Cambodia: Beauty of Angkor Wat

Reflections of Angkor

Angkor Wat is famous for a very good reason: it is stunning in its beauty as well as its mystery.  The largest religious temple (Hindu) ever built almost a millennium ago and hidden from all until just recently.  While photo opportunities lie everywhere, the ambiance of this vast piece of art is felt only by wandering through its amazing halls and structures.

Reflections of the Monks

While there is a peacefulness that surrounds the area, I cannot help but wonder about all the strife and tragedy that has occurred over the past thousand years…taking what was once a mecca of Khmer life and while never fully abandoned, fell silent as the forces of nature took over as regional politics and war ebbed and flowed.

Lilies of Angkor Wat -4

In the jungle north of Angkor is one of my favorite spots, the Preah Khan temple, and unlike Angkor Wat, it has remained in ruins as there has been very little (if any) restoration.  However, the lack of restoration actually creates more electricity for me.  The temple is full of sacred images of Khmer women protecting the temple with their auspicious presence and as I sat down with my lunch (the fried cakes shown a couple posts earlier), I contemplate how vivid life must have been almost 1,000 years ago.

Preah Khan Devata1

I admit to a certain naiveté, wishing that I could have been an explorer back in those days, understanding that it was a very hard life, for sure, but I imagine the unexpected delight that around every corner was possibly a new & vibrant culture to be experienced would have been worth the struggle.

My advice to any and all people can be best expressed by an article Jeff Goins wrote, I think it should be required reading for all:

176 Comments on “Cambodia: Beauty of Angkor Wat

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  2. Beautiful images – as we are all so use to on your blog, Randall. Angkor Wat is definitely on my bucket list. It seems to be quite an amazing place.

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  4. Hi Dalo!… Such a wonderful; post. Angkor Wat is certainly an outstanding place… Full of mystery and a powerful mystical atmosphere.
    Beautiful photographs!. All the best to you, Aquileana 😀

  5. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. You have strengthened my dream to visit Angkor.!
    PS: How did you capture the monks in colour while keeping the background B&W? And why did you think of it?

    • Angkor is amazing ~ ever in the area, a definite must for a visit. I wanted to isolate the monks in this shot, so the process was quite easy: in Lightroom I just de-saturated all colors other than those I wanted to keep. Cambodia was incredible ~ great people, food and sights. Did not take many photos there during that trip, so need to return 🙂

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  7. Dear Randall,
    let me start at the bottom and thank you for introducing me to Jeff Goins! I read his article and have signed up to learn more from him and about his amazing work. What an exciting trip this is! 🙂
    I’d frame the second and the third photo, such beautifully composed ❤ images. Lovely, lovely work.
    Dina x

    • Dina, very much look forward to hearing & reading more about your trip. My thoughts about Jeff Goins was similar to yours, and that article was a perfect summary of the importance of pushing the envelope in life. Thank you and cheers to a great day ~

  8. That second shot in particular belongs in a museum. The LINES…that run into the reflection, the contrast of color. You rob me of words.

  9. I like the last pic – as if you were the explorer then who found that hidden treasure. As always, I enjoy your photography, it inspires me 🙂

    • Ha, ha…yes, that is just the feeling I had walking around all these ruins. A spectacular place. Thanks!

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  11. These may be some of the most beautiful photos I have seen of Angor Wat (which is so hard to capture in a photograph) and you write so expressively. I’m completely intimidated. i will have to read the rest of your Cambodia blogs after i post mine.

    • Funny, I too thought that as magnificent as Angkor Wat (and all of Siem Reap) was, it was really difficult to capture. Look forward to your Cambodian posts ~ did you ever make it to Myanmar…in a sense similar beauty, history and culture. Cheers!

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    • Yes, it is one of those destinations that will remain with you forever ~ I wish to go back soon!

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  17. Spectacular images you have here. I had the opportunity to meet a few locals and visit their homes and way of life recently. What an amazing and humbling experience. One of my new most favorite places in the world. I already want to return. Thank you for sharing.

    • It such a humbling experience, but so rich as well as it gives you the full understanding about what life is (happiness and not material wealth). One of my favorite places as well, wish you well and thank you.

  18. Randall, Angkor Wat looks stunning in black & white, and quite timeless in your set of magical images. Having only seen a handful of the temples in the area, we do hope to return and see Banteay Srey someday soon.

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  20. Dalo, the pictures are beautiful. My children went there early this year to help at a school. They found it heartbreaking, heartwarming and fascinating. The people were delightful. They can’t wait to go back.Cheers Jane

    • I love the way you described Cambodia: heartbreaking, heartwarming and fascinating. A perfect description, and something your kids will draw from forever ~

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    • Thank you Kilda ~ the 3rd shot two is my favorite. Every time I look at it I wish I was in that exact spot again (I told myself when taking that picture to remember the feeling I had whenever looking back at the photo!).

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