Bayon Temple is well know for the many (216 actually) smiling faces adorning the temple.
I was living in Siem Reap for a few months and took these photos during a bike trip from the city to visit the temples. It is a nice bike ride (very flat the entire time). You can also rent tuk-tuks or taxis to tour the sites (I have done that also). I most enjoyed biking myself around. If I remember right it is between 12 and 20 km journey depending on what you decide to see and where start from in Siem Reap.
Bayon temple was built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.
Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
This photo I took on a separate visit.
Bayon was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha, though a great number of minor and local deities were also encompassed as representatives of the various districts and cities of the realm.
Related: Bayon on Wikipedia – Ta Prohm temple, Angkor – Angkor Wat – Neak Poan Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Borobudur in Java, Indonesia (Buddhist temple built in the 9th century)
Borobudur is an amazing Buddhist temple built in the 9th century. This is a site that can’t be missed, spectacular. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.
Six square platforms form the base of Borobudur and these are topped by three circular platforms. The temple is decorated with over 2,500 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
The temple is surrounded by lush green forests and that greatly enhances the feeling of tranquility at Borobudur.
Yunnan Nationalities Villages is located on the east bank of Dianchi Lake in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.
The village covers 25 ethnic groups found in Yunnan with examples of traditional houses and guides dressed in traditional clothing. China has a total of 56 recognized ethnic groups. I don’t remember which houses and traditional clothing are which ethnic group (please comment if you have information to share).
Exterior view of the Library of Congress
The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington DC is one of the most ornate buildings in the city. It was opened in 1897.
The incredibly ornate entry hall to the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress also includes 2 more buildings (built much later). All 3 buildings are near the Supreme Court and the Capital.
The main reading room of the Library of Congress.
The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800 when President John Adams signed a bill providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington.
Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1070. The temple is located in old town Hanoi along with many other items of interest within easy walking distance (see Curious Cat Hanoi Tourist map). The temple grounds are enjoyable and provide a respite from chaotic Hanoi, and the history is interesting.
In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quốc Tử Giám” or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam’s bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university remained open from 1076 to 1779. In 1802, the Nguyễn dynasty’s monarchs founded the Huế capital where they established a new imperial academy.
Bee on flower in the temple grounds.
The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters.
I really like the mosaic artwork on the walls of buildings at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Luang Prabang is full of interesting temples and is a great place to walk around. The old city has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UN and I highly enjoyed staying in Luang Prabang.
Buddha statues in front of a mosaic wall inside a Wat Xieng Thong temple building.
Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, situated at Angkor, Cambodia, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city.
As the best-preserved temple in the Siem Reap area, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.
As you would expect this UNESCO world heritage site is amazing. It is very large with a huge temple. The carvings are exceptional and numerous. I was there in the slow part of the season and while there were lots of people, there was plenty of room.
I went to Angkor Wat on 3 days. I was going elsewhere for a sunset visit (on my first day) but as it was cloudy I decided to go to Angkor instead (saving the sunset for another day) and get some photos in the nice light late in the day. I went to see the sunrise and continued on with my guide. Then I went back late in the afternoon on one of the other days – there was a bit more sun so I hoped for better photos and also it is huge, there is plenty to see.
Looking at my photos now they don’t convey the size of Angkor Wat. This last photo is taken inside the building several floors up above ground level. Angkor Wat is an absolutely wonderful destination and is surrounded in the larger temple complex (over a site 400 km square) by several other world class sites.