Cambodia 2015 Day 10

Found in: Swan Missions Blog

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On Sunday we spent the day visiting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the temples of Ankor, the most famous being Ankor Wat. 

We had an entertaining and enthusiastic guide whose Cambodian name was unpronounceable - but sounded similar to 'Robin Hood' - so that's what he told us to call him. There are many temples in the area - and many man made lakes and moats that were built to protect the temples (although most of them are dry now.) 

We started with an elephant ride around Ankor Thom. There are 20 elephants working at the temple. There are also still a few wild elephants in Cambodia but far fewer than there were before the war. 

Our guide then took us all over and through Ankor Thom, and explained what the four faces on each side of every pillar meant; compassion, sympathy, charity and no jealousy. Ironically, each new king would build a new temple to demonstrate his greatness. 

The afternoon was spent at Ankor Wat. There was so much to see because nearly every wall had a fresco and intricate decoration. We climbed to the top (on very safe wooden stairs constructed over the top of the narrow stone steps) and got a magnificent view of the surrounding forest. 

Many of the temples were undergoing restoration and renovation, paid for by foreign interests. Sadly most of the money earned by tourism in the area goes to Thailand. However it was pleasing to learn that a visit to the temples is free for all Cambodians. 

It was incredible to see these huge structures that were built so long ago, still standing after all this time, having survived wars and the forces of nature. 

We were all worn out by the end of the day, but our guide was still very enthusiastic and energetic! We gave him a big round of applause and took up a small collection to show our gratitude.

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