Welcome to a fresh @lordnigel's travels.
It's been awhile but as you know getting the time to produce you a quality travel post is hard work and can be a real challenge with other commitments - but only the best for Steemit.
Today I wanted to share some of my experiences visiting the temples in Cambodia.
...many people may know Cambodia as the home to the ultra cute and friendly Sun and moon bears! what fantastic creatures - they are like large friendly dogs, got to love them :)
But I digress...today's post is about exploring the many ancient temples in the Siem Reap vicinity - This area is well known for its many ancient temples.
Getting around is pretty easy grab yourself a 'tuk tuk' and these guys race you around to where ever you want to go. We were lucky and our hotel room came with our own personal driver for the period of our visit. This was great and we got to know our driver regardless of the language barrier. If your hotel doesn't come with one, no issues these guys are everywhere and you can just hail them like a cab :)
There are 100's of temples all within range of your 'tuk, tuk' so planning which to visit each day in advance is really important.
Exploring the temples is really interesting and fun, many are undergoing repairs.
The first thing to do is get yourself blessed and welcomed so any of those wandering spirit types know for sure your no threat!
So many temples, working out which to visit is a real challenge. I'm not going to spoil the fun by naming the best one's, you have to go visit them all to work it out for yourselves.
Many have interesting statues like this one. You can see the medusa type statues in the background as well.
I am far from an expert on religions and temples but some of these Hindu and Buddhist temples have tales depicted on the walls.
Don't quote me on this but many tell the tale of Good vs. Evil; Often you will see dual rows of statues or like in the picture below images facing each other, often telling us the tale of Good vs. Evil on earth. A simplistic way to think of it is there is a battle going on Good vs. Evil, you will often see two armies facing each other; if you look it's like a massive game of tug of war to which no party wins, i.e. the Good guys are pulling a rope against the Bad guys.
If you count there will always be 1 more Good guy then the bad. I interpret this two ways
1) Evil is more powerful, but there are more Goodies - and thus balance is maintained or
2) Good is slightly more powerful and will win in the end.
Unfortunately the people whom made these pictures in the rock are long gone so we can't ask them, but there are many scholars, local guides or religious people who have their own view and its interesting to hear and contemplate.
To me there are 3 main types of temples to visit, purely from a 'tourists and non religious point of view'
The first are those which are a bit further from the tourist center, they may take hours to travel to and in many ways these more remote temples are more fun.
They are smaller and easier to explore, but you find you might have the whole temple to yourself which is great for getting some special photos.
There are a variety of statues and ancient writing and images on rock everywhere you look.
The next kind are large palace like popular temples, these are massive and might take hours to explore. Getting photos at these are most difficult as there is a tourist in nearly everyshot.
Here's a photo of me photo bombing a group of fun Asian tourists... Not one of them could speak English, but smiles told me they were thrilled by the unexpected photo hehe.
The last kind are the famous ones, they are large, under repair and being taken back by nature.
These large trees didn't exist when the temples were originally built.
After many years and battles which have damaged the walls it is thought once abandoned, birds simply dropped seeds of trees and without locals to care the trees started growing from the top of the damaged walls - how cool!.
Nature simply begins to take back what humans have changed once humans have gone.
There are so many temples to visit! but no visit to Cambodia is complete without a visit to Angkor Wat.
Everyone wants that perfect picture, but lucking the conditions is crazy hard, it needs to be a calm day, it needs to be very early morning and you need to get the picture without the 1000's of other tourists also seeking to take that special shot.
Unfortunately my best shot was far from the postcard vision, but it was still fantastic to watch the sun rise.
That's it for Cambodia temple exploration; I hope you enjoyed it! I highly recommend a visit to Cambodia for those who can the food, culture and temples make it one of my favorite spots to visit.
Take care and happy travels