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Angkor Wat Tours
|The great temples of Angkor are situated in central Cambodia and were built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD; represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. |
From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis.
Angkor Wat was built during the early years of the 12th century by Suryavaram II and honours the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple of Angkor Wat consists of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mount Meru, its five inter-nested rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean.
There are many fantastic temples at Angkor and one of the most famous is Ta Prohm (the one with all the trees in Tomb Raider). Ta Prohm has been left as it was found, preserved as an example of what a tropical forest will do to an architectural monument when the protective hands of humans are withdrawn. Ta Prohm's walls, roofs, chambers and courtyards have been sufficiently repaired to stop further deterioration, and the inner sanctuary has been cleared of bushes and thick undergrowth, but the temple has been left in the stranglehold of trees. Having planted themselves centuries ago, the tree's serpentine roots pry apart the ancient stones and their immense trunks straddle the once bustling Buddhist temple.
The Bayon temple is another popular temple famous for its many Apsara heads and faces that pop out from all angles inside and outside the building like pretty stone angels. The Bayon temple’s famous faces follow you wherever you stand in this majestic structure and you will be ‘watched’ wherever you go.
During half-millennia of Khmer occupation, the city of Angkor became a pilgrimage destination of importance throughout Southeastern Asia. Sacked by the Thais in 1431 and abandoned in 1432, Angkor was forgotten for a few centuries. Wandering Buddhist monks, passing through the dense jungles, occasionally came upon the awesome ruins. Recognizing the sacred nature of the temples but ignorant of their origins, they invented fables about the mysterious sanctuaries, saying they had been built by the gods in a far ancient time. Centuries passed, these fables became legends, and pilgrims from the distant reaches of Asia sought out the mystic city of the gods. A few adventurous European travelers knew of the ruins and stories circulated in antiquarian circles of a strange city lost in the jungles.
Most people believed the stories to be nothing more than legend however, until the French explorer Henri Mouhot brought Angkor to the world's attention in 1860. The French people were enchanted with the ancient city and beginning in 1908 funded and superbly managed an extensive restoration project. The restoration has continued to the present day, excepting periods in the 70's and 80's when military fighting prevented archaeologists from living near the ruins.
Today the temples of Angkor are a popular tourist attraction and a satellite town called Siem Reap has flourished nearby. JUST DIVE IT has teamed up with a great tour company in Siem Reap and we can now offer many different tours operating to the temples of Angkor from Siem Reap depending whether you fly from Bangkok into Siem Reap or you take the overland route by bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap.