How do you begin to fathom an ancient city that held over one million people in the 12th century? We spent a few days in Cambodia in Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor. Having crossed into Thailand overland via train from Malaysia, our tourist visas were good for only 15 days, which means we had to make a “quick” exit out of the country and back to gain more time before we leave in mid-August.
Moooo. Moooo! Get on the cattle drive with the host of slackpackers for the next attraction. This part, we hate. Waiting at a roadside eatery, sitting next to young chain smoking Brits who talk about having to get back to “Uni” at the end of the month, waiting for a tiny Thai dude to wave us onto the next _____(insert ferry/minibus/bus/donkeycart). We feel old again. We finished “Uni” 18 years ago. Let this be a lesson. True, you are never to old, but consider how it may feel to sleep on a 10 hour bus ride now rather than in a few years.
With only a few days in Cambodia, albeit at the most populated tourist attraction, we fell in love with it. The Khmer are a fiercely proud, resilient bunch, with incredible sense of humour. These are people who have lived through some of the worlds most atrocious crimes of humanity and yet they manage to laugh more than anyone. True, tourists are their “bread and butter”, or shall we say “rice and noodles”, so keeping us happy is part of their job. But still, they make you laugh, especially when they tell a funny then can't finish it because they are cracking themselves up.
Three days touring the Temples of Angkor left us mind blown and exhausted (And sweaty. Notice a theme here?) The entire complex is massive, just massive, and the balance of these enormous structures with the most delicate of artwork leaves you thinking a bit about the course of the human race. To think that humans had the capacity for precise design, aesthetics, engineering, abundance of resources, and labor in the 8th to 12th centuries makes you wonder:
Have we really come that far? Or not?
We've been having fun with our camera. Enjoy the photos!