THE MAGNIFICENT TEMPLES OF ANGKOR WAT
As destination specialists, Oceania Cruises knows how important it is to design our itineraries so that guests have plenty of time to fully experience each port of call. Moreover, we offer our guests the chance to explore even beyond the port and venture inland for a more in-depth look at the lands we visit.
As Nautica sails the enchanting coasts of Southeast Asia, a number of our adventurous guests took exploring up a notch on an overland excursion. Guests disembarked in Ho Chi Minh City and traveled to the interior of the Indochinese Peninsula to spend two days exploring Siem Reap, Cambodia, before reboarding Nautica in Bangkok.
Siem Reap has rapidly become Cambodia's fastest growing city due to the tourism trade. As the French began efforts to restore the nearby ancient city of Angkor over the past century, the village of Siem Reap developed into a bustling gateway to the historic site, and European influences blended with the local Khmer and Hindu culture.
The first tourists began to arrive over a hundred years ago, and a steady stream of Europeans followed after Henri Mahout shared stories of his expedition to the "Lost City of Angkor” in the late 19th century. Located just outside Siem Reap, the ancient temples of Angkor were never actually “lost,” but Mahout’s journals popularized the site with explorers from the West.
Over a thousand temples can be found in the region, the most famous of which is the monumental Angkor Wat. Once the seat of the Khmer Empire, the area has a rich and colorful history, including a prolonged conflict between the Khmer and Siamese peoples that culminated in the 16th century. The Khmer victory led to the name Siem Reap, roughly translating to the "Flat Defeat of Siam,” the country known today as Thailand.
It has been suggested recently that Angkor was the first major urban center prior to industrialization, and some archaeologists argue the entire area of the city encompassed between 400 and 700 square miles. The region had been abandoned with the fall of the Khmer empire and overtaken by jungle vegetation, but an extensive restoration process was undertaken in the 20th century.
Nautica guests explored the remains of the ancient city and the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat at length, also mingling with locals who wore traditional costumes to further illustrate the history and culture of the region.
Amazing details were chiseled into the towering walls of stone throughout the temple complex.
The intricate carvings and exquisite architecture that have been preserved and restored are absolutely astounding. It is no wonder that more than one day was required to take in the majesty of Angkor.
Whether by foot, animal or vehicle, millions of people visit Siem Reap and the historic city of Angkor every year.
After enjoying several days exploring the magnificent site, Nautica’s guests certainly understood why so many travelers are drawn to Angkor Wat. They would not soon forget this overland excursion with Oceania Cruises.