Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Biking Indiana Jones

Angkor Wat.

"The Temple stands solitary and alone in the jungle, in too perfect order to be called ruins, a relic of a race far ahead of the present in all the arts and sciences"
D.O. King, 1860, French explorer

Angkor was a capital of Khmer empire in 9th-13th century. It is hypothesized that this was the largest preindustiral city with a possible population of one million. The temples were build from sandstone and are still standing.

Ta Prohm.

I got to Siem Reap by the boat from Battambang. On the way we crossed quite a few small villages situated on the lake. Kind of water-land experience. Our boat was also delivering mail to the local people. You can find few photos from this trip here.

When we reached our destination, huge attack of crazy tuk-tuk drivers occurred.

Everyone wanted to get a passenger hoping that the next days he will be employed as a driver for sightseeing the neighborhood temples. In this moment... I started to miss the Indian tuk-tuk drivers. I believe that tuk-tuk drivers are different species, especially here. They behavior convinced me not to try to use them if possible. Temples are situated on a huge area in the jungle close to Siem Reap city. It is very flat here, but also very hot and humid. Temples are too far one from each-other to walk around them, but the distances are just perfect for bike trip. It was not easy for me to find a big enough bike to rent, but I managed finally.

Bayon faces.

Angkor is the highlight of this part of the world but luckily Angkor is huge. I figured out the timing and routs of majority of tourist, especially the time schedule of the Asian organized tours and I manage to enjoy most of the ancient temples on my own.

I loved exploring those temples. My favorite one was Ta Prohm. This temple is largely left its natural state from the discovery, which means that the jungle is trying to claim it back. Ultimate Indiana Jones experience. Apparently Tomb Rider was shot here. I have not seen this movie, but now I hope to see it one day.

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