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December 25th 2010 – 27th 2010

I had heard a lot about Angkor Wat. It was supposed to be grand – incredibly big like you wouldn’t have imagined it. Everyone kept speaking in superlatives… also the setting of the first Tomb Raider Movie. I couldn’t wait!

After only 2 1/2 hours of sleep at 4am the alarm clock woke us up on Christmas day. Sunrise at Angkor Wat! So we got in the much-more-comfortable-Tuk-Tuk than the ones in South Thailand and started a long time before dawn in the direction of Angkor Wat (or let’s say, the ticket office first). Jeeez that was a cold ride!

When we arrived in Angkor, we took our headlights and started off into the darkness but we didn’t get that far because we were stopped behind the first entrance by a monk assistant. I thought „Sh**, I really do not want to buy incense sticks!“ but by that time I already held a bunch in my hand. They didn’t charge me for them but dragged me along in the dark hallway to a Buddha shrine. More physically than verbally he shew me how to pay homage to Buddha: to bow (or better to let me be bowed) down and wish the best for all my beloved ones –> „For my mother (bow with added force by the monk assistant), for my father (bow), for my brother (bow), for my sister [?! I have non but never mind..] (bow), for career (bow) and good luck (bow and finally loosening of the grip in my neck and on my belly). I was still a bit dizzy because of the sudden and forceful head-downs I had not much influence on. I saw the monk assistent in front of the shrine, unfolding some kind of cloth and repeating „Now money please, it’s for the monks, it’s for the monks!“ Well, considering the honour of paying homage to Buddha and the highly spiritual ceremony of approxemately 20 seconds, I guess we have to donate something. A quick exchange of glances with Kathi and we aggree: There is no way out of this. Alright then, how much Riel do we have left? [Annotation: Riel is the cambodian currency and with an exchange rate of 4000 Riel = 1 US Dollar, Riel is mainly used for amounts in cents. For obvious reasons US-Dollar are a lot more in favour here.] Of course the monk assistant noticed that and said: „No Riel, Dollar! but 10 is enough for 2, 10 Dollar is enough for 2″. Just to give you an idea for this amount of money: a teacher here in Cambodia earns about 60 US-Dollar/Month, a police officer around 25 (at least so I’ve heard).

The sunrise itself was not that impressive as we couldn’t take pictures of the west side (which is the nicest) because of construction works. But the more daylight there was, the more we could see of the temple – wow Angkor Wat really is grand indeed and absolutely wonderful!

After that we drove to a few other temples: Angkor Thom, Bayon and Tah Prohm. Here you really could get the Tomb Raider feeling but we also realised that unfortunately all countries around Cambodia seemed to use the bank holidays to visit the temples. At sunset on the mountain temples Phnom Bakheng we realised how crowded this place really was and so we canceled the mission and returned to the hotel.

3 days and 3 sunrises in the temples of Angkor which were really really nice but therefore also very crowded. We liked best cruising around in the Tuk-Tuk with our great driver Mr. Wet: 3 days cruising around here and there in the back-country, watching the high-life in small villages and on the fields – we had the chance to see a bit of the people and their way of life around Siem Reap.

Monkeys hanging out at the South Gate of the Temple Angkor Thom

Monkeys and their offspring hanging out at the South Gate of the Temple Angkor Thom

Monkeys and their offspring hanging out at the South Gate of the Temple Angkor Thom

Nonverbal communication or stupid looks contest – South Gate of the Temple Angkor Thom

hanging out with monkeys at the South Gate of the Temple Angkor Thom

Temple of Faces – Bayon Temple

Temple of Faces – Bayon Temple

Nature strikes back – Tah Prohm Temple

Nature strikes back – Tah Prohm Temple

Young girl playing on a natural swing – Temple Tah Prohm

Kathi enjoys the last sunrays of the day and is reading a book at the Temple of Faces

Kathi enjoys the last sunrays of the day and is reading a book at the Temple of Faces

Charge the temple for sunset – Phnom Bakheng Temple (the mountain temple)

temple occupier – Phnom Bakheng Temple (the mountain temple)

School kids on their way in the first light of the day – Srah Srang

School kids on their way in the first light of the day – Srah Srang

Our guide and his daughter – waterfall at Phnum Kulen

Guides taking a break – waterfall at Phnum Kulen

sunrise – Angkor Wat


Enough of romantic sunrises, here you can face reality! A panoramic shot from the opposite side. (Click on the text to get to the image)

4 Kommentare auf “even the gods take charges”

  1. Conny sagt:

    Meine Güte…ihr habt keine Ahnung was ich geben würde um einen Tag dabei zu sein!! *________________________* Wunderschön ^^

  2. Katja sagt:

    Von wegen, Andy geht mal eben schnell zur Mutter…er ist ganz deutlich auf dem 13. Bild von oben zu sehen, als er gerade die Treppe erklimmt!!!;-))