There are so many temples and buildings all over this beautiful archaeological site. It’s impossible to see it all in one, two or three days. We left so much unseen taking three entire days to go through the two larger complexes thoroughly, but we still managed to explore three other temples, even in the crazy heat and humidity of Siem Reap.
*original map from here – edited for this post by me
This beautiful complex is believed to have possibly been a Buddhist university and it housed around 1000 teachers! Wow! This temple, although now partially crumbled, won my heart with it’s stunningly detailed carvings on every single surface, the pinks and greens growing on the walls, and the giant tree with its roots reaching down into the temple.
Just walking over this bridge over the river, I knew that I was going to be seeing something incredible.
It was so worth it to step into these corridors, stepping over and around these stones to see more and more carvings covered in lichen.
This beautiful site had it all: unique coloring from the different lichens, trees for the tree-lovers like myself, a stupa, Hindu & Buddhist iconography like you can’t even imagine and a beautiful river bridge to walk over.
Every tuktuk driver or “tour guide” will call Ta Prohm “Tomb Raider Temple”. This Mahayana temple is yet another stunning temple ruin in this complex. I think it’s unique thing is all of the trees growing inside and on top of it. Although this isn’t the only temple with trees, this has multiple spilling over the walls and on top of towers, plus it has the one massive tree right by the entrance. It adds a feeling of wildness that the others, even those with trees, just don’t have.
This massive tree spilling over the edge is a work of art in itself. I loved seeing the architecture and nature battling it out in the most beautiful way imaginable.
Although it’s a bit crowded and was made iconic from Tomb Raider, it’s still vast and wild. You can lose the crowds exploring the tiny rooms, the big courtyards and have time to yourself.
This smaller complex was used to house monks. Our tuktuk driver tried to dissuade us from going here, saying it was small and like the others. I’m so glad that we didn’t listen to him. This complex was just as stunning as the others and inside was an amazing and beautiful surprise.
At Angkor Wat you’re asked to pay for incense, for blessings, for tour guides and more. However, inside here, on my birthday, this man gave me incense, instructed me to bow three times & pray, and then tied these two strings on my wrist, ied two strings on my wrist- a red (wisdom & achievement) and a yellow (middle-fold path) and told me that it was a blessing! Happy birthday to me!
Coming back around behind where this man sat giving out blessings, you could see the Buddha figure, the dharma wheel and all of the flags and colors from behind. Just a little perspective and a lot of beauty!
Another thing I loved about this temple was one section of rooms had tons and tons of meditation stones stacked. It was such a beautiful site with the bas relief behind it. I loved this small temple. It was so amazing to have such a wonderful and unique experience.
There is truly so much to see in Angkor Archaeological Site, and even after 3 full days of exploration, we left many temples unseen. (Read about Angkor Wat HERE and Angkor Thom HERE.) I can’t wait to bring Matt back here, show him my favorite sites and explore new ones. Angkor Wat and it’s other temples are something that truly cannot be missed.
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