Hello, Namaste and welcome to another episode of Far East Adventure Travel The Podcast. I’m your host John Saboe seen here shortly after bumping into a fruit stand while taking a morning walk in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Clumsy and lucky it was only a cut and scratch. When I’m not crashing into things here I’ve been learning everything I can about the town and surrounding area as well as taking in many sites of the Angkor Ruins close by.
In this latest episode on the road in Cambodia my first look at the Angkor ruins.
We left in the late afternoon to pick up my pass for The Angkor temples and get a free sneak peak of the park. When you purchase your ticket after 5pm for the next day you are allowed into the park until closing for free! The sites close at 5:30 so it doesn’t give you a lot of time but you could easily catch a sunset at say Angkor Wat or one of the other temples.
As we passed the gate entrance we closed in on the great Angkor Wat Temple, the largest religious monument in the world.
We then drove by the concession area as elephants and their passengers were returning from rides. The Angkor Thom southgate where The Bayon is located. The gate is in pretty good shape considering it was built in the 12 century. It’s intention is powerful and you really get the feeling this was the center of a great ruler and empire as you pass through it.
It’s just after 5pm but things are still busy around the sites. Even the monkeys were pretty active. A sign there’s still lots of humans around.
The Bayon was the first complex I wanted to see and I learned before my arrival that it had great light at the end of the day.
The Bayon the last temple to be built in Angkor and the only one that was dedicated to Mayahana Buddism and a shrine to the Buddha It’s filled with stone sculptures of the discernible face of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion-the figure seen throughout the complex. Actually some scholars believe the face really resembles king Jayavarman VII-the ruler that built The Bayon and who was responsible for other public works including the walls, many naga bridges, Ta Prohm(the tomb raider temple), Preah Khan, and Banteay Kdai.
The Bayon had endured many alterations due to the course of history and the Khmer empires’ subsequent change to Hinduism halfway through the 13 century. Overseen by then King Jayavarman VIII many other changes were to come. Another switch back to Buddhism by the state, this time to the Theravada branch practised in other South East Asia countries, including Laos, Thailand and Burma.
The upper terrace, the libraries and the terrace to the east of the temple were all basically renos. Add-ons that were never apart of the original plan. The place does feel a little tight and closed in compared to Angkor Wat. Perhaps the original plan would have left more room for the crowds full of selfie-seekers and large tour groups.
Meanwhile back in Siem Reap Mr. Phirun my driver wanted to stop and show me the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital where his daughter was born and where many families come for medical care from all over Cambodia.
The hospital as Mr. Phirun explained to me is always in desperate need of specific blood types in the treatment of severe cases of Dengue fever, contracted from mosquitos carrying the dengue virus.
Families whose relatives visit the hospital use this local market right next to the facilities to purchase every day needs including food and clothing.
Your B or AB blood, and any other blood types are graciously accepted along with donations to support this great service to the people of Cambodia. Make it apart of your next visit to Siem Reap.
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That’s it for this weeks episode of Far East Adventure Travel The Podcast. I’m continuing my journey through Cambodia. Next time check out more adventures from Siem Reap.
Until then this is John Saboe thanks so much for joining me! Safe travels and Namaste!
Music:”Serket” by Nhoin (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nhoin/Rite_of_Passage/02_nhoin_-_serket)
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