Monday, January 26, 2015

Preah Khan

I was excited about visiting Cambodia for quite awhile and I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit while on semester break from teaching in China. So far, Cambodia is one of my favorite countries! I love history, ancient cultures, religion and food. Visiting the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap was really exciting for me. Truth be told, I bought the one month pass which allows me to visit the temples on seven different days over the next month. I spent two days visiting the temples prior to my departure for Phnom Penh and I plan to revisit a few for a sunrise and sunset viewing. Plus, I'd like to check out one or two that I haven't seen yet. 

I hired a tuk tuk driver and a local English speaking guide. My hotel arranged for both which was very easy and convenient. The cost for the driver was $15 for the day to tour the small circuit temples and $17 for the day to tour the large circuit. The guide was $35 per day. It was worth the money for the guide. I learned a lot about the history of each temple, the differences between Hindu and Buddhist carvings and also everyday life in Cambodia. Plus my guide was aware of the main routes for bus tours and we bypassed the masses by stopping at some of the temples during strategic times. Of course there are tourists everywhere, but I noticed the difference when the crowds would thin out. As an added bonus, I had my own personal photographer who knew plenty of great photo spots. 

Although the temples were all built centuries apart, many of them have similar statues and carvings. The architecture follows a distinct pattern depending on whether it was originally built by Hindu or Buddhist cultures. Preah Khan is located on the large circuit and this was the last temple I visited on my second day of touring.       

Similar to the more popular Ta Prohm, Preah Khan is in the middle of the jungle with many tree roots spread out along the ruins. The site itself is quite large as well. 

Personally I loved visiting the temples on the big circuit more than the small circuit. They're less popular so they are less crowded, but they have some of the same beautiful carvings and architecture.

Do you have a favorite tourist attraction? 

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