Zhou Daguan

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Zhou Daguan (1266–1346 AD) was a Chinese diplomat under the Temür Khan, Emperor Chengzong of Yuan. He is most well known for his accounts of the customs of Cambodia and the Angkor temple complexes during his visit there. He arrived at Angkor in August 1296, and remained at the court of King Indravarman III until July 1297. He was neither the first nor the last Chinese representative to visit Kambuja. However, his stay is notable because he later wrote a detailed report on life in Angkor, Zhenla feng tu ji (真臘風土記) (The Customs of Cambodia in English translation). His portrayal is today one of the most important sources of understanding of historical Angkor and the Khmer Empire. Alongside descriptions of several great temples, such as the Bayon, the Baphuon, Angkor Wat, and others, the text also offers valuable information on the everyday life and the habits of the inhabitants of Angkor.

Diplomatic journey to Cambodia

On 20 February 1296, Zhou Daguan set sail from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, on a compass guided ship, passing the ports of Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Quanzhou (Zaitong) and Hainan, sailing past Taya Island, Annam, Qui Nhon, Baria, Poulo Condor, Can tien then heading north on the Mekong River reaching the town of Kampong Cham of Cambodia; from there he boarded a small boat, sailing for a dozen days, until reaching Tonle Sap Lake arriving at Angkor Thom, the capital of Cambodia in August.

Description of Angkor Thom

Zhou Daguan wrote that the city had...
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