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Caroline and Andy’s Travel Diary

Friday, 02 Mar 2007

Location: Temple Time!, Cambodia

Map8 more temples planned for today, with a later start though!

1 - First off was Bayon, within Angkor Thom which was built in the late 12th Century, and is a mass of face-towers to create a stone mountain of ascending peaks. Bayon has gone through lots of changes and additions, so it feels a bit crowded once inside with its different levels - it felt like Labyrinth to me! Great film.

2 - Terrace of Elephants - does exactly what it says on the tin. A Terrace full of elephant carvings, and their trunks are like the pillars to hold it up!

3 - Terrace of the Leper King - this terrace is named after the 15th century sculpture that was discovered on top.

4 - Baphuon - This was built in 1060, and has 5 tiers altogether although is mostly overgrown. The French undertook the task of taking it apart carefully and numbered all the stones so that they could put it back together again. However during the Pol-pot regime all the plans they had made were destroyed and lost, so its a slow process putting it back together. Kind of like a giant jigsaw. We didn't bother going in.

5 - Pre Khan - By this point, all the temples seem like 1, so forgive me if I don't remember everything. Pre Khan was built around 1191 as is similar to Ta Prohm although much bigger. We arrived at the same time as 60 Japanese coach tourists. Bad timing, but still a great temple. It even had a 2 level building with round columns instead of square which is very unusual!

6 - Pre Neak Pean - Neak Pean is an unusual small monument, a cruciform arrangement of ponds with a sanctuary tower in the middle. At its centre is the main pond, with 4 smaller ponds joined to it at a lower level. The water flows from the centre pond into the lower ponds through the mouths of a lion, an ox, a horse and an elephant. Would have been great if there had been any water in the ponds!

7 - Ta Som - This temple is from the late 12th century, and very similar toTa Prohm as it has lots of face towers. Its also overgrown, with lots of tree roots strangling the building - very Tomb Raider!

8 - Pre Rup - This was one of the oldest temples we visited, and also the last. It was also one of the most amazing. The architecture was very different due to the fact that they'd used lots of smaller bricks for this temple. It was also similar in shape to Angkor Wat with its 5 towers. We climbed all the way to the top in the heat - phew!