Bayon

Bayon

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Emma and Jeremy

Emma and Jeremy

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Naga, Angkor Wat

Naga, Angkor Wat

Lolei

Lolei

Mr. Mon's kids, Banteay Srei

Mr. Mon's kids, Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Apsaras

Apsaras

Cambodia

Angkor

April 2010 • Avoided most of the tourist crush by visiting during the hottest month of the year—when my shirt finally dried at the end of each day, there'd be white streaks across dark cotton from all the salt I'd lost. The Khmer people were way more durable when they quarried sandstone at a site 50 km away and transported it to Angkor using elephants, rafts, and a system of canals. They stacked the huge blocks into homes for the gods and carved the stone to intricate perfection. The town of Siem Reap has similarly mushroomed during the past couple of decades and now hosts 2 million tourists annually. They drag themselves through the boomtown ruins, usually during morning hours when the heat is less deadly, and afterward a surplus of luxury hotels, bistros, bars, and spas is available to sand down any residual discomforts. At what point, I wonder, will these new buildings become the stuff of package tours and bucket lists?

Bayon

Bayon

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Emma and Jeremy

Emma and Jeremy

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Naga, Angkor Wat

Naga, Angkor Wat

Lolei

Lolei

Mr. Mon's kids, Banteay Srei

Mr. Mon's kids, Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Apsaras

Banteay Srei