Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple

After an amazing morning visit to the Borobudur temple I head over to the Prambanan temple closer to Yogyakarta in the afternoon. It is also a 9th century temple but this one is a Hindu temple. Not as impressive as Borobudur but still a nice temple to visit.

Prambanan is a UNESCO sight that happens to be the largest Hindu complex in Indonesia. Some bricks lay outside the main temple structures that must have been remnants of a 16th century earthquake that destroyed the temples. Restoration efforts started in the early 1900’s and continue to present day. Luckily they have restored a good part of the temples for us now to enjoy.

It is a warm beautiful day at the temples. The crowds are thicker here with school children and seemingly mostly local visitors.

It is at Prambanan temple that I started to realize how popular I am in Indonesia. I stand out pretty much every where I travel (I never do a great job at fitting in) but in Indonesia I really stand out. At places like Prambanan that doesn’t get as many western tourists I am a novelty. I am used to students in south east Asia wanting to speak with me to practice their English – I even welcome it. However in Yogyakarta it proved to be a little inconvenient, especially at these temples. There were so many groups of students and not as many of “me” types so I am constantly being stopped for school projects. Besides the students there are groups of males wanting to take pictures with me. It is flattering only to a degree but then I spent the rest of my visit literally hiding behind temples until the coast is clear to go exploring again. I know it sounds like I am exaggerating but the attention is excessive. Looking back maybe I could have made time for every group of students that wanted to talk with me, maybe not. At least I hope I am a positive representative of an American while I am a guest in the country.

One of the friendly groups of students I chatted with

Walking back to the park entrance I find these fun straw creatures being assembled nearby.

I’m beat after a long day of sightseeing so I head back to my hotel to rest up and get ready for a night food tour I have scheduled. Been a great day so far in Yogyakarta, looking forward to trying to new food.

Angkor Small Circuit: Baphuon

The next Angkor temple visited is a actually two temples that are pretty close to each other. The large temple, Baphuon, is an 11th century Hindu temple. Being not crowded it was a nice relaxing temple to visit. There isn’t much to it but it is impressive because it is large and in seemingly good condition for its age. If you visit beware that it isn’t as heavily guarded as some of the others and there were men posing as officials who will try to get you to pay for “extra” viewing options…like a dead alligator skull I think? It is bizarre so just be aware.

At the very top

After my visit I walk a small shaded path to a smaller temple. There are some fun trees growing over the bricks in the path.

The next temple Phimeanakas, is not accessible but it is nice to look at.

From the temple it is another short walk to the Terrace of Elephants. For some reason I didn’t actually get a photo of the elephants along the side.

Heading back to my tuk tuk I found a very cheeky monkey hanging out on someone’s motorcycle.

Angkor Small Circuit: Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat is the most famous Cambodian temple. This 12th century temple was originally built as a Hindu temple and then later became Buddhist temple.

I am there early, before 5 am to be exact. Myself and probably thousands of other people are there to watch what is the wonder of the Angkor Wat sunrise. When I arrive it is still dark. I cross the water bridge with many other people in pursuit of a spot to watch the sunrise.

Viewing around the lake proves popular, the crowd is already deep enough that I am unable to get an unobstructed view. I am disappointed so I wander around and try to at least find higher ground so I can see. That plan isn’t working so I push myself up to the crowd and hope the people surrounding me are generous with sharing the view with my short self.

Got my selfie in
At one point I walk around the lake and peer back at the crowds.

I slowly watch the sky change. The temple comes more into focus as time passes.

My photos are coming out only so-so therefore I head into the temple for some sightseeing before the sun fully rises and makes it unbearably hot.

I start along the perimeter of the temple. I marvel at the stone carvings along the wall.

I head further inside the temple to look around.

There is a long line to get up to the next level since they limit the amount of people at once. Once I arrive up top I view the line below.

Its getting warm and I still have many temples to see for the day so I head out. Despite the crowds it is a lovely temple to visit.

Heading back to exit gate
Exit and floating bridge

Angkor Big Circuit : Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei is a 10th century Hindu temple to the god Shiva

Many leave this temple out of the ciruit since it is pretty far from the others (25 km northeast) but my tuk tuk guide insist I visit this temple. He thought it was worth it.

Love all the monkeys around the temple.

This temple is definitely worth the out of the way trip.

My Son is me sun

Today I am taking a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site My Son Sanctuary from my hotel in Hoi An (Vietnam).

The name ‘My Son’ looks like you are saying “my son” but it is actually pounced “me sun”.

These Hindu temples were built between the 4th and 14th century by the Champa Kingdom. My tour guide referred to it as little Angkor Wat. These temples are smaller and less impressive than the temples in Cambodia but are dated earlier and look similar, thus the nickname. My Son is impressive but I agree with the criticism that maybe it is not as impressive if you have seen Angkor Wat first. Luckily my first visit to Angkor Wat is later in my travels.

This UNESCO site had lots of destruction in the war (B52 bombing in 1969 and 1972) as the south Vietnamese were using the temples to hide out.

Researchers are still discovering how they were originally constructed in order to try to repair them. During my visit I saw temples in various states of repair.

Bomb site

There is a heritage dance show. It is standing room only in the very back for me. I only catch a short glimpse of it.

When our tour of My Son is complete we visit a lady who makes rice paper. We get a demonstration on how they are made.

We are taken to a local house where we are served a delicious meal family style. We are instructed on how to wet the dry rice sheets and make wraps filled with delicious toppings.

Our day is finished with a short boat ride.