Angkor. The Impact.

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Angkor Wat. The ancient temple and surrounding ruins that put Siem Reap on the map, and arguably started modern tourism in Cambodia. Like most everyone who visits Siem Reap, we had been drawn here specifically to see the Angkor Archaelogical Park. To set foot in this ancient city was something I’d been looking forward to for years.

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The experience will forever be a significant memory for me. Angkor surpassed all expectations. It is awe inspiring and mysterious. It is a place you wish to come back to over and over.

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The Angkor archaeological park is enormous. It spans an area of 400 square kilometers, and is believed to be the largest pre-industrial city on earth. Perhaps what is most incredible about visiting here is the access provided to visitors; Your pass into the park offers the chance to walk through the majority of the temples- you can climb the stairs, walk through the temples, get close to the rock carvings, and walk throughout the ruins. The sensory experience is mind-blowing. At times it feels like it shouldn’t be allowed.

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The connection between man and earth is no more powerful than when considering the trees that have grown up around these edifices. Many of them seem to be holding the ruins- protecting them from the laws of gravity. Roots wrap around blocks of carved rock, hold ancient door jams and sprawl over hallways and ceilings. The connection between tree and brick is symbiotic, neither could last without the presence of the other.

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The temples are detailed and monolithic, even today after centuries of wear and tear. There is no way to comprehend how these buildings were erected without modern technologies. To explore them is to have a new respect for human accomplishment- the citizens of this city truly conquered the impossible. From intricate carvings to towering monuments, waterfalls accentuated with statues carved out of bedrock, and temples decorated from every angle, there is no way to come here and not feel speechless.

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