Disney World Comes Alive in Angkor

India Jones was here, so was Lara Croft. The creators of the Tomb Raider and Temple Run video games came here for inspiration, as well as thousands of other video game producers, and probably the designers of most rides in Universal Studios and Disney World.

Angkor 1

It’s difficult to imagine, as you walk through one of the thousands of temples in Siem Reap, that you are not on a movie set. Everything seems so familiar, so perfectly designed – and so fake. But the Hindu and Buddhist Temples of Angkor have stood here for over a thousand years. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, when London and Paris were still little hamlets, the Khmer Empire was the largest, most powerful civilization in the world, and Angkor with its one million inhabitants was its capital.

Angkor 5

Booted by the Thai Ayutthaya Kingdom in 1351, the Angkor population dispersed and the holy city fell into ruins. Overgrown by weeds and plants, the stone temples lay in oblivion for six hundred years until French archaeologists started clearing away the forest and restoring many of the main temples.

Angkor 3

Today, the place is overrun with tourists. The screaming Chinese tourists, the Japanese with three cameras each, and hundreds of Europeans and Americans who have come to see one of the wonders of the world. It’s a steaming hot place packed with people shoving and pushing you around as you are trying to capture its serenity in a photo. It’s amazing and annoying at the same time. And after a day or two, your senses are full of impressions and you feel like you can’t stand seeing yet another temple. There are just so many of them.

Angkor 2

But after a deep breath and a nap during the hottest hours of the day, you’ll be ready to conquer yet another one of these miracles. And you’ll be reminded that this is not fake at all. Disney has nothing on Angkor Wat.

Truly.

Angkor 4

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. "dearly"
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 04:11:16

    Highly energetic article, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part
    2?

    Reply

    • Kristi D
      Sep 28, 2013 @ 08:38:48

      Thank you very much! Unfortunately, no part 2. The trip is finished and we are back home. Next trip – who knows where and when – I will blog again.

      Reply

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