We spent the last 3 days at one of the wonders of the world: Angkor Wat. It consists of numerous temples created by a long succession of kings between 800 – 1000 years ago. Some temples were adorned with beautiful engravings in stone walls depicting stories of ancient battles, mythical creatures and every day life. Some temples were surrounded by jungle over-taking the ruins and giant trees with impressive roots that engulfed stone walls. It was amazing to see architecture with such perfection and uncomprehensible to think of how these massive temples were constructed.
Last night we stayed at a floating village on Asia’s great lake, Tonle Sap. The village is located in an isolated corner of the lake (2 hour boat ride from Siem Reap) and consisted of houses floating on bamboo rafts. There were floating markets and children rowing to school. I can’t imagine never stepping on dry land (for half the year, the wetland do dry up with the change of seasons)! The lake is home to the largest colony of water birds in south east Asia. We saw 100’s of nesting water birds, including four species of storks, spot-billed pelican, 3 species of cormorants and ibis. It was nice to see copious amounts of big birds when it is typically very difficult to find an animal bigger than your fist. Several conservation organizations are working with and educating the local community about the importance of these wetlands and the animals in them. Locals get a cash reward for finding bird nests! Such a great incentive for not hunting or selling bird chicks!