Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Amazing Angkor Wat Cambodia

Cokie and me and Angkor Wat in 2004!


In 2004, I was able to talk Som in to going to "dangerous" Cambodia.  Well at least that was the reputation Cambodia had to the Thai.  I knew that there was no worries in going to Cambodia but it take some convincing on Som's end.  After our short week-long journey to Siem Riep and the Angkor Wat complex, Som felt a little silly about here initial worries.  We had a great time.

I did visit the complex in 1984, during the height of the Khmer Rouge occupation of the surrounding areas.  I still can't believe I was insane enough to travel to this war-torn country on the back of the truck way back then.  But then again, I was somewhat of aN "extreme travel" junky (just read the Gorilla Expediton to Rwanda page!).  While it was a blast, there were many definite "no-go" areas and land mines were still a serious issue at that time.  But in 2004, all was well and the entire region had shown the beginnings of becoming one of the biggest tourist areas on the planet.  On my prior visits to Siem Riep, I had seen the lodging options grow from simple home-stays, to simple hotels and hostels, to now, where you can find countless foreign-owned five star lodges and mega-hotels.  I am not sure what I think about this.  There does now seem to be more in the way of employment opportunities for the local Khmer and I guess that is a good thing.


Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)


 The following mages are what we captured during our stay in Angkor.


This elderly gentleman was seen playing his lute at East Mebon Temple.






"Mount Meru" in the Angkor Wat. We trekked and explored the complex of Angkor Wat itself for nearly two days!




The inner court of Angkor Wat.



Cokie wore these little green rubber boots for the better part of two years.  He loved them and basically went ballistic when we finally "lost" them.  He was fashion conscious even back then.

While we were enjoying the miles of bass reliefs (above), this group of young apprentice monks strolled by.  The moment was sublime.



Although considerably smaller than Angkor, the Bayon is, in my humble opinion, more spectacular with its dozens of Buddha images around every corner. 



When I went to Angkor in the 80's, there was no way to travel to Banteay Srei Temple seen here.  The Khmer Rouge were bascially camped out here.  Some researchers were in fact ambushed and slaughtered here a year after I was in Cambodia.





Banteay Srei is famous for its extremely intricate and delicate stone artistry.  The afternoon we were here, we were in the middle of a tropical deluge.  It was actually nice to beat the heat for awhile actually.  Once we got used to being completely drenched, viewing the ruins was actually a blast!



One of the smaller ruins in the complex, Wat "Som" was obviously a must-see for us!  Som was very impressed with her temple!



Damn it was hot! But it was worth it to see my favorite of all the temples.  Ta Phrom is famously still covered with old growth Ficus trees with their creeping roots and fascinating growth patterns!  It gives one a subtle glimpse of what it must have looked like when the initial explorers "re-discovered" Angkor and the surrounding temples. 



The cultural show here at our hotel actually started out seriously.  But after watching Cokie try to mimic the dances of the Kampuchean traditional dancers, everyone lightened up and and it actually became more of a comedy hour!  Even the dancers were howling in laughter by the end.  I think it was on this night, I realized my little dude was a complete ham.



Mostly due to Cokie, where ever we stopped, a crowd would assemble to see the little "half breed".  The locals have long since ceased being interested in white European tourists, but a little halfer like Cokie always brought a crowd.  And not just in Cambodia... 

Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)