Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The ancient temples of Angkor

3 days in Phnom Penh and the procession must move on to the next stage... Leaving Phnom Penh behind was not easy. The short time I spent here was enough to meet nice people and engage in the most varied sensations, which connected me to the city.
Paolo, Domenico, Sat and Anna all left to Sihanoukville, a town by the cambodjan coast with beautiful beaches (I was a bit jealous); Hugo stayed longer waiting for his wounds to heal; the other girls made their way to Vietnam; and Miguelito was on his own again...
My next mission was to visit the Angkor temples in the Northwest of the country, so got on the bus to Siem Reap, the city that serves as base for the temples.

bus station at Siem Reap!

6 hours bus and had someone picking me up on the other end, at the bus station, straight to the guesthouse... lush!

shrines on the streets!

There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements.
From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 1000 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings - palaces, public buildings, and houses - were built of wood and are long since decayed and gone.

The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit nagara, meaning "city". The Angkorian period began in AD 802, when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself a "universal monarch" and "god-king", until 1431, when Ayutthayan invaders sacked the Khmer capital, causing its population to migrate south to the area of Phnom Penh.

The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonle Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world's largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. Visitor numbers approach two million annually.

In 2007, an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an elaborate system of infrastructure connecting an urban sprawl of at least 1000 square kilometres to the well-known temples at its core. The closest rival to Angkor, the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, was between 100 and 150 square kilometres in total size. Although its population remains a topic of research and debate, newly identified agricultural systems in the Angkor area may have supported up to one million people.

On my arrival to the guesthouse in Siem Riep, I met Ben and Daniel who curiously stayed at the same guesthouse in Phnom Penh, 2 days before... typical! We all had in mind to visit Angkor the next day so we arranged to go together. It makes things easier, right? So we hired a tuk-tuk for the next day to one of the employees of the guesthouse, the pleasant Houn! Says the guidebook and people who have experienced it, that is worst to see the sunrise over the main temple, Angkor Wat. An early morning is mandatory and at 4.30am we were ready... not too fresh, but ready...

Arriving to Angkor Wat...
I had been travelling for over 7 weeks and here, for the first time, I heard someone speaking in portuguese from Portugal. 2 middle age ladies, perhaps on holiday... Good but sad...
I wish I had met more country fellows along the way...

keen people gather by the lake waiting for the sun to come up... Picture, picture, picture!!! Locals come with chairs and breakfast menu, strrrrong coffee!!

the sun rise at Angkor...


Every new King, coming to the throne, would build his own complex of buildings and temples.
For 4 centuries, over 26 Rulers left behind a legacy of over 400km2 of temples, representing the signature of each King.

So one has to arrange the means to go around the vast area: some people arrive on tour buses, other on hired private cars, other get around on tuk-tuks and bicycles...

Carrega cu eles!!!!

Angkor Thom

Approaching the Bayon

Temple workers

Chased by 2 Dannish hotties!!

Miguelito actually first met this girls on the 4 hours truck journey to LuangPrabang in Laos, 4 weeks earlier. Random people one meet along the way on buses and things. And there they were now... 'Ruining' my picture! Didn't see them coming. We chatted for a bit trying to catch up on the last 4 weeks. It was hot that day! They were all sweaty... wet... and me too...

Cambodjan angel...

The 3 Amigos!
Ben, 23 y.o Ozzie, travelling asia for a few months.

Daniel, 34, English, travelling for over 7 months. Got sacked in England, i mean, sorry, he was made redundant... so instead of sit and wait for his faith and a new job he packed up and went travelling... Mai'nada!!!

ruins or stone beds..? perhaps to watch the stars...

coming into Bathoun


Terrace of the Elephants

Baking hot! 40º Celsius and high humidity! I don't remember to have drank so much water before... Hiding from the sun!

Time for pray, donation and Buddhist bracelet...

Business... Gia, selling bamboo flutes and post cards.

Gia is the world's best bamboo flute player. He is good!

Lunch break and leisure time...

The King Ben yaraman III

...child labour!!! Criminal !!! Take him away!!

Ta Prohm

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.

Most recently, this temples were used as the set for the film Tomb Rider, cum a gôstóóósa da Angelina!

O meu amigo vai obrar..?

Nature calls...

Dan, the photo hunter, lost in the stone jungle!

My Korean ladies...

As of 2010 it seems authorities have started to take a more aggressive approach to restoration. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is under way to restore the temple, with much of the work seemingly just rebuilding the temple from scratch as at other sites. Wooden walkways, platforms, and roped railings have been put in place around the site which now block some of the previously famous postcard photo opportunities.

Seriously... Don't ruin the ruins!!! Leave them be... It's ok, people like it like that!


The North Gate into Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat

We left the the main temple to last. End of the day and we got back to Angkor Wat.
At this time Ben got lost amongst the Japanese and Korean groupies... But the show must go on...

Look at them!
Que to the top!!! they love it... People love ques, don't they..?
I specially love ques on holidays... hmmm...

Tanned..? Not really... F**kn Filthy!!!


Unlike most asian women, cambodjan girls seem to have quite prominent breasts...
Looking at the temple's carved walls (the photography of ancient times), one can confirm that such nice feature is inheritance from the far Past...
We like it !!!

...and some can get a bit too obsessed about it...

Ssssss... lap the Cop!!

it was a loooooooooooooooooooong day...


  1. Foi certamente um dia longo mas bem curtido. Belo pedaço de história do império Khmer. Uma visão,de um passado e de um povo, que fica para a vida.

  2. Bem Angkor é simplesmente lindo :))) e todas aquelas árvores no templo são surreais parecem verdadeiras esculturas vivas...como que abraçam o templo lindo, deixem ficar assim :)))
    As crianças são simplesmente lindas :))

  3. I am surprised they took your blood. Obviously they don't know about your habits

  4. Portugal say goodbye to the World Cup. Spain is crashing over you little brother. I will drink a bit of Porto for every Spain goal. I am gonna get so drunk!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa