One of my favored activities when I am in Siem Reap is strolling around and hanging out at Wat Damnak. Its a large pagoda complex with all the ‘trimmings:’ an active pagoda, orange-robed monks, a large reflecting pool and numerous stupas. The grounds are also home to an elementary school which with Cambodian kids always offers many opportunities for some nice photos and a lot of laughs when you show the kids the pictures you have taken.
Wat Damnak also houses something that few people are aware of – the Centre for Khmer Studies. This great article from the SiemReapPost.com does a wonderful job introducing us to this valuable resource. An excerpt:
In one corner of the compound is a burgundy and cream coloured building which is a drop in library. It’s well worth popping in to if you’re even remotely interested in Khmer history, including the history of Angkor. There is a fairly extensive library there which houses a host of books about the subject. You’re more than welcome to call in and browse through the collection – which includes many books in English and French as well as Khmer.
So if you find you have some time to spare, head over to Wat Damnak for a few moments. As the article ends: “It’s a nice place. Don’t go there expecting anything particular and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Allow lots of time to wander, meditate and enjoy.”