Angkor Village’s Apsara Theatre has evening performances of classical dances. I asked the manager if I could take a few portraits after the artists had finished their show, and they said okay. To make things a challenge, I had about 5 minutes to photograph everyone, the external wall of their changing room to use as a background, and the only Khmer I knew was hello and thank you. I used the Profoto B1 to illuminate the darkness, and my tuk tuk driver as light stand and translator. I asked them to look into the light, and captured a few quick pics.
Siem Reap Pagoda Cats is a small organization trying to help the stray cats that live in around several Buddhist temples near Siem Reap, Cambodia. French ex-pat Josette Vanneur does a daily tour of the temples making sure the numerous felines have food and water, along with arranging medical care including neutering. If you like cats, or just want to read about someone trying to make a difference, visit their Facebook page Siem Reap Pagoda Cats.
Angkor Wat is the most popular place in Siem Reap to see the sunrise. For sunset the title is held by Phnom Bakheng. The temple is on the top of a small hill overlooking the surrounding forest and the Western Baray. The number of tourists allowed on the temple is restricted, but it’s still crowded at the top. Arrive early, bring a book, and enjoy those twilight moments.
Banteay Srei may not be on the same scale as Angkor Wat, but the detail and beauty of its sandstone carvings are unmatched. It’s about 90 minutes by tuk tuk from Siem Reap but well worth the journey. To see the temple in its best light arrive early. You’ll also have the added advantage of beating the crowds and the heat.
Ta Prohm, aka The Tomb Raider Temple, is a fantastic group of ruins hidden in the jungle not far from Siem Reap. Root systems creep across crumbling walls, collapsing some structures, and keeping others standing. The sandstone carvings have not been cleaned (restored) to the same extent as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom which makes the place seem more of a discovery. However, if you’re hoping to feel like Laura Croft or Indiana Jones then you need to get here at dawn before the bus loads of tourists arrive. You can’t actually walk through the doorway below as it’s fenced off. In the first Tomb Raider film, as soon as Angelina Jolie passes the threshold the ground collapses and she finds herself in an underground tomb. In reality, this was just a set at London’s Pinewood studios, but the doorway is impressive nonetheless.