Cambodia – Angkor temples

After spending the last few weeks in South East Asia, I’m finally back home armed with a truckload of pictures and lots of stories to tell. I’m so glad to be back and to finally be able to share some of the travel pictures and delicious curry recipes. 
 
Let’s start with the first part of the trip: Cambodia. In Cambodia we only traveled to the Angkor region where there is so much interesting history and architecture, unlike anything I’ve seen before. The Angkor region is an enormous part of northwest Cambodia where the Khmer Empire built many Buddhist and Hindu temples between 800-1400AD, culminating with the huge and stunning Angkor Wat. These ruins are so vast (1000 square km), that no other preindustrial metropolis even comes close. But what’s really cool (and actually dangerous), is that most of these ruins are easily and fully accessible to anyone who feels like climbing; there’s no ropes stopping tourists from clambering around, going into any part of they temple (or on top of the temple!) they wish to see. As you can imagine, this is highly destructive to the ruins, and there are major conservation efforts under way; while we were visiting there was plenty of demolition and reconstruction of some of the temples. 
 
Besides Angkor Wat, which is known for its sheer size and scope, my favorite temple was Ta Phrom. When the Angkor temples were first excavated and cleaned up, Ta Phrom was left in the same state it was found, overcome by jungle and nature. There’s plenty of pictures below from Ta Phrom and it’s easily identifiable: there’s huge trees growing out of the buildings! The movie Tomb Raider was filmed there, and they didn’t add a whole lot of CGI to the scenes filmed there; it really looks like that. If you ever have a chance to go to Cambodia, I highly suggest visiting this area. And staying in an air-conditioned hotel room.
 
Yes, I know this is a food blog, so let’s talk about Khmer food. The staple ingredient, as you’d expect is rice and it’s used in plenty of stir fries and stews. I was surprised to find out that Khmer food is actually not spicy at all, but you can sometimes get some chilli on the side if you ask for it. Amok is a traditional dish of fish stewed in coconut milk, kaffir lime and lemongrass, served over rice. Like anything that involves lemongrass, amok is seriously fragrant and delicious. This is on my learn-to-cook list, and as soon as I come up with a recipe that resembles what I ate, I’ll be sure to post it on the blog.
 
Coming up later this week are stories and pictures of fragrant Thai curry and spicy Vietnamese pho. Until then, I leave you with these pictures of Angkor.