a huge man-made lake at its centre.

Baphuon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Baphuon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Phimeanakas - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Phimeanakas – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia


Terrace of the Elephants - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Terrace of the Elephants – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Then in 1113, Suryavarman II started the next great phase of construction, which gave birth to the most impressive and famous of all Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat. This huge collection of temples is dedicated to Vishnu, set within an extensive enclosure to become one of the most complete of the complexes.

Moat of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Moat of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Walkway to Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Walkway to Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Main Causeway to Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Main Causeway to Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Perimeter Entrance to Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Perimeter Entrance to Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Entrance to Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Entrance to Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Vishnu Statue - Angkor Wat - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Vishnu Statue – Angkor Wat – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Terraces of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Terraces of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Stairway of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Stairway of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Inside Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Inside Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

As you walked through, you could witness some of the impressive Khmer art with extensive galleries etched on the walls around you.

Gallery Entrance - Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Gallery Entrance – Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Galleries of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Galleries of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Khmer Art - Galleries of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Khmer Art – Galleries of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Khmer Art - Galleries of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Khmer Art – Galleries of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Khmer Art - Galleries of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Khmer Art – Galleries of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia


Khmer Art - Galleries of Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Khmer Art – Galleries of Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

The foliage around was also breath-taking – not particularly in appearance, but in the raw sounds of the wildlife that hid away. The sound of the crickets was intense, so much so that I peeled away from the ruins for around half an hour to sit and listen.

View from Angkor Wat - Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

View from Angkor Wat – Ruins of Angkor, Cambodia

Later in the day, I then visited Ta Phrom, which for me was the most impressive and exciting of all the ruins. The remains of Ta Phrom sits within the jungle, with most of the structures now embedded within the jungle itself which over the centuries has surrounded the city. Within its walls, huge trees were interlocked into the temple foundations, with the great jungle fauna decorating it. For these reasons, the ruins still had plenty of life to them.

Ta Phrom Entrance - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Entrance – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Engulfed by Jungle Foliage – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Ta Phrom Galleries - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Ta Phrom Galleries – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Gallery Art - Ta Phrom - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Gallery Art – Ta Phrom – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Gallery Art - Ta Phrom - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Gallery Art – Ta Phrom – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Gallery Art - Ta Phrom - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Gallery Art – Ta Phrom – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

At sunset, I then headed over to the hills of Phnom Bahkeng, which was also built in the 9th century. Although it was far too crowded, you could see why it was the main attraction at sunset, with the spectacular views out over the rest of Angkor.

Sunset Over Siem Riep - Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Sunset Over Siem Riep – Phnom Bakheng – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Sunset Over Siem Riep - Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Sunset Over Siem Riep – Phnom Bakheng – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Sunset Over Siem Riep - Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Sunset Over Siem Riep – Phnom Bakheng – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Land Mine Victims Playing Music - Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Land Mine Victims Playing Music – Phnom Bakheng – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Cambodian Child with Treat - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Cambodian Child with Treat – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia


Lethal Chaotic Decent from Phnom Bakheng - Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Lethal Chaotic Decent from Phnom Bakheng – Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

Before darkness truly engulfed me, I headed back to Siem Riep on the back of Tom’s scooter. With a fond farewell, I headed into my bungalow to settle down for an early night after the vividly adventurous day.

Me in Front of the Bayon - Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Me in Front of the Bayon – Ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Further Reading on The Ruins of Angkor

 
UNESCO World Heritage Site
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/668/

The Angkor Guide
http://www.theangkorguide.com/

Siem Riep
http://www.siemreapcambodia.org/

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in Cambodia Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |