Most famous for its ruins, Angkor amazes visitors with its spectacular snippets of daily life from hundreds of years ago. Tourists find Angkor just north of Siem Reap, and mostly spend their day lost in another world, imagining and experiencing what life was like centuries ago. Astounded by its vicinity to modern life, tourists can reside in Siem Reap and travel to Angkor to view an ancient city built from stone.
The Angkor complex is comprised of over one hundred monuments, statues, temples and winding streets. Explore the temples and their halls, city streets once bustling with markets, residential areas and individual houses. Starting in the 9th century, Angkor exponentially exploded with power, land, residents and structures. Architects and modern engineers combined are baffled when viewing these countless ancient masterpieces. It is easy to see why engineers have a hard time imagining just how workers got stones so high without the machines we have today. Interestingly and surprisingly, the people of Angkor even built stone houses on stilts to protect again occasional flooding of the Tonle Sap. This fresh water lake provides the sustenance for residents with its endless supply of fish. Unfortunately, dams north of the lake compromise its fertile waters.
The most famous temple to see in Angkor is called Angkor Wat. Taking about 30 years to complete, this temple was originally started in the middle of the 12th century. Structurally, Angkor Wat has been kept intact, thanks to its conversion to a Buddhist temple in the 1400s.
The royal palace and surrounding area is called Angkor Thom. Enclosed by a very large moat and a thick, tall wall, visitors can see the grandeur this palace once evoked. Flanked by two artificial lakes, called barays, one can only imagine the manpower needed to dig and fill these lakes without modern day appliances. These lakes were most likely used for raising fish as well as acted as a mirror to reflect the magnificence of the palace.
Angkor cannot be compared to Pompeii, which was a town preserved by the explosion of a volcano in Italy. No, Angkor Wat surpasses this town in size, magnificence and preservation. Truly the heart of a booming, powerful empire, Angkor Wat remains as a collection of the best-preserved ruins in Asia. While visiting, explore the surrounding countryside, beaches and mountains. Angkor provides a wonderfully exciting city, rich with historical significance, for you vacation in Asia.