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Virtual Field Trip to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, Cambodia

VIEWS: 485 PAGES: 21

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									World Geography of Travel and Tourism
Virtual Field Trip
Photos and text by: Alan A. Lew
Creative Commons 3.0 Copyright by Alan A. Lew: Some Rights Reserved

Photos Taken: 2008


Angkor Wat


Ankor Thom and Bayon Temple
Tourism at Angkor Wat National Park Siem Reap Town Tourism Economy Anti-Human Trafficking Campaigns





Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat (above) is the name of the main temple in the Cambodia’s Angkor National Park, which includes many other temple complexes. It was built in the early 12th c. as the state temple and capital of the Khmer Kingdom. It was originally a Hindu temple, but is now a center for Buddhism (right). Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia and even appears on the country’s flag.

“Angkor Wat” translates as “City Temple” in Khmer

At its peak, this Khmer city had close to 1 million residents. However, the massive building projects and military adventures under King Suryavarman II (ruled 1113-1150) eventually weakened the Khmer Kingdom, which was sacked by the Cham (Vietnamese) in 1177.

In the 12th c. the Khmer kingdom rose again, with Angkor Thom (on map) as its capital, and Bayon and the main temple.

Below is the southern wall entrance to the Angkor Thom complex, with numerous tourist activities.

The map (above) shows the many temples in the Angkor Wat National Park, and it relationship to Siem Reap, the main town serving the park today.

At the entrance to Angkor Wat National Park. Because there is no fence or boundary gate around the park, tickets include a photo of the ticket holder.

Prices in the Siem Reap area are all in US dollars. The prices posted for entrance (left) are $20 for 1 day, $40 for 3 days, and $60 for 7 continuous days. The hot air balloon ride (top right) is extra.

Bayon Temple is another famous temple in the Angkor Wat park. International efforts are underway to preserve it.

In the 13th c. the Khmer Kingdom changed from Hinduism to Mahayana Buddhism, and Bayon Temple was the state temple at the center of the capital city of Angkor Thom. (Later, Hindu and Theravadin Buddhist Kings modified the temple according to their beliefs.)

Bayon Temple

Bayon is considered the prime example of the more ornamental “Baroque” period of Khmer architecture, in comparison to the more classical Angkor Wat.

The east entrances to Bayon Temple (left); Buddhist monks; and Landmine victims

(sign above) “Khmer traditional band has been given by handicap with landmine. We stop begging, we want to live with dignity, Our children want to go to school. We try to make this band for learning and supporting our families. All dear charitable tourists, would you mind contributing money to charity, please! Thank you very much, god bless you all time.”

The Ta Prom Temple is colloquially known as the “Indian Jones” temple. It is one of the few that is built is a lowlying area, making it subject to more humid vegetation.

A view from the top of the red sandstone Pre Rup Temple (below) shows how flat the landscape is in this part of Cambodia.

Another gate (above) to the Angkor Thom walled city – protected by Hindu deities

Arts, crafts and souvenir vendors in Angkor Wat National Park

Vendors are restricted to specific locations. Prices are low, as there are almost as many vendors as tourists!

Child vendors (left) and an example of the variety of Angkor-related tourist attractions (below)

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 136 out of 179 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI, 2008). Tourism development around Angkor Wat, however, has transformed the built environment, and the society.

The road from the Siem Reap Airport to the city center is lined with hotels that mostly cater to tour groups from Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan

Siem Reap means “Defeat of Siam (Thailand)” in Khmer and refers to the long military history between the two countries. International tourism to the Siem Reap started in 1907 when Cambodia was a colony within French Indochina.

Anti-child sexual exploitation efforts were widespread in Siem Reap in 2008, indicating the seriousness of this problem in Cambodia.

“Preah Vihar” (on the road sign) is the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand, and the scene of recent military unrest between the two countries.

The Central Market in Siem Reap is mostly geared to tourists, with many shops selling similar souvenirs and other goods.

A modern gas/petrol station; a more traditional fruit market; and a restaurant receipt in English with prices in US dollars – both a reflection of the importance of tourism in the local economy.

Tourism and anti-human trafficking signs (above), and traditional spirit houses for sale in front of a Cambodian People’s Party building (left).

Siem Reap’s tourism economy has brought modernization, better health care, and an increasing concern for social development issues.

The tourist shop (right) is especially focused on providing employment for the needy. Prices are a bit higher than in other shops, and there is less bargaining in this one.

Child vendors at Angkor Wat

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