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Angkor Wat Through the Lens

March 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features, Photography

Angkor Wat is a historic temple complex near Siem Reap, Cambodia. It has been used as a religious temple for several faiths including Hinduism and Buddhism. The structures are locally influenced by the classic Khmer architectural design. With more than eight hundred years of history, Angkor Wat is on almost every must-see list for travelers headed to Southeast Asia.

Follow this photographic journey into the temple complex:

angkor-wat-tomb-raider.jpg angkor-wat-trees.jpg Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Gennaro Salamone

Massive tree roots engulf many of the temple structures especially at Ta Prohm. That’s where scenes from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider were filmed. It’s also one of the most visually pleasing segments of Angkor.

angkor-wat-statue.jpg angkor-wat-statues.jpg Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Gennaro Salamone

The space is filled with lots of detailed figures. Many of them represent Hindu devatas (deities or celestial beings). Along with that representation comes a variety of Hindu stories told through carvings in the stone.

angkor-wat-angelina-jolie.jpg angkor-wat-buddha.jpg Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Gennaro Salamone

Buddhist statues demonstrate later influences at Angkor Wat. At the same time, scattered stones and partial structures show years of wear and tear at the grand temples.

For tourists visiting Angkor Wat, the temple complex has hundreds of structures over a considerable distance. Consider spending several days viewing them. Hiring a motorbike or renting a bicycle is a great way to get around.

View another journey featuring Bodh Gaya, India photos.
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.


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57 Responses to “Angkor Wat Through the Lens”
  1. Lisa says:

    Great photos. What a beautiful place. I’d love to see that Angkor up close. I did see Tomb Raider and those trees and monuments are unforgettable.

  2. Ashley says:

    That looks like an outdoor museum. It’s fascinating how different religious can use the same structure despite the symbols of the previous faith. Really love the photographs too. Nice job with them.

  3. Jay says:

    Thanks for taking me here today. I love how everything looks like it has been there for thousands of years- something about that makes it more beautiful.

  4. jen laceda says:

    Oh, Angkor Wat! Never made it there as I got a stomach “bug” in Thailand and was perpetually keeled over the toilet for 5 days (sorry, way too much information?).

  5. jen laceda says:

    The photos are stunning!!!

  6. Beautiful photos! It is amazing to me how nature continues to overtake the things that we have built up. That picture of the tree roots is unbelievable!

  7. INCREDIBLE travel photos. WOW!! the colors are spectacular with the dark stone.

  8. Beth Whitman says:

    My favorite is the altar with the incense and the cloth that’s draped over the statue. Such reverence!

  9. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. It’s worth seeing up close especially the stone carvings.


    I love the history too. Lots of monks roam around the cmplex.


    No problem. You’re right, it has that aura of being there for so long on the grounds too.

    @jen laceda

    Wanderer that you are, I’m sure you’ll make it back there.

  10. Gennaro says:

    @Jen (Headed North)

    Thanks. The tree roots are, perhaps, the best part. Love seeing it.

    @Jessie Voigts

    Thanks a lot. It’s amazing the different shades of the stones yet they flow together perfectly.

    @Beth Whitman

    The use of yellow clothe was genious by whoever thought of it. Lots of people were praying there too in front of the statue.

  11. Steven says:

    Great photos. Angkor has a very mysterious looks to it as though it. Something extraordinary. Captured very well here.

  12. Ella says:

    Angkor Wat was my favorite place to visit in SE Asia. Spent three days wandering around and loved every minute of it. Your photos reveal it well.

  13. Gennaro says:


    Angkor does have that feel to it. There are plenty brilliant spots in the world, but this remains unique.


    Three days works. Depending on the individual and purpose of the trip 2-3 days is usually perfect.

  14. Hi Gennaro,

    Awesome pictures. I felt like I was there. I have spent a lot of time in Asia but not in Cambodia, now I want to go. 🙂

    BTW, I remember that scene from the movie “Tomb Raider” and I am happy to know it was the real deal and not some set.

  15. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. A few of the scenes were studio/digital, but the ones at Ta Prohm were filmed on location.

  16. Amazing images. I am sure i can find similar pictures on other blogs or web pages. But following your blog creates for me sort of guided tour. I like it 😉
    I also like your brief yet informative annotations.

  17. Gennaro says:


    Appreciate the kind words. Enjoying the consulting lessons from Practice This too.

  18. What beautiful shots! I think what I loved about Angkor was the sense of discovery once you leave the most heavily visited temple areas. With those tree roots engulfing the temples, you can almost imagine yourself exploring the area and “discovering” each Wat one by one.

  19. Love the photos and that yellow is amazing. I admit sometimes I relate with the wall under those roots

  20. Gennaro says:

    @Debbie Dubrow

    Thanks. It does feel like that. There are a few that few visit and you’re almost alone to discover the details of the structure.

    @Romancing Itay

    That clothe caught my eye immediately. Beautiful over the stone Buddha.

  21. Dominique says:

    I always love the little impromptu shrines/memorials like your draped statue. It’s fascinating to see how visitors honor memories in their own homemade and sincere ways.

  22. Gennaro says:


    So true. Each culture has their unique way of doing things. One of the reasons that I love to travel.

  23. iWalk says:

    Many people know Angkor Wat through Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider. But it already there for so long history.

    The bad thing is that movie makes Angkor Wat so crowded!

  24. Gennaro says:


    True that movies make sites a lot more crowded. If the tourism is done well though it can help a local economy and Cambodia can use the help. Good point though.

  25. Wow, Angkor Wat look amazing. Those old tree roots are very cool. I love taking my desk vacation on your website. And someday I hope to see some of them in person 🙂
    Thank You,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  26. Gennaro says:

    @Giovanna Garcia

    It’s worth seeing. The photos don’t even begin to capture it.

  27. roentarre says:

    The images here are superb indeed. I would love to travel to this country as well

  28. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. It’s a great place to visit.

  29. Kikolani says:

    Those are some wonderful photos… I can only imagine how amazing the experience is of walking through a temple.

    ~ Kristi

  30. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. It’s an awe-inspiring place.

  31. Trotter says:

    Hi Gennaro! Sorry for the absence! It has been hard to get some free time… 😉
    Great post as always. Angkor is on my dream list; one day I’ll make it and then I’ll take also the Road to Mandalay and have a great journey… 😉

    Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  32. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. It really is a great spot to visit. I only included a few shots. The complex is very spacious and diverse.

  33. Christopher says:

    You could spend days here. I can see myself going one day, thinking about my shots and then trying to get different shots at the same place the next day. Very cool.

  34. Gennaro says:


    Very true. So many angles to shoot. Not to mention, trying different times of the day. Sunrise and sunset are great at Angkor Wat too.

  35. Interesting post and journey into a mysterious and historic place. Our daughter has been there. I love the way the massive tree roots have “rooted” in the structures of the buildings!

  36. Gennaro says:

    @Lynda Lehmann

    Thanks. The roots are one of my favorite aspects of the temple. Especially for photography.

  37. Wow, what stunning photographs. Those tree roots are especially amazing! ~Arleen

  38. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. I with you on the roots. Adds a little mystery.

  39. Amazing post, as usual. You find the most interesting things to show us! Thanks!

  40. Stunning photos. So nice to be introduced to this area through the eyes of an artist.

  41. Gennaro says:


    Thanks, much appreciated.


    Thanks. One of my favorite spots to photograph.

  42. Christine says:

    These are absolutely beautiful photos! I’ve seen a program about this place on NatGeo or the History channel before. It’s truly an amazing place. For now, I’ll have to make do with photographs, but one day I would love to visit for myself!

  43. Gennaro says:


    Thanks. There are some great program on Angkor. I’ve seen a few too. Worth learning about and seeing.

  44. Just look at those roots! How wonderful! We just love old – and this is OLD! How facinating….thanks so much for sharing your photos!

  45. maiylah says:

    wow … beautiful shots!
    would love to visit someday …

  46. Gennaro says:

    @The Summer Kitchen Girls

    Love the ancient temples too. Lots of history.


    Recommended for a visit, for sure. Thanks.

  47. Bryan Karl says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the great travel spots and historical places in Southeast Asia. I don’t even think I could finish all the travel spots here in the Philippines. Angkor Wat is a great place. You’ve captured it well!

  48. Gennaro says:

    @Bryan Karl

    So much to see, so little time. This is a worthy one. Plenty in the Philippines too. Just the islands alone would take years to explore.

  49. Just returned to Bangkok from Angkor Wat and I am still in awe of some of the temples. Great photos!

  50. This is just one of the most awesome ancient cities..

  51. Laurie says:

    Stunning photos! I was at Angkor a few years ago and I loved the striking contrast between colors (like the oranges in the monks robes) and the gray’s of the temples. It’s an amazing place to photograph.

  52. Gennaro says:

    @Migration Mark – Thanks. Both great locations.

    @Rahmi – Agreed.

    @Laurie – Good point about the contrasting colors. Great for photography.


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