Cambodia Photos

The Angkor Ruins


On the World Heritage list of world treasures are a number of Khmer civilization ruins in Cambodia, the most famous of which is Angkor Wat (above).  From 802 AD to 1432 AD – the Angkorian Period in SE Asia – a great many Hindu and Buddhist temples were built on a breathtaking scale.  “Rediscovered” by the French in the 1860s (it’s amazing how white guys rediscover things that native people never knew were lost), Angkor Wat is the gem and centerpiece to a vast collection of temple ruins that also include Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Pre Rup, and Banteay Srei in the Siem Reap area of Cambodia.  To give you a sense of scale, Angkor Thom was enclosed by a 5 mile by 7 ½ mile wall, with a 300 foot wide moat, inhabited by fierce crocodiles.  The ruins are much, much more extensive than anything I have seen elsewhere in the world and the architecture truly distinctive.

Siem Reap and the ruins are beginning to be overrun by tourists, which is a shame. There are now a number of 4 and 5 star hotels in the area, but also guest houses at $6 a night. Getting around in a tuk tuk (motorized rickshaw) is easy and cheap. The government has (unfortunately) sold off the rights to market the ruins to a private company and a three day pass costs $40.  You just wish that some of the money would be used for roads and other infrastructure needs in Cambodia, but not so.  Cambodia is a very poor country and while the booming tourist industry has provided a number of jobs, you still feel for what these people do not have. If you want to see what ought to be on the list of “7 Wonders of the ‘Modern’ World”, go to Angkor Wat.

These are some of my favorite places of beauty and nature.  The list could go on and I will be adding to it over the coming years.  But my list is not important to you.  What is important is developing your own list of places and experiences that will live on in your memory and the memories of your family.  I hope this provides some food for thought and possible travel guidance for everyone interested in exploring our most interesting planet.  Good luck and may you gain as much satisfaction from your travels as I have.

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”   Miriam Beard