When in Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Every time I look back at my memories of Angkor Wat, I cannot help but smile remembering how beautiful the sight was. Over the years, this ancient temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia has remained a testament of the rich Khmer history and architecture.
Visiting Angkor Wat is every traveler’s fulfillment. Aside from its beauty, tourists flock as UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site.
Angkor Wat was actually a Buddhist temple built by King Jayavarman VII. Primarily, it housed a lot of books and scriptures on Buddhism. The architecture is beyond amazing with symmetry and science behind its construction despite the fact that it was constructed early as 9th century. 
They say that it was built to represent and symbolize the universe in a miniature. It consists of towers called Mount Meru representing heaven. Meanwhile, the lower structures including courtyards and moats represent the earth.
Angkor Wat is located inside Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer empire back in the day. It was enclosed by stone walls to protect the empire from intruders.

Also read: When in Cambodia: A Place to Stay at in Seam Reap

Aside from this temple, there are other notable places within the walled city including:
Bayon Temple, the largest temple in Angkor Thom. It is located in the center.
Baphuon Temple, one of the tallest temples. (Note: Observe proper attire when climbing this temple. Wearing shorts or skirts is not allowed for women. Bring sarong or anything to cover up).
Terrace of the Elephants, which served as the platform where the king viewed the return of his army. Several elephant carvings can be seen where it got its name. The king and prince of the empire rode elephants, thus making them significant to humans since the ancient times.


Terrace of Leper King, which got its name from King Yasovarman I or Dharmaraja who suffered from leprosy.

Ta Phrom, which has been popularized by the Hollywood movie "Tomb Raider" as Lara Croft's house. What's more amazing is the gigantic trees and roots crawling around it.
We actually went to Angkor Wat twice. At first, we got there by car as part of the private tour arranged by the guest house where we stayed at. The second visit went more exciting when we rented a one-dollar bicycle to go there on our own. 
What an adventure it was to see the temples on bike! It gave me more freedom to move around at my pace, and it also helped me discover hidden temples! Biking in Siem Reap is safe, so I definitely recommend it. A lot of tourists do it too. Manual bikes and e-bikes are available for rent almost everywhere in Siem Reap. 




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