Photo: Angkor inverted.

Introduction

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Cambodia’s Angkor is, quite simply, one of the most splendid attractions in all of Southeast Asia. Long considered “lost”, the ruins of Angkor were never really lost to the Khmers, who have used the monuments as religious sites throughout their history.


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The myth of the lost ruins of Angkor is more suited to an Angelina Jolie film than the history books. The story more or less begins with their being “rediscovered” by Western explorers in the 19th century, beginning with the French botanist Henri Mouhot who stumbled across Angkor Wat in 1860. Few remember though that Mouhot was led to the site by a Khmer guide and that when he arrived, he found a flourishing Buddhist monastery within the temple grounds.

Remember there is more than just Angkor Wat. Photo taken in or around Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Remember there is more than just Angkor Wat. Photo: Caroline Major

During the Khmer Rouge period, the ruins were largely left to their own devices. Like most Khmers, even Pol Pot was unable to shake the power of the site, saying in 1977, “If our people can make Angkor, they can make anything.”

Never lost, lost then found, found then lost then found again—today it doesn’t really matter. With thousands of people visiting daily, the sprawling Angkor Park remains a see-at-least-once-in-your-life destination.

The kind of place where even a door frame is beautiful. Photo taken in or around Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

The kind of place where even a door frame is beautiful. Photo: Caroline Major

Angkor refers to the entire 400 square kilometre Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with historic temples, hydraulic structures such as reservoirs, ancient highways and forest. Angkor Wat is the iconic temple with lotus-like towers at the heart of the park while Angkor Thom is the ancient walled city, within which many more temples ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Angkor.
 Read up on how to get to Angkor, or book your transport online with BookMeBus.
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