Some rather beautiful photos from Alessandro Vannucci. He runs photo-tours around Angkor and Siem Reap, which look well worth the taking – go to his website to see more of his work (look under the tabs “workshops and travel photography” and “portfolio”).
The tattoos are a mix of magical and simply decorative – generally speaking, magical ones are more schematic, look more like diagrams. The purpose is always either to protect the bearer from harm, or to attract girls. Monks are not supposed to have tattoos, but they do, it’s a sure sign that they’ve led an interesting life. possibly including time as a soldier or maybe a gangster.