Temples of Siem Reap

February 3rd, 2023

I was a little worried that the Angkor Wat I remembered from my backpacking days would be transformed into a bustling hive of busloads of clueless tourists.  I can’t tell you how pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. The “Tomb Raider temple” of Ta Phrom has been rebuilt back to its former glory.  Gone are most of the trees that grew through the temple and ultimately destroyed it.  Now it is rebuilt.  I thought it would be a letdown because the charm of this temple was the trees snaking through the dismantled stone blocks of the temple. But like all the new roads and reconstruction, it was done with taste and will preserve the temple for future generations.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This temple was an almost vertical climb up the stairs.  It was a rewarding climb that left me so sore afterward. Great view! Worth it!

The Bayon temple is like stepping back in time with four faces of the Avalokiteshvara atop the pinnacle of each temple.

A beautiful Apsara carving!
I love that I am buying modern-day reproductions of the statue carvings I am seeing in the actual temples. We have this exact design of Apsara coming in wood, 6 feet tall.

These beautiful Cambodian-style Foo Dogs guard the entrances of the temples. 
They differ so much from Indonesian and Vietnamese Foo Dogs. 

This stunning Vishnu is the main deity of Angkor Wat.  We have this same design of Vishnu coming in our next container. It is so rewarding to see the original statue our modern-day statues are based upon.

King Jayavarman VII Builder of Angkor Wat

Cambodian King Jayavarman VII Statue 37"
Click here to view this stunning statue of Cambodian King Jayavarman VII Statue 37″

With regards to the arts, King Jayavarman VII was responsible for the construction of numerous temples in the Angkor region and in other provinces. King Jayavarman VII was further championed as the greatest king of Angkor for liberating and unifying the country. His legacy lives on today as many of the structures remaining today within Angkor Wat were built during his reign. At the center of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple, famous for its distinct 50 towers, each bearing the large faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshavara on all four sides. These faces are thought to be copied from the actual face of King Jayavarman VII, whose smiles are so gentle that it is often referred to as the Khmer smile. This great king was a devout Buddhist of the Mahayana sect.