Monkeys and Temple Tours

It was an early morning as we rose with the crickets at 5:00 am to witness the sunrise over Angkor Wat!

With our boxed breakfasts and temple attire ready to go, we split off into two buses and drove to the temple complex. We were dropped off at a dense part of the jungle, unaware of where we were going. It wasn’t until we took a few steps through the jungle path that the trees opened and the tops of the towers could be seen poking through. As we made our way around to the front, the pink skies started to clear as the sun slowly rose for the ultimate picturesque moment of Angkor Wat.

While the main temple was our first focus, the complex stretches to over 400 square kilometres with nearly one new temple being discovered each year! Our main goal for the morning was to visit Angkor Wat and Bayon before making our way back to the hotel for an afternoon of classes.

The massive main temple was built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple to Vishnu under the Khmer Empire. It was later transformed into a Buddhist temple with the shifting change of worship throughout the Asian world. Interestingly enough, the bricks were formed together using a vegetable compound rather than traditional forms of mortar!

Luke had this to share about his visit to Angkor Wat:

“I thought it was very nice and the sunrise was extremely beautiful. I initially thought we were going to miss it as the skies grew pink from the dark, but we made it. The view from the reflecting pool also made for some very nice images. It was interesting to see how they were able to construct such a massive temple. My favourite part was the view from the highest tower as you could see beyond the temple and into the forest. The monkeys towards the end of the tour were also very cute and playful.”

We then made our way over to the next temple of the morning: Bayon.

This temple is known for the many faces of Lokesvara that decorate the temple’s towers which surround the sanctuary. It is said that there were an estimated 200 faces which decorated the temple on the towers and wall sculptures! Students enjoyed pacing about on their own time, capturing many photographs and climbing through the various alcoves before meeting yet another group of monkeys on the way back to the bus.

Students were given the rest of the morning to rest up after an early rise before classes resumed later in the afternoon. Business and world cultures continue to work on their social action projects and will be visiting the local village tomorrow to meet with villagers and capture footage for their documentaries. Our young social scientists will be meeting with teenagers on Saturday morning to conduct interviews and learn more about adolescent development in Cambodia. Needless to say, experiential learning is alive and well on Global High School!

Yours among the monkeys,
Nic