We came to Cambodia to visit the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire. Located north of the center of Siem Reap city, the temples cost $20 per day to visit, although the third day is free if you buy a 3 day pass. There are over 1,000 temples just in the outer Siem Reap area, so if you plan to visit here a three day pass is best. Our first day we saw Bayon, Baphuon and Ta Phrom. All three were built in between the late 12th and 13th centuries. Baphuon was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, but later in the 15th century a large reclining Buddha was added.
is easily recognizable for the many faces that are carved into the temple, which are so large they can be seen from a distance. I personally like how there were many dancers carved into the temple walls and also the color graduation of black, white and gray at the Bayon site.
has a very long entrance way that I believe used to be surrounded by moats. The sounds of all the different insects as you walk along the path is entrancing. Make sure you wear your mosquito repellent, or cover your arms and legs well. You can go up two large stairways to the top of Baphuon, and there you are rewarded with great photo ops of Ankor Thom.
the 3rd temple we visited is outside the gates of Ankor Thom. You feel like your in Raiders of the Lost Ark movie here. In fact, Tomb Raiders the movie was shot here. This temple has not only large snake like trees growing around it, but on it. The archeological conservationists have decided to let the trees grow naturally as it enhances the temples environment. This site used to be home to many people, even dancers.
All of these temples fell to ruin after the 17th century. They were discovered later in the 20th century and were reconstructed, but during the Khmer Rouge regime, all work halted. Many temples have just been reopened again to the public. The number of temples that the Khmer people created is amazing, it is a place that Cambodians and tourists all over the world must see once in their lifetime.