Angkor Wat

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Sawasdee Krab,

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a Hindu, then subsequently Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early Dravidian Architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.ph16
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” in Khmer; Angkor, meaning “city” or “capital city”, is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara. Wat is the Khmer word for “temple grounds”, derived from the Pali word “vatta”. Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founder. Continue reading

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Angkor

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Angkor

Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit, meaning “city”. The Angkorian period began in AD 802, when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself a “universal monarch” and “god-king”, and lasted until the late 14th century, first falling under Ayutthayan suzerainty in 1351. A Khmer rebellion resulted in the 1431 sacking of Angkor by Ayutthaya, causing its population to migrate south to Longvek.
The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonlé Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap city, in Siem Reap Province. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent ph16Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. Visitor numbers approach two million annually, and the entire expanse, including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is collectively protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This popularity of the site among tourists presents multiple challenges to the preservation of the ruins. Continue reading

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Siem Reap part 3

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Sawasdee Krab,

Siem Reap International Airport

Siem Reap International Airport (IATA: REP, ICAO: VDSR) is the airport serving Siem Reap, Cambodia, a popular tourist destination owing to nearby Angkor Wat. It is the busiest airport in Cambodia in terms of passenger traffic.
The airport was developed by Archetype Group. Its new terminal was inaugurated on August 28, 2006.

Siem Reap Airport

Siem Reap Airport

The Cambodian government has plans to replace the airport with a new one, 60 km from Siem Reap.
Facilities
The airport resides at an elevation of 60 feet (18 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 05/23 with a concrete surface measuring 2,550 by 45 metres (8,366 ft × 148 ft).[3][4]
As of 2008, extensions to the airport’s apron and parking areas are taking place. Air Traffic Control is provided by CATS (Cambodia Air Traffic Services), with full approach and aerodrome VHF facilities being housed in the control Continue reading

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Siem Reap part 2

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Siem Reap Province

Country
Cambodia

Capital Siem Reapph8

Area
• Total 10,299 km2 (3,976 sq mi)
Population (2008)
• Total 896,309
• Density 87/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zone
UTC+07
Dialing code +855
ISO 3166 code
KH-17
Districts
12
Communes 100
Villages 907

Siem Reap is a province of Cambodia. It borders the provinces of Oddar Meanchey to the north, Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom to the east, Battambang to the south, and Banteay Meanchey to the west. Its capital and largest city is Siem Reap.
ph2Siem Reap is the 10th largest province in Cambodia. With a population of 896,309, it ranks as the 6th largest in the nation. A large portion of Siem Reap’s southern border is demarcated by the Tonle Sap and as such, it is one of the nine provinces that making up the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. In modern times the province is best known as the site of Angkor and the Angkor Wat temple ruins. Continue reading

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Siem Reap part 1

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Sawasdee Krab,

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and is the gateway to Angkor region.
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and ph2around the Old Market. In the city, there are traditional Apsara dance performances, craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Siem Reap today, being a popular tourist destination, has a large number of hotels and restaurants.

History

The name Siem Reap means the ‘Flat Defeat of Siam’ — today’s Thailand — and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples.
This name, according to an oral tradition, was given by King Ang Chan (1516-1566) as “Siem Reap”, meaning “the flat defeat of Siam” (Cambodians call Siam or Thailand “Siem”). It was because of Ang Chan’s victory against a Siamese invasion, slaying Prince Ong, and capturing no less than 10,000 Siamese troops.
The story was told that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert further independence from Siam. The Siamese also had been through internal trouble themselves during these years. King Chairacha was poisoned by his concubine, Lady Sri Sudachan, who committed adultery with a commoner, Worawongsathirat, while he was on a campaign against Chiang Mai. Sudachan then raised Worawongsathirat to the throne. The nobles hated Worawongsathirat and lured the usurper and his family to a place outside the city where he was assassinated, together with Sudachan and a new-born daughter, during the royal family’s procession by barge to see a white elephant (allegedly just captured). The ph10nobles then invited Prince Thianracha, who was a monk in a monastery, to give up that role and ascend the throne under the title of King Maha Chakkraphat (1548-1569). Being informed of the internal troubles in Ayutthaya, King Ang Chan attacked Prachin Buri in 1549 and successfully took away its Siamese inhabitants. There he obtained information that of Maha Chakkraphat’s coronation, signaling that the question of succession in Ayutthaya had thus been settled. Ang Chan therefore retreated and did not advance any further. King Maha Chakkraphat was very angry at this, but his hands were tied, because the Burmese had just come by way of the Three Pagodas Pass; they took Kanchanaburi and Suphanburi, and appeared in front of Ayutthaya.
Because King Ang Chan refused to give King Maha Chakkraphat a white elephant when he asked for it, it is indicated that Ang Chan declined any symbol of vassalage to Siam. Maha ph1Chakkraphat’s attention was now turned towards Cambodia. He put Prince Ong, the governor of Sawankhalok and Srey’s son, in charge of an expedition against Cambodia. Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and his army routed the Siamese and captured no less than 10,000 Siamese troops. It was because of this victory over Siamese the that King Ang Chan renamed the battleground as “Siem Reap” meaning “the flat defeat of Siam”. However, most sources mention the final defeat of Angkor Kingdom by the Thais from Ayutthaya in the fifteenth century. The city has been abandoned since then.
From the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries, the feuds among the Khmer lords caused the interventions and domination from their more powerful neighbors: Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along with Battambang(Phra Tabong) and Sisophon, major cities in the north western part of Cambodia, were under Siamese administration known as Inner Cambodia from 1795 till 1907 when the province was ceded to French Indochina.

Re-discovery of Angkor

In 1901 the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO; French School of the Far East) began a long association with Angkor by funding an expedition into Siam to the Bayon. The EFEO took responsibility for clearing and restoring the whole site, when the Angkor ruins were rediscovered. In the same year, the first tourists arrived in Angkor – an unprecedented 200 of them in three months. Angkor had been ‘rescued’ from the jungle and was assuming its place in the modern world.ph8
Siem Reap was little more than a village when the first French explorers re-discovered Angkor in the 19th century. With the acquisition of Angkor by the French in 1907 due to the Franco-Siamese agreement, Siem Reap began to grow, absorbing the first wave of tourists. The Grand Hotel d’Angkor opened its doors in 1929 and the temples of Angkor remained one of Asia’s leading draws until the late 1960s, luring visitors like Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Kennedy. In 1975, the population of Siem Reap, along with that of the rest of the cities and towns in Cambodia, was evacuated by the communist Khmer Rouge and driven into the countryside.

As with the rest of the country, Siem Reap’s history (and the memories of its people) is coloured by the spectre of the brutal Khmer Rouge Regime, though since Pol Pot’s death in 1998, relative stability and a rejuvenated tourist industry have been important steps in an important, if tentative, journey forward to recovery. With the advent of war, Siem Reap entered a long slumber from which it only began to awake in the mid-1990s.
Today, Siem Reap serves as a small gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples. Thanks to those attractions, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a major tourist hub. Siem Reap nowadays is a vibrant town with modern hotels and architectural styles. Despite international influences, Siem Reap and its people have conserved much of the town’s image, culture and traditions.

The Wat and the river

The Town is a cluster of small villages along the Siem Reap River. These villages were originally developed around Buddhist pagodas (Wat) which are almost evenly spaced along the river from Wat Preah En Kau Sei in the north to Wat Phnom Krom in the south, where the Siem Reap River meets the great Tonle Sap Lake.
The main town is concentrated around Sivutha Street and the Psar Chas area (Old Market ph4 baraysarea) where there are old colonial buildings, shopping and commercial districts. The Wat Bo area is now full of guesthouses and restaurants while the Psar Leu area is often crowded with jewellery and handicraft shops, selling rubies to woodcarving. Other fast developing areas are the airport road and main road to Angkor where a number of large hotels and resorts can be found.
Economy

Businesses centered around tourism have flourished due to the tourism boom. There is a wide range of hotels, ranging from several 5-star hotels and chic resorts to hundreds of budget guesthouses. Plenty of shopping opportunities exist around the Psar Chas area while the nightlife is often vibrant with a number of western-styled pubs and bars.
Most tourists come to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, (about 6 km north of the city), and other Angkor ruins.
The Gecko Environment Center is a floating environment center located in the province of Siem Reap on the Tonle Sap Lake. The goal of the center is to promote environmental awareness among the local community as well as visitors to the great lake The province of Siem Reap is part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
Attractions

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat’s rising

cultural village

cultural village

series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

Cambodian Cultural Village

Opened on September 24, 2003, the Cambodian Cultural Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different culture heritages, local customs and characteristics of 19 multi races.

Angkor National Museum

Opened on 12 November 2007, the Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better

national museum

national museum

understanding of the area’s archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.

Angkor Thom

This magnificent inner royal city was built by the end of the 12th century and is renowned for its temple grounds and towering southern gate.

Central Market
Another market where one can find food, clothing, and jewellery.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Siem Reap features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling below 30 C in any month. Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy

market

market

wet season which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the remaining four months. The city averages approximately 1500 mm of rainfall per year.
Transportation

The town is 7 km from the Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (IATA code REP). Siem Reap is accessible by direct flights from many Asian cities, and by land from Phnom Penh and the Thai border. It’s also accessible by boat (via the Tonle Sap lake) and bus from Phnom Penh and Battambang. A new airport is planned 60 km from Siem Reap.
It is possible to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap via Poipet. The road from Poipet to Siem Reap is newly paved and sealed as of 2013. If travelers take a taxi from Bangkok to Poipet and from Poipet to Siem Reap, it is possible to complete the whole journey in 6-10 hours, depending on border-crossing times. This journey is also possible by bus and minibus.

That’s all for now, until next time,Tuk-Tuk

Choak Dee Krab

Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Krab

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