Back in April, I had the chance to visit the Angkor Temple Complex just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Without a doubt, the temples surrounding the town are some of the most majestic sites I’ve ever seen, and, despite the large crowds, a visit is highly recommended.
On the first days of my visit, I headed with my driver and guide to the temple of Angkor Thom. This temple is famous because of the many faces that dot the temple’s imposing towers. While at the temple, I had the opportunity to observe a group of Cambodian monks exploring the temple complex. Seeing monks at the temple isn’t a rarity as they frequently visit the temple complex; however, there was one monk standing close to me that really stood out.
With a camera in one hand and his English language Lonely Planet “Cambodia” guidebook in the other, he defied the preconceived notions that I had of southeast Asian monks. Not only was he obviously well educated, but he cared enough about his cultural heritage to bring his camera to capture the moment.
It was just one of the many stereotypes that I had prior to travel that were obliterated by my experiences.