One day in Angkor Wat

Cambodia, Destinations, Other, Photography

One day in Angkor Wat

2 Comments 26 March 2012

Erected in the 9th century, Angkor Wat has seen a lot over the years. The world’s largest religious monument, the structure has had a Buddhist, Hindu and cult following.

It’s had addition after addition added until the 15th century, stretching 400 km2 across the center of Cambodia. The funny thing is, if you didn’t know it was there you probably wouldn’t be able to find it amongst the country’s forests.

More than anything the monument has survived the test of time, the Khmer Rouge that tried to destroy all of Cambodia’s cultured past and even mother nature who still tries to rip through the architectural wonder today with its mighty roots.

We spent about an hour and a half just walking around the main temple in Angkor Wat. It really felt like a trip back in time. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Angkor Archeological Park is home to all the temples that make up Angkor Wat. Today the UNESCO World Heritage site that had been ignored for so long is getting the attention it rightfully deserves. Tourists from all around the world visit the site each year to see its crumbling religious structures.

Seeing how massive Angkor Wat is, makes the detail even more incredible. Here are wall carvings of Khmer soldiers in the main temple. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I visited in May 2011 and was in shock of the size of the place. The guesthouse I stayed at set up a tuk tuk to pick my partner and I up at 4:30 a.m. We hired the tuk tuk for half a day for only $20, a bargain considering he drove us around for six hours that day and my partner and I split the price.

Ric and our tuk tuk driver inside the Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Entrance into the Park costs $20 per person for one day, but multiple-day passes are discounted. Though most the guidebooks and blogs I read recommend visiting for at least three days, I decided to just try one day and see how I felt. Inevitably I would have liked to have seen more, but like castles in Scotland, I was starting to get a bit temple-weary at this point in our trip around Southeast Asia.

The sun warming the walls of Angkor Wat’s main temple. We walked around here just after sunrise. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Our tuk tuk driver had a schedule of temples for us to visit that day, but also considered ones we point out in a tourist book I bought there for $5. We visited Angkor Wat for sunrise, which was worth the early wake up. Besides being an amazing building, a pond in front mirrors the image of the sun rising behind it. We visited Bayon (the temple with many faces on it), Ta Prohm (the most photographed temple for trees growing through it) and about five more temples that day. The three mentioned are probably the most well-known, but there is so much more to be discovered in this park.

I had seen so many photographs of this spot in Ta Prohm over the years. It was hard to get the photo I wanted of it though, because now there is a massive platform in front of it. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Luckily, there are plenty more gorgeous spots to photograph here. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

It’s ironic that the lure of Ta Prohm is actually the thing that is destroying it. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Not much of the park that I visited was cut off to visitors at the time. A lot of it was being restored while I was there, which was great to see. I have to say my favorite temple is Bayon. It was such an amazing structure and fun to walk around. Everywhere I looked a stone face was smiling back at me. Visitors will spot quite a few monkeys hanging around this area of the Park, which are cute, but still wild so treat them as such.

Bayon was definitely my favorite temple to visit. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

No matter how lost you get in Bayon, someone is always watching you. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

People were restoring a lot of the ruins in Angkor Wat while I was there. Here is a wall near elephant terrace pieced together. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

We saw so many monkeys on the drive from Angkor Wat to Bayon. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

There are plenty of places to buy food and water. A strip of food carts operate by the main temple. Each cart is named after a celebrity like Lady Gaga or Angelina Jolie.

There are plenty of spots in the Park to buy souvenirs. Cambodia is very poor, but I met more children and people who were selling goods rather than just begging around Angkor Wat. I bought a few bracelets from children and books from land mine victims in Siem Reap. I would really recommend this as a way to give back to a place with such beautiful people and land who have suffered so much.

A child runs through the pillars of Angkor Wat. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

People interested in visiting Angkor Wat should base themselves in Siem Reap. The busy Cambodian town is located about a 20-minute drive from Angkor Wat. All you hear about in the town is Angkor Wat, but make sure to take a few days to just enjoy Siem Reap. It’s a gorgeous city with markets, cafes and great restaurants.

I wouldn’t bother arranging anything until arriving in Angkor Wat. You’ll most likely get scooped up by a guesthouse at the bus station anyway. They’re really good in organizing tours and very friendly. Make sure to haggle though and always be aware that scams do happen.

Angkor Wat is a magnificent place to visit and it’s an incredibly cheap trip in terms of travel around the world. Have you ever visited the Park? What was your experience like and what are your tips for those who have never been?

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The Animals of SE Asia

Cambodia, Destinations, Philippines, Thailand

The Animals of SE Asia

4 Comments 03 November 2011

Ric and I are huge animal lovers. In fact, Ric has been called a dog whisperer on more than one occasion by people all over the world. We never miss an opportunity to pet an animal in SE Asia and there were plenty of them

We made so many friends in Asia, most of which were animals. Here are a few of our furry and some not so furry friends.

Dogs

This crazy fella came charging at me on the beach in Malapascua. He then proceeded to roll in the sand and run circles around me as I walked the beach. Eventually he ran out of energy and let me pet him. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

A batch of puppies were born just before we arrived at the house in Pattaya. They were quite timid, but would play with Ric’s mom. She named one “Tiny Turner” pronounced “teeny”.

 

The biggest golden retriever I’ve ever met, we played with him for hours during a pub quiz in Pattaya. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Look at the hair. Obviously we named this lady Farrah Fawcett. She helped Ric through a banking crisis on the phone at Chaweng Beach. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Doppler! Our very first pup. We visited him every day while in Malapascua. He lived at a barbecue hut behind Exotic Resort. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Gobblin Dog. He wouldn’t let Ric leave Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok. Good thing he was cute. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

I named this guy Chewy, well, cause he chewed EVERYTHING. He was only just a pup and so sweet. Only wish he would have stayed out the trash. Photo by Richard Hackey

 

Look at the face on him! Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

It’s not always pretty running into street dogs. Some of them are looked after, but most are not and need serious attention. I felt so bad for this guy, he was shaking on Koh Phangan during the Full Moon Party. Someone even painted him. Poor guy. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

This pair was having a ball at Angkor Wat. Just running around playing through the monument. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

We fed this guy at a restaurant in Malapascua and he was our best friend for the rest of the night. I think he’s apart of the Ristorante Angelina crew, a dozens dogs that hangout around the restaurant and howl at the moon. Photo by Richard Hackey.

 

Monkeys

Now this relationship is true love. The little monkey was tied up to someone’s bike at Lonely Beach on Koh Chang. It was night and everyone was drunk and probably scaring him. He jumped onto Ric and wouldn’t let go. Ric loved him to pieces. It was so sad when we had to leave, the little guy wouldn’t let go. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

“Monkey,” I screamed from our motorbike in Malapascua, Philippines. There are no monkeys in Malapscua, so he must have been someone’s pet. But he was having a blast, running around a house by the beach. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Pigs

I hate to pick favorites, but this pig was definitely mine. We ran into him while in 4,000 Islands in Laos. Usually pigs don’t like to be touched, but he was pulling as far as his rope could go to get to me. I scratched behind his right ear and he just collapsed. I did it a few times while we stayed there. He had spots on him, so I called him Leopard Pig. Photo by Richard Hackey

 

This guy was massive by the time we left. Probably being raised for food, but I don’t like to think of it. Anyway, he lived just outside the resort I lived on in Malapascua. We all knew him and probably also heard him oinking in the wee-hours of the morning. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

 Other

This flying fish flew onto my dive boat off Donsol in the Philippines. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Everyone seems to own a rooster in the Philippines. They either use them for food or fighting. This one was about to fight near Donsol. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Basically thrown at us on Walking Street in Pattaya, I’m still not sure what this animal is. He looks like a sloth of sorts. UPDATE: This animal is a slow loris. Many thanks to Waegook Tom for clearing that up. 

 

This tiny caged squirrel was someone’s pet in Bangkok, Thailand. I don’t think he liked being in there. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

 

It’s hard not to run into elephants while touring Thailand. If you want to ride them, make sure you go through a good place, because some of them treat the elephants terribly. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

 

Last but certainly not least is our bulldog Ruddiger. Flown in all the way from England to travel with us, the little guy has braved shaky bus rides, rough seas and drunken backpackers. Good dog. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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Photo Friday: Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Cambodia, Destinations, Other, Photography

Photo Friday: Sunrise at Angkor Wat

No Comments 30 July 2011

In light of a holy theme at Zip Set Go’s Travelers’ Night In this week, I thought a good idea for photo Friday would be the world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat.

Attracting visitors from all over the world to what is basically a city in itself, Angkor Wat is located just outside of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Staying out of the debates over how much time one would need at this monument or the best time of day to see it, here is just one photo of the great place in all its glory.

This photo was taken just after 6 a.m. on a weekday in May 2011. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to sunset and the best seats in the the house were already almost filled. Here you can see dawn breaking over Angkor Wat and the scene’s reflection in a small pond to the left of the front of it.

The sight is well worth the early wake up call.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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