For those without the power to ascend Phnom Bakheng, elephants are at their service. Though I am sure it must be quite an experience, I don't think it's right for humans to "ride" elephants. Instead I took a few pictures of these beautiful creatures. Photo taken in December 2016.
10 October 2017
09 October 2017
08 October 2017
So many details, so many photos! Sorry I've been out of touch for awhile, things have just gotten very busy, but I think it's back to normal now. Photo taken in December 2016.
15 September 2017
Unfortunately, the skies were hazy during all of our time at the Angkor temple complex, so we never really got a mindblowing sunrise or sunset. The top of Phnom Bakheng is a popular spot for sunsets, so visitors have to get here early for a spot. Though the colors aren't brash and bold, the muted pastels in the sky give a nice sense of serenity.
It's Friday and you'll find more skies at Skywatch. Photo taken in December 2016.
14 September 2017
13 September 2017
12 September 2017
A line of mini-Buddhas carved into the stone. Hard to image the hours of intricate work that must have gone into making every detail. The faces are so serene. Photo taken in December 2016.
11 September 2017
01 September 2017
There is a 20+ kilometer circuit that takes visitors through the Angkor temple complex. Most people opt to hire a tuk tuk driver for the day to get around between the different temples. While their customers are out visiting, the drivers often hang the hammock and catch a few zzzs in the back of the tuk tuk. Photo taken in September 2016.
31 August 2017
The Angkor temple complex was the capital of the Khmer Empire which flourished from around the ninth to the fifteenth century. There are many temples of various age and in different states of decay. This figure guards one of the main gates into the old "city".
Here's the road leading up to the gate. Here you can see the figures in situ. They flank the entrance on both sides. I can imagine this was a very impressive sight for visitors back in the old days (and even now!). Photos taken in December 2016.
30 August 2017
The complex of Angkor temples is a photographer's paradise. There are so many beautiful details to photograph and enjoy. This regal woman was found at Bayon. Photo taken in December 2016.
29 August 2017
There are beautiful, serene faces carves into the stone columns of Bayon temple. They are facing the cardinal directions: North, West, South and East.
Everywhere you turn, there they are. It's like having a benevolent spirit watching over you. Photos taken in December 2016.
28 August 2017
25 August 2017
Bayon is one of the major temples at the Angkor site. It's filled with beautiful nooks and crannies, some of which you've seen earlier this week. We'll take a closer look at this temple next week. Photo taken in December 2016.
24 August 2017
He looks illuminated in his golden sash. There was something special about the light. Photo taken in December 2016.
23 August 2017
22 August 2017
21 August 2017
Sunrise over the reflecting pool at Angkor Wat. Unfortunately, it was very hazy so there wasn't really a lot of color in the sky (I put a lot of filter on this one). Get ready to see some Buddhas and other Buddhist figures. I think almost half of the 12,000+ photos I took on this trip came from the many temples of Angkor Wat! Photo taken in December 2016.
18 August 2017
This is a memorial to the people that stands in the middle of the town.
This sculpture was also nearby, though I'm not sure of it's significance. I hope you've enjoyed this tour of Kompong Thom, next week it's on the Siem Reap and the famed temples of Angkor Wat. Photos taken in December 2016.
17 August 2017
The market at Kompong Thom was filled with interesting food items. These fried spiders are a specialty of the region and considered a real delicacy.
Cambodians first began eating insects under the Khmer Rouge rule. Rice and other food was severely rationed, so many people suffered from starvation and malnourishment. For this reason, the Cambodian people looked elsewhere for sources of food; insects became a natural choice. They are abundant and the supply couldn't be cut off by the leaders.
Many Cambodians still enjoy these treats today. Though many tourists do like to partake, I didn't! Photos taken in December 2016.
16 August 2017
The Tonle Sap river runs through the province of Kampong Thom. During the monsoon season, the river actually changes direction and creates a floodplain, hence houses in the area are built on stilts.
Farm animals will find any piece of grass to chew on. Oftentimes they wander into the streets and cause traffic jams.
Though most commerce in the countryside centers around agriculture, there are a few service businesses. Apparently lost keys is a universal problem! For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs. Photos taken in December 2016.
15 August 2017
A stroll through the local market at Kompong Thom is a must. It is so interesting to see all of the local specialties (though I'm not sure I want to try them all!).
This woman had dried fish on offer, which are used to flavor almost every Cambodian dish.
Certainly the display techniques take some getting used to! At least you know everything is fresh. Photos taken in December 2016.
14 August 2017
The town of Kompong Thom is well-known for it's Buddha sculptures. People come here from all over Cambodia to purchase their very own Buddha. Temples also make commissions for statuary.
A trip through the village is definitely worthwhile as you'll see Buddhas of all shapes and sizes and in different stages of completion.
If you're lucky, you might even get to see a sculptor at work! Photos taken in December 2016.
11 August 2017
10 August 2017
Phnom Santuk is considered a holy site of pilgrimage for Cambodian Buddhists. There are several images of Buddha carved directly into the mountain stone. This one shows Buddha in a meditative pose.
Here's a walking Buddha - though he is on a much smaller scale. You can see the most important reclining Buddha here (I didn't get a photo of my own).
And just for fun, here are some monkeys looking for food on one of the offering stands. Photos taken in December 2016.
09 August 2017
There were lots of decorative arches and entryways at the new temple area atop Phnom Santuk.
They were all painted with bright colors.
And they certainly made me feel welcome! More signs can be found at Signs, Signs. Photos taken in December 2016.
08 August 2017
This is the newer section of Phnom Santuk. This temple was beautifully painted and decorated, both on the inside and out (this is where I found yesterday's murals).
I caught one of the resident monkeys having a bit of fun atop the temple's guardian statues. Photos taken in December 2916.
07 August 2017
Buddhist temples almost always have some kind of murals showing the different phases of the life of the Buddha. This room was in the new temple atop Phnom Santuk in Kompong Thom, Cambodia. It's a very colorful room, and I especially like the way the sculpted tree is integrated into the works. More murals can be found at Monday Mural. Photo taken in December 2016.
04 August 2017
03 August 2017
02 August 2017
01 August 2017
31 July 2017
Phnom Santuk is a holy site situated halfway between Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. It's just outside the village of Kompong Thom where we spent one night before heading to Angkor Wat.
To reach the vista at Phnom Santuk, you must climb the 809 step stone stairway.
These friendly faces will keep you motivated. They line the stairway on each side, every step of the way. At the top of the mountain, you'll find several temples of varying styles and age. Check back this week for more. Photos taken in December 2016.