As part of my very first trip to Thailand in 2000, I went on a side trip for a few days to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Siem Reap is the nearest town to the temples of the Angkor Wat complex, an amazing spread of massive stone temples built by Khmer kings between 800AD and 1300AD. I remember that trip vividly, as it was my first introduction to Southeast Asia and it was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before.
Ever since then, I’ve wanted to go back to Cambodia to experience the temples again. This year I finally went over a long weekend between Christmas and New Years. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best planning on my part, as that is the peak tourist season there. But while there were throngs of tourists to contend with, it really didn’t spoil the amazement and wonder of the temples.
This posting I’m going to mostly just have the pictures, rather than a lot of long commentary from me. Suffice it to say, though, I had a fantastic time seeing the temples and the Siem Reap area again. The town has exploded from tourism over the past 14 years since I was first there. But it’s still something that I highly recommend seeing. If you’re ever in Southeast Asia, it’s well worth a few days in Siem Reap to experience the temples of Angkor Wat.
After a couple of days of trekking up, down and through the stone temples, I decided to take a day out on a small boat on Tonle Sap lake. It is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. During the dry season, the lake drains into the Mekong River. However, during the wet season, the Mekong backs up into the lake and raises the level by up to 9 meters. Fisherman living on/in the lake have built homes on stilts so they’re above the water level during the rainy season. During the dry season (when I went there) the homes are perched on their stills high above the water.