Bayon Temple: The Temple of Faces

The Bayon Temple is my most favorite temple besides Angkor Wat in the Angkor Archeological Park even though each temple has a special something. It is one of the most enigmatic and ambiguously strong religious constructions. Today, the temple is best known for the gigantic stone face sculptures.

Bayon Temple

with my sister in Bayon Temple

This was taken during my first visit in Angkor Thom in October 2010.

The Bayon Temple is located at the centre of Angkor Thom. It was built during the late 12th century and early 13th century, about 100 years after they built Angkor Wat, during the reign of the famous King Jayavarman VII. It is considered as the second most important temple in Cambodia after Angkor Wat because it is a Buddhist temple consecrated to the Buddhist cult.

Bayon Temple

My sister in Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

As part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, Bayon Temple has been famous for its amazing collection of Buddha large, serene, smiling stone faces found on each towers. I have learned that there are about 54 towers which represent the Khmer provinces in the Great Khmer Empire period. I have also learned that there are about 200 faces which symbolize different Buddha smiling faces such as beautiful smile, glad smile, sad smile and charming smile. And, these different stone faces in the walls surely amaze each tourist.

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Visiting Bayon Temple with my sister

Bayon Temple

When we visited the Bayon Temple, I could feel the splendor and the magic from the people living during those ancient times who were able to construct all these amazing temples in the Angkor Kingdom. I loved the many smiling Buddhas in this temple. It was so peaceful and quiet. We climbed to the top of the tier of the Bayon Temple and we found great views of the tree canopy and some bird spotting. We captured a lot of beautiful pictures in there. We saw some workers who were restoring this beautiful architecture.

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

I would say that this place is an exceptional architectural heritage. The details that went into carving the faces from stones are spectacular. It was a unique experience and a pleasure to photograph. To me, the architecture plan is one of the greatest in the world.

It was my sister’s first time visit in Angkor Thom

Bayon Temple

Have you found the most smiling face?

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Amazing Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Angkor Wat was the first temple that we visited together. It is really incredibly stunning. The temple`s size and architecture is very impressive and mind blowing. When we entered the Angkor Wat we had a mixture of feelings. It was a mixture of peace, spirituality, vastness and awe. How they built this temple in those days without any electric machinery or even iron tools really beats me. To me, it is truly amazing.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Taken from the top level of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is one of the most magnificent sights in Asia. It is very well preserved and it is considered to be the largest religious monument in the world. It is the most famous tourist destinations in Cambodia which receives around two millions of visitors each year. Today, Angkor Wat is a national pride and the symbol of Cambodia. It also became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, which means “City of the Temple”, is one of the most magnificent examples of what early 12th century Cambodian architects could do. During those times, the Khmer kings believed that the gods would bestow great blessings on them and their kingdom if they build temples in honor to their gods. The kings also thought that the bigger the temple, the bigger the blessings they would. So, each generation of king surpassed his predecessor by building a bigger temple.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

It was King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire who built the Angkor Wat at the high of classical Khmer architecture. Initially, he dedicated Angkor Wat to a supreme Hindu god, Vishnu. But the 14th century leaders switched from Hinduism to Buddhism because they thought that Hinduism was not working for them and Angkor Wat was converted then into a Buddhist shrine.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

My sister at the top level of the Angkor Wat

Most tourists thought that Angkor Wat is the name of the entire complex. Well, no! It is actually the main temple in the Angkor complex.

Have you been to Angkor Wat? What did you like best there?

 

Philippines: Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao del Sur – A Gem in the Jungle

Another natural wonder in the province of Surigao del Sur is the majestic white Tinuy-an Waterfalls. It is considered as the “Niagara Falls” of the Philippines since it is 95 meters wide and 55 meters high. It is located in Mindanao Island where it nestles in the middle of the chunky jungle of Barangay Burboanan, Bislig City.

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Tinuy-an Falls

Papa first time to use a camera and he took this photo when they went to the falls.

From a distance of 30 meters, my family and I marveled at this heavenly wonder of nature. It looks like a white curtain of water flowing from up above. When we looked up the falls it was just simply hair-raising. The cascades glimmered spectacularly under the sun as the lucent clear drops of water were carried by the breeze. The uninterrupted, bubbling and roaring splashing waters create a steady pattern of ceaseless rhythm. It was just like a wall trying to block out the sounds of the world and behind the waterfall it roared louder and louder. And when the waters crashed on the rocks, it was just like the heartbeat of the world. It was awesomely photogenic!

Tinuy-an Falls

 

Tinuy-an Falls

It was my second time to visit the Tinuy an Falls, but it was my first time at the breathtaking falls with my family. My family and I were so impressed by the magnificent sight of Tinuy an Falls. Indeed, we had a cracking time there since the weather was fabulous.

Tinuy-an Falls

Tinuy-an Falls

We went there by private car. It was quite a long drive on a rough road through rustic scenery of tall old trees. We also saw some coconut farms in the mountains and lowlands of the province when we were on our way. We passed a road close by the sea and the cool waves seemed to entice us on a hot sunny day. When we arrived the place, we were welcomed by the charming staff of the resort. It was wonderful!

Tinuy-an Falls

Tinuy-an Falls

When we arrived there, we couldn’t stop ourselves from getting closer to the falls. So, we rented a bamboo raft to get under the waterfalls. It was so awesome to feel the cold mist of the falls while we were getting closer to it. Getting in the water from the raft was just superb. When we were under the falls, we experienced the impact of the waterfall falling 55 meters and gave us the one of a once in a lifetime waterfall back massage. It was fantastic! We all jumped in the water for a while. My son and my nephew were so happily brave that they could stay under the very cold waterfall for a few hours. Even when they looked gray and their body were shaking because the water was so cold, they didn’t want to go back to the shore. In fact, they were also very keen on jumping into the water.  At the same time, while we were enjoying swimming, my mum and dad climbed up approximately 100 steps uphill to see the beautiful view from the top of the waterfalls, and they took awesome pictures of the waterfalls.

That’s us on the raft 🙂

Awesome

I’m very sure, I will feel the same excitement again if I visit this place once more.

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • The entrance fee is Php 50.00 per person, but children below 7 years old can get in for free.
  • There are available cottages if you wish to have some picnic. The rent ranges from Php300 to Php 500.
  • The rent of the bamboo raft is Php 100.00 regardless of how many people are aboard.
  • There are available life vests for Php 30.00.
  • If you wish to stay night over, there are available air-conditioned rooms for Php 600.00
  • They have underwater camera for rent for Php 300.00.
  • There’s no restaurant inside the vicinity so be sure to bring your own food. However, there’s a small shop inside the resort which sometimes offer some native food and delicacies. They also offer some drinks.
  • It can be reached both by public and private vehicles. If you are travelling by public buses such as Bachelor Express, you take Davao-Bislig Route if you are from Davao City or Butuan-Bislig Route if you are from Butuan City. Then, you can hire a private vehicle or “habal-habal” at the Bislig terminal to go to the Tinuy-an Falls. It is about 8 hours from Davao City and 6 hours from Butuan City.

 

Philippines: The Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur

The Enchanted River is a must-see destination, a mystical wonder of beauty. It is one of the major tourist spots in the province of Surigao del Sur. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the Philippines. This truly magnificent Enchanted River is a very short salt water river which flows into the ocean on the island of Mindanao more precisely in Barangay Talisay, of the municipality of Hinatuan.

Enchanted River

The Enchanted River is very tidy, so refreshing and ultimately crystal: a clear combination of different shades of blue and green which gives an astonishing eye popping color. It is so vibrant that looks photoshopped, but it is real. It was more heart-stopping and breathtaking when I saw it with my two naked eyes. This 50 feet deep river flows magically even without a source meandering like a snake in the grass. And, what makes it more enchanting is it has an impressive school of fish which are fed daily by the resort staff.

Enchanted River

We spent our weekend with my family in the river of enchantment which flows from a very deep pool approximately 50 feet deep or more. I loved it! We brought our own food such as lechon  paksiw, grilled fish, beef afritada, pancit, pork adobo, papaya pickles, rice, chocolate cake for our dessert and drinks such as red horse beer, rhum and Coca Cola. We had a great lunch by the river.

Enchanted River

Even though the travel to the Enchanted River was quite long on an unpaved bumpy road, when I saw the place I was stunned by the mysterious mesmerizing charm of the Enchanted River. As soon as we got off the car, my son Beboy and my nephew Euanne ran immediately to the amazingly enthralling Enchanted River and couldn’t wait to jump into the crystal turquoise blue water of the river. But, they were disappointed and really unhappy because my mum didn’t allow them to swim.

Enchanted River

Remarkably, at 12 noon, we heard a cheerful melodious bell ring which meant all visitors should stay out of the water because the staff was going to feed the flashing silver-scaled fish in the river. At the same time this signals the people to gather, especially those who wish to witness the feeding. The staff from the resort then played the soft recorded music to gather the dazzling fish in one particular area in the river and began feeding them enthusiastically by shrimps, fish, bread, etc.

Feeding time

We enjoyed swimming in the beautifully awe-inspiring cold river because the water made us relaxed. Indeed, I conquered my fears of deep waters and I loved swimming in a place as magical as this. Undeniably, my experience in the Enchanted River with my family was surreal and it was another memorable family weekend we had.

Enchanted River

How to get there:

If you wish to visit the enchanting Enchanted River, it can be reached by private vehicles, vans, public buses such as Bachelor Express either from Davao City or Butuan City. If you wish to take Bachelor Express, you take Davao-Bislig Route if you are from Davao City and Butuan-Bislig Route if you are from Butuan City. It is about 6 hours from Davao City and 4 hours from Butuan City.

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • There are available picnic cottages, life vests, and goggles for rent.
  • There’s also a boat for rent per hour for 5 people in a boat.
  • The place will close at 5 PM because many locals think that it is enchanted by spirits.
  • Be prepared for the huge crowd especially during the weekends since it is popular to tourists now.
  • The management implements a strict segregation of wastes. In other words, you cannot throw your garbage anywhere especially plastics.