Siem Reap

I left Melbourne yesterday and had a very pleasant flight to Singapore where I stayed overnight. The only incident was that I was standing by the baggage carousel with the Qantas sign on the screen waiting to collect my bag but it didn’t come out. Thinking that it hadn’t made the plane, I asked the Qantas baggage employee if all the bags had been placed on the belt when he pointed out that the ones from my fligt were on the next carousel. Apparently two Qantas flights arrive at around the same time – one from Melbourne and the other from Sydney. I was looking for my bag in the wrong place and it had been sitting there on the floor for half an hour waiting for me. At last this saved me the problem of how to lift it after my recent hernia operation!

I stayed at the Swissotel Merchant Court which is right by the river and backs on to the very busy restaurant area of Clarke Quay. With a little time to spare, I caught a cab around to a shopping mall to see if a wifi card for my camera was available. The one that I wanted had just been released in Melbourne but it was unknown in Singapore. It was only a short distance back to the hotel but when I reached the river, I turned left rather than right and the short distance became a longer one as I had to retake my steps. Thank goodness for Google Maps on my iPhone.

I was up at 6.30 am this morning to head back to the airport for my Silk Air flight to Siem Reap. It left on time and we arrived into Siem Rreap in Cambodia at 11.45 am after flying up the west coast of Malaysia.. A party of about fifteen of us were picked up by our local guide, Roath (pronounced Rodd), and we were dropped at our hotel (Raffles Angkor Watt) to check in and have lunch.This is a very grand hotel in true colonial style. 

At 2.30 pm, we were off to see the local highlight – the UNESCO classified temple at Angkor Wat. This was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist, temple and is the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century  when this area was the capital of the Khmer Empire. It served as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. It is the best-preserved temple of many in Siem Reap’s temple site,and  it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation.

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. There were certainly many there today – a hot and humid 34 degree day. The outer wall, 1024 by 802 m and 4.5 m high, is surrounded by a 30 m apron of open ground and a moat 190 m wide. Access to the temple is by an earth bank to the east and a sandstone causeway to the west; the latter being the main entrance. 

The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of its architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

Wv were back at the hotel by 6.00 pm after watching the sunset across the moat. By this time, oat of our party were pretty tired. Back at the hotel that best thing not do was to stand under the shower and wash my sweat laden clothes ready for another day..






Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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