After visiting Xieng Khuan, I had lunch nearby and not to let the tuk-tuk blunder ruin my travel, I went on my afternoon exploring the city of Vientiane, which would be on spotlight in Asia later this year as Laos hosts the upcoming SEA Games on November 2009. For participants and audiences, there a number of attractions to keep them busy around Vientiane in between games. The city is dotted with numerous temples, it may not be as many as Luang Prabang, but there are special ones worth a visit. If I were only to visit a couple, I would definitely go with Wat Si Saket and Haw Pha Kaeo.
Pakse, which is the capital of Champasak Province, was my home base during my stay is Southern Laos. In between my travels to Bolaven Plateau and Wat Phu Champasak, I was able to do some exploring of the city. Pakse is fairly small and only has a few sites of interest nearby. One could even cover the whole place in half a day. But despite this, I was grateful that this is my first stop in Laos since I was able to catch my pace here and learn the going arounds in this country.
Children playing at the Ta Som Temple
For my long overdue wrap-up post on Cambodia, I’d like to summarize some of the not-so-popular or off-the-beaten-path temples around the Angkor Archaeological Park which I think is worth some people’s look if they have extra time. The park like I always said is huge and warrants considerable number of days to explore all of them. But personally, no matter how grand the structures here are, there are times you would be “Templed Out”. I must admit on our last day there after visiting a major temple, I no longer want to see another brick or ruin again because they started to look the same. hehe. So it is advisable if you mix your temple-hopping with other activities in between to add variety.
The upper central tower of Preah Rup
I still have quite a lot of materials from my fave temples in Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. Like I said before, this place is quite huge so there’s a lot of photo opportunity here. I will try to post an entry or two each month until it runs out along with some new materials. Please note that not all travel post are real time, as some materials are posted for documentation purposes as well. And for this entry, is another temple that I enjoyed exploring at the park, Preah Rup Temple.
Exquisite detail carvings (height is about 1 foot)
Continuing on with my series of my favorite temples in the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, this time we venture of quite a distance, 20km away from the main temples and visit the so called ‘Jewel among the Temples Angkor‘, Bantey Srei. If Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom impressed you with its sheer scale, Bantey Srei, which literally translates to ‘Citadel of the women’, will mesmerize you with one of the most celebrated Khmer Art intricately carved along its temple walls.
Rooted doorway at Ta Prohm
The Angkor Archaeological Park, is huge and there are numerous temples around that you would need at most a week to explore most of them. But like I said before, I would only be featuring some of my favorite temples. One such temple which have also been popularized in the media and one of the most postcard perfect temple scenery is Ta Prohm.
Angkor Wat’s famous sunrise
I think most people already know that Angkor Wat is one of the most important structures in the world. Since Cambodia finally cleared itself of its land mines and opened itself up for tourism, it gave a lot of people from around the world a chance to finally see this UNESCO World Heritage Site which entranced a lot of people since its discovery. It has been used as a setting for some movies like Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider adventures in Angkor Thom and the profound whispers of Chow Mo-wan in a hole at one of the walls at Angkor Wat in the film In The Mood for Love by Wong Kar-wai, which piqued a lot more interest to the general movie going public. Personally, being a fan of places with scenic ruins overflowing with history, Angkor Wat placed as one of my dream destinations (along with Maccu Picchu). And it has been great that I finally had the chance to walk these hallowed corridors whose walls echo stories withstanding throughout time.