Angkorian Dress-Up in Cambodia

Six adults, dressed in traditional Cambodian costumes, stand near Angkor Wat.

The silken costumes with gold embellishments transform these Angkor Wat models into winged creatures, apsaras, and other mythological beings from Angkorian times. They position themselves in a prime location within Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat complex.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

6 thoughts on “Angkorian Dress-Up in Cambodia

    1. Victor, I’ve always found the sandstone apsaras adorning Angkor Wat to be so beautiful. That’s why it was fun to see them depicted by these Cambodian ladies. I thought that the bright costumes and gold crowns contrasted quite well with the dark grey walls of Angkor Wat. I’ll be sharing some of the black & white images of the apsaras shortly. It’s incredible how long the apsara friezes have survived!

      Did last weekend allow for you to do some snapping after all? :) Here in Vietnam, the weather is now lending itself to rainy day photography but I hope to take some snaps at the marketplace later.

    1. Ashley, it’s a pleasure to meet you – thanks for dropping by! Indeed, observing different cultural practices is such a beautiful experience. As we tiptoe through Southeast Asia, we’re struck not only by how cultures are so diverse across borders, but also how there’s incredible variety within one country.

      When we travelled through Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, we were lucky to see dancers in traditional costumes performing purely by chance (the Thai king’s birthday celebration, a flower festival in Vietnam, a children’s dance class in Bali). Dance is such a rich component of culture. Since we missed going to a traditional dance performance in Cambodia, we were happy to see these models donning these traditional costumes.

    1. Antoinette, thank you for your kind comment! These Cambodians were serving as models for travelers wishing to snap shots with them at Angkor Wat. So, for a few thousand riel, we too, snapped a souvenir image.

      The apsara dancers in Cambodia do wear costumes such as these, though. I would’ve loved to have seen such a dance performance in Cambodia. I’ve read that Thai dance actually evolved from traditional Khmer dance moves. When we were in Bali in November, we were really lucky to watch a children’s dance class. It was fun seeing how the kids were molded at such a young age into graceful dancers. Here’s a glimpse into the class:

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