La Femme Forteresse

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 25, 2008

Banteay Srei is anti-Angkor. It is everything that Angkor Wat is not.

First off, Banteay Srei is remote, even by Cambodian standards. It takes more than 30 minutes by tuktuk from Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. As such, making the trip costs an additional $20 to the tuktuk per-diem rental. Despite the distance and the added cost, the rewards of visiting Banteay Srei are manifold.

Banteay Srei: Lady Under The Lintel

Continue reading “La Femme Forteresse”

Advertisements

Angkor Aweigh!

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 25, 2008

Angkor means city. In fact, Angkor is the largest ancient city with an urban sprawl of 3,000 square kilometers, almost half the size of New York City! Come to think of it, a thousand years ago, Angkor must have been the NYC of that era, what with its kingdom’s power and influence on Southeast Asia and its massive monuments and temple-mountains forming that uniquely jagged Khmer skyline.

A Passage to the Past: Angkor Archaeological Park

Continue reading “Angkor Aweigh!”

My Angelina Jolie Experience in Ta Prohm

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 25, 2008

AJ was in Ta Prohm, a ruined ancient temple within Angkor Archaeological Park. I don’t only mean yours truly, but also the famous AJ: Angelina Jolie. The actress-humanitarian-mother shot some scenes for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in the Angkor complex, most memorably in Ta Prohm.

Ta Prohm: A Tyranny of Trees

Continue reading “My Angelina Jolie Experience in Ta Prohm”

The Bayonic Man

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 25, 2008

Sentry Solo: Angkor Thom

What does enlightenment look like?

Pop culture would have us believe that enlightenment looked like the gaunt, hammy seriousness of Keanu Reeves in Little Buddha. But for the ancient Khmer, it was the face of Jayavarman VII, still revered in Cambodia as the greatest Khmer king. Continue reading “The Bayonic Man”

I Got Myself a Universe in Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 25, 2008

I found myself walking through cloistered hallways alone. Only whispering zephyrs were within earshot. The moment conjured up the centuries past. In the silent, stone-dead here and now, I sat still on ancient landings, imagining what it must have been like 900 years ago. This gallery must have echoed the pitter-patter of scurrying monks. This courtyard must have seen bare-breasted women dancing as apsaras or performing rituals as devatas. This terrace must have borne the pomp and power of King Suryavarman II himself, the builder of Angkor Wat.

The Transcendental Tourist @ Angkor Wat

Continue reading “I Got Myself a Universe in Angkor Wat”

Siem Reap, Seemingly

Siem Reap, Cambodia

April 24 – 26, 2008

Siem Reap was the gateway to Angkor Wat. Tourists and archaeology aficionados would descend on the town before embarking on their Angkorian adventures. The daily influx of foreigners and their money had resuscitated this little backwater town into an oasis of modern (read: Western) trappings in the middle of the dust and poverty of Cambodia.

Apsara Dancers at the Temple Bar in Siem Reap

Continue reading “Siem Reap, Seemingly”

Crossing Cambodia with Star Power

Cambodia

April 24, 2008

Even without the obligatory border check, you would know that you have entered Cambodia from Vietnam. Lush vegetation petered out to sparse shrubs in an arid landscape. Rolling terrain leveled off to a horizon-bordered flatland. This was my first impression of Cambodia, a country I would soon fall in love with.

Dry, Dusty, Deserted: Cambodian Savanna

Continue reading “Crossing Cambodia with Star Power”