Walking Virtually, Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat Virtual Challenge – The Conqueror
20 miles, 32.2 km

“Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.” UNESCO: Angor

“The ancient Khmer city of Angkor in Cambodia was the largest preindustrial metropolis in the world.” LA Times: Angkor was a city ahead of its time, Maugh, 2007. News story on this paper, PNAS: Mapping the lost megalopolis. Site mapped from space, air, & ground.

Start. 0 miles/km.

Admin. Program is now app based. Photos will be screenshots from phone. Plan is to do this in a month. I put down a overly long time as I have a habit of wandering away from these things for weeks on end.

1 January 2022. 1 mile, recorded as 1.5 km for easier math. Total 1.5 km.

Looking back.

Admin. Photo loaded directly & trimmed on phone. That’s new. Came back to desktop to finish, i.e. resize & add text. Keyboard so much easier than poking one’s fingers at a tiny screen.

2 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 3 km.

Ta Prohm temple.

“Little over fifteen years later, millions of visitors flock to Siem Reap each year, many of whom will have their picture taken under “that tree” that Angelina Jolie stood upon during one of the movie’s action scenes. (Tomb Raider) [P] There is, however, obviously much more to Ta Prohm than its famous friends.” Ta Prohm

“Ta Prohm is the undisputed capital of the kingdom of the Trees.” Tourism Cambodia: Prasat Ta Prohm – The Ancestor Brahma, Jungle Temple

“Looks very much the way most of the monuments of Angkor appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. [P] Well, that’s the theory, but in fact the jungle is pegged back and only the largest trees are left in place, making it manicured rather than raw.” Lonely Planet: Ta Prohm

“Stones of the temple … built entirely without mortar.” Atlas Obascura: Ta Prohm

“The complex is often referred to as Angkor Wat. In reality, Angkor Wat is a temple city build in the 12th century. It is the best preserved and most complete of all the temple complexes in the area. Angkor Thom was a fortressed city state built in the 13th century with multiple temples, with the Bayon (the one with many faces) at its heart. [P] The Ta Prohm Temple (also famously known as the jungle temple) is outside Angkor Thom.” The Next Crossing: Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat – Ancient Civilisation Revisited. Personal travel post. Nice photos.

Admin. Postcard sent at 1 mile, i.e. 1.6 km.

3 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 4.5 km. Cold, for us. And damp, which makes everything feel colder.

Trip Advisor: Banana Tree
Can’t find the others.

Excellent map of the area, Canby Publications: Map – Angkor Archeological Park: Map Section #2. Hat tip to Wandering Chopsticks: Ta Prohm – Cambodia. Found while searching for restaurants on map. Excellent tree pics of Ta Prohm.

Ta Prohm, see 2 Jan for links. Postcard came at 2 miles. Yesterday was 3 km =~ 1.86 miles. I seem to be a hair behind their milestones.

Admin. Writing from top down this time b/c vertical format photos makes for long entries.

4 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Star Lake. Total 6 km.

Well, that worked out serendipitously. Lake IRL. Lake virtually.

“Srah Srang is a large lake (700 by 300 meters, 2,297 by 984 feet) with elegant landing terrace of superb proportion and scale.” Tourism Cambodia: Srah Srang – The Royal Bath.

“… has remained at least partially flooded since its heyday in King Rajendravarman II’s rule.” Srah Srang.

5 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 7.5 km.

Looking back toward the lake from yesterday.

The little triangle under the humanoid place marker indicates the direction of the view. Cool.

6 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 9 km.

Per map, I have passed Pre Rup. Per sign, I am heading toward Banteay Srei. Both are temples. Per Internet, Banteay Srei is also the name of two woman’s advocacy groups. Or perhaps, two divisions of the same group. One website has a California area code; the other, the Cambodia country code. Confess to no research beyond what appears here.

“OUR MISSION. Banteay Srei is a youth development, asset building organization that is non-judgmental of young SEA women who are at risk of or engaged in the underground sex trade. We seek to provide the resources that support their healthy development through self empowerment and self determination.” Banteay

“Mission. Banteay Srei is a Cambodian women’s non-governmental organisation that empowers women and their families to improve their political, economic and psycho-social situation through mobilising communities for sustainable development, advocacy work for gender justice and engaging men on gender equality.” Banteay > About

Admin. OTOH, if I don’t upload the screenshot to my desktop, it doesn’t get scaled down. 600+ KB vs 175 KB. Waste of library space.

7 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 10.5 km.

Passed the Eastern Mebon Temple. “The East Mebon is located on an elevated ground that was an artificial island in the middle of the now dry East Baray … In the past, the temple was to be reached by boat.” Julia’s Album: East Mebon, Cambodia. Nice photos.

8 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 12 km.

Jayatataka Baray to the left. Ta Som on the right. Neither can be seen from the road on the streetview.

“A large baray (lake) measuring 3.5 km x 1 km with Neak Pean temple at its center.” Jayatataka Baray (Veal Reach Dak)

“Ta Som is a medium-sized temple in the Bayon style. This means, it’s a Buddhist monument from the late 12th century. Architecture and decorations are typical of the reign of Jayavarman VII, whose fame is to have built more structures than any other Khmer king.” Angkor Temples in Cambodia: Ta Som. “ is advertising for Driver Pheak in Siem Reap … Our ambition is to attract visitors – and customers – by offering most detailed information on Angkor temples,” Home.

Admin. Day 8 of my “trip”. Why did it take until now for the search algorithm to turn up the page for APSARA? “Authority for the Protection and Safeguarding of Angkor and the Region of Angkor (its acronym in French, APSARA, is a reference to the celestial dancers).” APSARA National Authority. Front page, WELCOME TO ANGKOR.

9 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 13.5 km.

The road ahead.

Looking left toward lake.

Map instead of satellite to show location of lake.

10 January 2022. 2 mile -> 1.5 km (1/2 to Miss). Total 15 km.

On the causeway back from Neak Poun.


We interrupt this festival of screenshots and links for a brief rant on travel blogs. The more popular the site, the more travel blogs have two problems.

Less story. The posts I am finding for Angkor Wat are variations on 10 Tips for Traveling to X or Hotel Recommendations for Y. I’m not going there, I don’t need these. Even if I were going to X or Y, I only need a few websites to give me the mechanics. I don’t need you to tell me the history. I can find that so many other places. I need you to be my eyes and ears. Where do you go? What did you do? How did it smell? What did you see? I want to hear the story only you can tell me.

This is the sort of thing I want to read. “Although living in Cambodia remains one of the best things I’ve ever done, and barely a day goes by when I don’t remember my time there fondly, it was also really really difficult, and I haven’t found a single article that really addresses that. Travel Jezebel: Living in Cambodia – The Good, The Bad and The Really Really Ugly. The post talks glowingly about the good and realistically about the bad. (The Really Really Ugly is in fact really, really ugly.) When the post touches on social trends – good or bad – it says this is what I did, this is what I saw, this is what I felt. The post is personal.

More snobbery. Popular travel destinations equal lots of other people. I get it. It’s hard to commune with the ineffable when you are surrounded by 600 of your new best friends. Complain about the crowds. Fine. Don’t you dare complain about crowds of tourists. What exactly do you think you are, Cupcake? What do you think I am, or would be? Unless we live there, or are there on business, we are tourists. Tips from one tourist telling another tourist how to avoid tourists is a logical impossibility. As well as elitist codswallop.

Back to my virtual tourism.


11 January 2022. 2 mile -> 1.5 km (1/2 to Miss). Total 16.5 km.

Looking back. Looking to the side, can’t see the lake from the road.

Many of the restaurant reviews say the meal prices are inflated for the tourist area. This is my shocked face. What exactly where you expecting at a place that gets over 2 million international visitors in a country with an annual household income of under $2000? You were overcharged $2 for your entire meal. Poor you. You probably spend more than that on a cup of coffee. Okay, no one likes to be ripped off. Let’s have a little perspective here. Reels self back in with effort.

“Chinese tourists top the list, followed by tourists from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and South Korea, according to Ministry of Tourism data.” The Phnom Penh Post: Angkor hosts 2.6M visitors, 2019.

“Cambodia Annual Household Income per Capita reached 1,548.682 USD in Dec 2019.” CEIC: Cambodia Household Income per Capita, 2009 – 2019. (Computer and Enterprise Investigations Conference)

12 January 2022. 2 mile -> 1.5 km (1/2 to Miss). Total 18 km.

Treeees. From the streetviews, it would seem that one can be quite close to the sights without being able to see them.

13 January 2022. 2 mile -> 1.5 km (1/2 to Miss). Total 19.5 km.

Visibly different land usage between Angkor Archeological Park & the surrounding area.

14 January 2022. 1 km. Total 20.5 km.

Virtually, in Angkor Thom. “Walked” back along road – yellow figure in screenshots – to see the sights.

16 January 2022. 1 km. Total 21.5 km.

We appear to be off-roading. Map says I entered Angkor Thom last time. Milestones say I did so this time, 1/2 km ago. The joys of touring by electron.

17 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 23 km.

“In this regard, the Bayon feels more like exploring the ruins of a royal residence rather than a Khmer temple complex. And in fact, it is still a residence to multitudes, as we soon find out.” AwayGoWe: Monkeying Around in Angkor Thom, Baxter, June 2020. Monkey pix.

I wondered about the date.

“In Cambodia (where we currently live) as of mid-July 2020 borders are tightly closed with intense screening procedures. At present, there is no detected community transmission … we’re currently dealing within an environment where engaging in domestic tourism is permitted and reasonable with precautions … Until further notice, all guides, dispatches, and other content we publish on our site or social media channels are intended for the sole purpose of entertainment and future planning.” ADW: About Us

18 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 24.5 km.

“Walked” ahead to the southern gate.

20 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 26 km.

The road ahead and Angkor Wat over the water to the left.

21 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 27.5 km.

Almost at the gateway to the headliner.

22 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 29 km.

Ta Loek Entrance.

23 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 30.5 km.



The only building in sight. I would have expected a higher density of structures, here and throughout, given the way the Internet yodels on about the number of buildings in the site. Lots times the only thing the screenshot showed was trees. I wonder how that corresponds to IRL.

24 January 2022. 1 mile -> 1.5 km. Total 32 km.

25 January 2022. 0 miles. Total 32.2 km. Am assuming 0.2km in course of daily activities.



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