Between the 10th and 12th centuries, the kings of the Khmer Empire built some very spectacular stuff in this part of Cambodia, which was originally called “Angkor.” Iconic Angkor Wat is the most dramatic jewel in the crown but Angkor is a 150 square mile park full of temples, each one a world treasure.
For the past few days, I have been in Siem Reap, home to Cambodia’s famous historic site, Angkor Wat. I haven’t visited Angkor Wat yet because I am waiting to enjoy it with friend Carol, who is arriving tonight from Ho Chi Minh City (yippee!!). In the meantime, I haven’t had a hard time entertaining myself.
We have been happy happy happy in Chiang Mai during the three days of Loi Krathong, Thailand’s festival of lights. Loi Krathong celebrates water spirits with thousands of candle-lit lanterns set off into the skies, candle lit boats of flowers sent down the river, parades, music and fire works.
Unlike the other countries I have visited and most Asian countries, Thailand has never been conquered, colonized or occupied. Thais proudly ascribe their historic independence to strong leaders, which is one reason they are pretty sensitive about the “The King and I”‘s portrayal of very popular King Mongkut, who resisted European colonization in the 19th century.