Cambodia is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Asia and one of the most hospitable places in the world. Its overwhelming recent history makes even more incredible the welcoming, smiling and affectionate spirit of its inhabitants. And if there is one thing that completely amazed me, it’s the spectacular and impressive temples of Angkor.
Much has been written and researched about them, but it’s still a mystery how the Khmer Empire was able to achieve an architectural, creative and engineering undertaking as spectacular as this one.
The mystery that surrounds them is due in large part to the fact that very few or almost no writings are preserved with detailed information about them.
Apparently, during the golden age of the Khmer Empire, between the years 1200 and 1400, a group of brilliant minds, architects, mathematicians and artisans worked together with expert engineers, who mastered one of the fundamental pillars of the empire, the control of water through intricate channels.
Its origin is a mystery, although everything seems to indicate that the knowledge came from the region of Tamil Nadu, in the south of India.
Each one of the temples and buildings that I visited left me speechless.
Arriving at Angkor Wat at dawn, when there are no other visitors around, and witness the sunrise from a privileged spot, is one of the most beautiful experiences ever. And watching the sun setting over the lake is absolute perfection.
Getting up very early to admire the sunrise is totally worth it. Moreover, there was a special reward afterwards: we enjoyed a delicious breakfasts in a Khmer local house.
The spectacular temple of Bayon, with more than 200 sculpted faces facing the cardinal points, is truly amazing. Ta Prohm, the temple of the roots, very well-known thanks to the movie Tom Raider, far exceeds fiction. When contemplating these wonders, one realises that it’s a privilege to be able to travel to this place, at least once in your life.
In Banteay Srei, called the Temple of Women for the special detail and fineness of its engravings and sculptures, mainly made by women, highlights the beautiful pink color of its stones, which makes it really beautiful.
The landscape and geography of Angkor, full of rice fields, rivers and lagoons, makes it ideal to travel by quad, off the beaten tracks. This was a very fun experience during which we were also able to learn interesting stories from our guide, born and raised in the area, while we observed the locals in their daily chores.
Cambodia is without a doubt a magical, mysterious and beautiful destination, with excellent cuisine and accommodation. A place that I recommend to visit at least once in a lifetime!