Weeks 20 & 21: 12/12 – 12/21

It is hard to believe it was our last week in Cambodia. We will be headed to the ruins of the Angkor empire around Siem Reap in northern Cambodia.
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On our last walk home, we walk past the first restaurant we ate at.
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Our room in Cambodia stripped down.
On Saturday morning, we got into our last tuk tuk ride in Phnom Penh to hop on a bus to Siem Reap.
The Angkor empire was one of the preeminent empires around 800 – 1200 AD. They controlled much of modern Cambodia and Thailand as well as parts of Laos and Vietnam.
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During our first day, we rented a tuktuk to take us around the complex. We had some reservations about hiring the tuktuk because we would have less control over where we would go, but it worked out reasonably well.
Below is a map of the Angkor complex showing in red numbers where we visited.
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The first temple we visited was Pre Roup.
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Most of the ruins are from temples that the Angkor empire built.
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I don’t remember the name of the second temple we visited. It had elephant statues, though.
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Tasha was creeping on me with the camera.
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I caught on. 

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It’s amazing how well preserved some of the carvings are after 1000+ years.
The next temple was Neak Pean, which is a temple in the middle of a lake. We had to walk along a long bridge to get there.
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Our last stop on our first day was Preah Khan, which was the temporary residence of the Angkorian emperor while Angkor Thom, the main palace, was being built.
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Here are some videos from inside Preah Khan.
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We ended the day with a brief stop at Angkor Wat to catch the sunset. Angkor Wat was the main temple of the city. It has been in active use as a temple since it was constructed.
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The crows getting a picture of the temple at sunset. 
The next day we decided to rent a motorbike to explore the temple complex. The complex is about 3 miles out of Siem Reap and is quite large, so having a mode of transportation makes the days easier. Even though tourists aren’t legally allowed to rent motorbikes in Siem Reap (it is legal in the rest of Cambodia), we thought we would try our luck. And in the end, we didn’t have any trouble.
We decided to check out the inside of Angkor Wat just after sunrise as this is when all the people who came for sunrise would be leaving.
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Around the outside of Angkor Wat is a series of carvings depicting Hindu stories. The empire was Hindu in the first half of its existence before changing to be Buddhist.
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I like the elephant.

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so many arms.

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After Angkor Wat, we headed to Ta Prohm, which is one of the temples on the main tourist circuit. We picked a bad time to visit it. So many tourists.
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After fighting our way out of the temple, we decided to just drive around for a bit.
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So pretty.
We decided to end the day early.
The next day we headed to Banteay Kdei.
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A few videos of  Banteay Kdei
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Tree love.

We decided to try Ta Phrom again as the sun was setting.

 

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It was a lot less crowded this time.
We ended the day with watching the remnants of sunset at a big lake called Srah Srang.
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The next day we took a bus to the Thai border and got onto a train to head into Bangkok
Tasha took a few videos from the train.
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After a long day of travel, we had dinner outside of the train station. The next day we hop on a plane to Kuala Lumpur and eventually to Colombo, Sri Lanka to see Nithya for the Christmas holiday.
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