Literally thousands of temple ruins are near Siem Reap to explore, and at least three days is recommended to see most of them. In one day we visited ten, and were pleased to find bats in most of them.
The complex of temples known as Angkor was built from the 9th to 13th century by successive Khmer rulers, and the mother of them all is the Angkor Wat Temple, the largest (first Hindu, later Buddhist) temple in the world. Between the 12th and 13th century, when London had a mere population of about 50,000, it is estimated that Angkor had 1,000,000, making it the largest city in the world at the time. They were the people, under successive Khmer kings, who built these massive construction projects on the scale of the Egyptian Pharaohs’ pyramids.
If you’ve ever seen the Angelina Jolie movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, many of the scenes were filmed at Angkor. I join the chorus and recommend you see Angkor Wat before you die!
At nearby Phnom Kulen National Park, we set up a four-panel bat trap over a small stream in the forest for about an hour, and caught five species of bats. (more…)