There are a thousand images of this incredible place, of ruined temples with the roots of the trees coming out from under the ground and destroying everything that is not nature. Of impossible figures and bas-reliefs, and in the same way, there are stories about what was once a great empire that for reasons that are not yet known for sure, disappeared overnight, or almost. I’m talking about the temples of Angkor.
History of the Temples of Angkor
Let’s learn a little about the history of this magnificent place in a country like Cambodia.
Its golden age begins in the 9th century, when the Khmer kingdom conquers and subdues all the nearby towns and that he is going to declare Devaraja which means god-king. From that moment is when hundreds of temples begin to be built to reinforce that divine image that it is intended to give.
There were several kings who contributed to create the most magnificent and incredible temples in Angkor, leading to the most famous Angkor wat (the most important temple, Wat means temple), Bakong, Bayon, Preah Khan Y Ta Prhom.
It is from the thirteenth century when the decline of Angkor Due to the Mongol and Siamese invasions, the current Thais. At the end of the 16th century it is abandoned.
There are several theories as to why the abandonment of Angkor by its inhabitants. One of them is due to the diseases that could be produced, some type of tropical disease, similar to the medieval European plague, which caused its inhabitants to leave there.
Another theory is due to all the constructions that were made, we must not forget that Angkor is believed to have reached a million inhabitants, which to me personally seems somewhat exaggerated. The problem was the use of tree trunks to transport building stones, which contributed to savage deforestation. The symptoms of this deforestation, it is believed, could have produced large floods in the rainy season, because there was not enough forest mass to contain the water and mud, it came to cover part of the city, which could cause the abandonment of its inhabitants.
The last theory refers to the invasions of Mongols and Siamese, which, being so continuous in time, could have created nearby populations, so the leaders of the weakened Khmer empire decided to leave Angkor and move to another place further away from the enemies. as is the southern area of Lake Tonlé Sap.
Only the Angkor Wat temple has continued to be inhabited since then by Buddhist monks.
The most curious thing about the history of Angkor is that for centuries it was abandoned and lost in the jungle, until at the end of the 19th century a French naturalist, Henri Mouhot, rediscovered it. Although it is believed that during the previous centuries Portuguese and Spanish missionaries could visit it, but they did not transmit it or did not give the repercussion to the place as the French naturalist did.
Visit to the Temples of Angkor
Angkor is located about eight kilometers from the city of Siam Reap, which is the place where travelers who go to visit the temples stay, and where we stay.
Something not to be missed for anything in the world is sunrise, for which you have to get up very early, because the sunrise starts at five thirty in the morning. Although there is a real crowd of tourists on the way from Siam Reap to the temples of Angkor, as well as at Angkor Wat, this does not take away the magic of such a unique moment in such a special place.
Stroll through the different temples, civil buildings, the Terrace of the Elephants, get lost in the complex without looking at the clock, immerse yourself in the past and believe yourself to be an inhabitant of the place. Imagine the characters in the sculptures and bas-reliefs, enter those small temples inhabited by the roots of the trees, get lost in the crowd of tourists.
It is without a doubt one of the most incredible visits in all of Southeast Asia, and why not say it, in the world. I think that few times I have enjoyed myself so much, feeling like Indiana Jones, or just a spectator of a place with a magical past.
When you go, do not forget to bring enough water, and perhaps an umbrella or a raincoat, the rains are short but intense. You will need water, because even if you go in the rainy season, the heat is very tight.
Walking around Angkor and dreaming about what it was like can be a wonderful experience.
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How to plan your view
There are several options for touring the Angkor temples;
It can rent a bikeAlthough you have to be careful because of the high temperatures, bring to water.
It can rent a car with driver, this is the most expensive option.
It can rent a tuk-tuk which would be the intermediate option.
Entrance to the temples is $ 20 for one day, $ 30 for three days, and $ 60 for a week.
Accommodation in Siam Reap
Accommodation in Siam Reap is varied, although prices are somewhat higher than elsewhere in the country, it can cost around $ 25-30 for a double room.
The truth is that there are a lot of accommodations. When we got to the city we found a place that caught our attention from outside, and the truth was that we saw it, and it seemed right, a good place to sleep a couple of nights in the city. Its about Tan Kang Angkor Hotel. You can check prices and availability in the following link, Tan Kang Angkor Hotel.
Anyway, as I said before, there are other alternatives in the city, in the following link you can see them, check prices and availability, Accommodation in Siam Reap.
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