13th MARCH 2016 ~ Even though Phom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, people travel to Siem Reap more for one reason: the Angkor Wat. It is so significant that it appears on the flag of the country and I am quite sure (at least for me) that will be one difficult map to be drawn by hand.
To get into the temple complex, one had to pay for the ticket. We took the one day pass which cost us USD20 (about RM80). There are also 3-day and 7-day passes if you think you need more time to explore the area thoroughly. The pass is not only for Angkor Wat, but also for other temples which are located and scattered not near to each other. You photo is printed on the pass so there is no way you could pass it to other people.
I also decided to get a guide for the Angkor Wat trip who charged USD20 but it was worth it. He was a university graduate who spoke good English and I could not remember his Cambodian name.
Here are some facts about Angkor Wat that might interest you, in note form:
(1) Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world!
(2) Angkor Wat was first built in the early 12th century for the Hindu gods but towards the end of the same century, it was converted into a Buddhist shrine.
(3) Cambodians use the same word for "dragon" like the Malay language. There were many dragons sculptures at the temples but they had no tails to symbolize eternity.
[I found other words which have the same meaning with our Malay language are "Kampung" (village) and "P(a)sar" (market)]
(4) There seemed to be a few similarities between Angkor Wat and Borobudur in Indonesia. Hence, Jogjakarta is made the sister city of Siem Reap. For me, there was a lot of walking and climbing to be done, and the stairs were much steeper and higher here. . Read about my visit to Borobudur HERE.
(5) Angkor Wat means the city of temples. And (according to the guide) "wat" in Cambodian does not refer to just a temple but it was rather a monastery.
(6) Elephants were used to carry the stone blocks in the process of constructing the temple. To reach a higher point, they had to build a ramp using the sand extracted from the moat so the elephants could drag the blocks further up. Poor elephants! The temple consumed SIX- TEN MILLION sandstone blocks to complete.
(7) There are two library buildings just outside the main temple building so I came to a conclusion that knowledge was highly valued during that time. However, all the document and books were all destroyed, probably in wars.
More pictures, facts and trivia of Angkor Wat in the next post.