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Angkor Wat and Lake Tonle Sap

Gloomy with restoration work

Angkor Wat is a huge temple complex built by King, Suryavarman 11 dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu. It's three-tiered pyramid-like structure and surrounded by moat. It is 1 km square and consist of 3 levels surmounted by a central tower. Many of the walls were carved with intricate Apsara dancers. Tourists who visit Siem Reap would not be complete if they don't come and watch the sunrise there. The sight is said to be magnificent if you're lucky to get the sunrise. We were not so lucky due to cloudy weather. Guide books advised tourists who come for the first time to see Angkor Wat in the afternoon where there will be full light. Then they might see the spectacular beauty of this ancient temple.
The first time I visited Angkor Wat was in 2006. Angkor Wat was not undergoing intensive restoration then and I got to see the actual old temple.
The main towers of Angkor Wat. The white patch is the roof of restoration work.

The main towers of Angkor Wat. The white patch is the roof of restoration work.

Maz and I on the bridge of Anglor Wat moat.

Maz and I on the bridge of Anglor Wat moat.

But my visit this time saw an active restoration work and has changed the face of Angkor Wat somewhat. As we entered the bridge of the mote, the 3 main towers of Angkor Wat looked like being supported by a white bridge. In actual fact, it was the roof of the restoration work process. We could not enter the main temple through the main entrance as it was closed, so we had to use the side entrance. There were quite a number of No Entry signs, unlike before we could explore almost all the corners of the temple as we wished.
The steep, narrow stone steps were covered by wooden gradual steps which are easier to climb.

The steep, narrow stone steps were covered by wooden gradual steps which are easier to climb.

My main disappointment was seeing the steep, narrow stone steps to the top level of the temple was closed and was replaced by wooden steps. I remembered in 2006, how my friends and i admired those brave tourists who climbed the steep almost upright steps on fours. We tried but after a few steps up, we gave up and slowly backed down. There was only one side railing to hold on to go down, but no railing to hang on on the way up. I told Mardi earlier that I didn't want to climb and gleefully wondered whether Maz would dare climb it. My fear flew out of the window when I saw the wooden steps, sturdy and not so steep with strong railing to hold on to. I bravely climbed and at the same time pointed to Maz the original narrow stone steps which are still visible. When visiting this upper level of the temple, ladies have to be modestly dressed with sleeved blouses and no hats. Many western tourists were turned away when they came in shorts and bared shoulder tops. A number of the passageways were closed to tourists due to restoration work. It rained when we were up there.
A lower level ngkor Wat with steep narrow steps

A lower level ngkor Wat with steep narrow steps

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

It was quite a long walk to see the temple area and I was thankful that I brought my chair cum walking stick with me. I was able to rest my flat feet when Mardi narrated the story of Hindu mythology carved on the wall.
Maz climbed up the library of Angkor Wat

Maz climbed up the library of Angkor Wat

With Mardi's suggestion, Maz climbed the short steep steps to the library. I opted to stay and wait. I am glad that Maz was able to come and visit Angkor Wat and the the surrounding attractions to satisfy her curiousity. We went back to the hotel exhausted.
Boat ride on the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Boat ride on the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Fishermen's village along the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Fishermen's village along the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Living in high stilt house in Kampong Phluk village.

Living in high stilt house in Kampong Phluk village.

The lake Tonle Sap restaurant where we had our picnic lunch

The lake Tonle Sap restaurant where we had our picnic lunch

Flat open rice fields, prone to floods, along the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Flat open rice fields, prone to floods, along the canal to Lake Tonle Sap

Passing through a patch of green lung along the canal to Kampong Phluk

Passing through a patch of green lung along the canal to Kampong Phluk

The school at Kampong Phluk

The school at Kampong Phluk

Angkpr Wat ground from the top of the temple

Angkpr Wat ground from the top of the temple

The lower  level of Angkor Wat the steep, narrow stone steps are still a nightmare to climb.

The lower level of Angkor Wat the steep, narrow stone steps are still a nightmare to climb.

Beautifully carved Apsara dancer at Angkor Wat wall.

Beautifully carved Apsara dancer at Angkor Wat wall.

Angkor Wat, walking on the mote bridge

Angkor Wat, walking on the mote bridge

Another interesting visit we made was to Lake Tonle Sap which is reputed to be the biggest lake in Southeast Asia. This time the guide took us through the canal passing Kampong Phluk where fishermen live in crowded high stilt houses. Though the village is so packed with people, they manage to keep the canal clean. I hardly see plastic bottles or plastic bags floating on the canal. They know it's important to keep the water clean because that's their livelihood. This is a lesson many Malaysians should learn. Illegal immigrants, factories and irresponsible people pollute the rivers to the extend that nothing could survive in it. Klang River is one good example.
Our lunch neatly packed in pandan leave container.

Our lunch neatly packed in pandan leave container.

A vegetarian picnic lunch was prepared for us and we had ours in a restaurant on the lake. The Tonle Sap tour I went to in 2006 was in different route. We didn't take a boat through the canal. I recalled we saw a lot of floating houses and children swimming begging when they saw tourists coming. This time we were not bothered by heart-pulling poverty and pathetic living condition.
I am happy I had the opportunity to see the other side of Tonle Sap. On the whole, this was a very enjoyable trip and thank you to my lovely daughter, Maz, for taking me with her. May Allah bless you my love.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 01:39

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