After spending a few days in the busyness of Bangkok I was so excited to move on to the second half of my trip and spend time exploring all the beauty Cambodia has to offer. It only seemed appropriate my first stop be in Siem Reap and explore the sacred Temples of Angkor. Wandering the Angkorian ruins, built throughout the 9th to 15th century, I was overcome by moments of peace, beauty and awe, as well as, moments of anxiety.
At times it was hard to be in a place that is so sacred and be surrounded by loud tourists with their ridiculous selfie-sticks. Tourists have begun to overrun the place; buses full of Chinese tourists come in daily and fill the most iconic temples, with very little respect for the land the temples are on or the other people around them. Crowds of people yelling and pushing in front of others to get a photo to later post on social media. It was in these moments of chaos that it was hard to fully appreciate where I was. It made me sad to think that we have gotten so far away from being able to simply appreciate where we are in the moment to get that "perfect photo" to post on instagram in order to receive as many likes as possible. There were many times I put my camera away just to allow myself to fully be in the present and take in the wonders of these gorgeous and intricate temples that were once the center of the Khmer Kingdom and the sacred sites of hindu and buddhist art and architecture.
It was in the moments when I stepped away from the crowds and found a secluded spot to sit I was able to take it all in, amazed by the different carvings in the stones, the symmetry and construction of the buildings that are surrounded by the jungle. I can never fully describe how awe-inspiring it was to walk through so much history and touch stones that hold traditions and hope of peace. Angkor allowed for moments of deep introspection and to appreciate all the beauty the world can offer when we allow ourselves to just be.