Angkor Wat day! Angkor whaaaaat? Time for more temples! Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and today we get to explore it!! I’ll start right now and say prepare to be amazed by the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen. Angkor Wat is a HUGE temple built back in the 13-14th or so century. It has a huge moat surrounding it. Within the Angkor Wat archeological park there are many temples and we are going to see the most popular ones today. Angkor Wat is the largest. It only took 35 years to build the entire temple, the moat surrounding it and also all of the carvings into the walls of the temple. It’s magnificent and if you ever have the chance GO!!
We woke up at 3:45am and were picked up by our tour guide. By 4:30 We were on the road to Angkor Wat with our tour guide Sam, an Italian couple and a nice teacher from Montreal who said she was currently living in Vietnam.
Our first stop was the ticket office. We later found out that this is the same place that the battlefields used to be during the war. We purchased our 1 day passes for $37 US and started off in the dark towards Angkor Wat.
We set off and entered through the east gate I believe and walked a ways before reaching the back side of Angkor Wat.
As you can see we were not the only people looking to see the sunrise this morning. We walked through the crowd and found a spot to stand. It wasn’t hard to see as it was so big, it was just hard to get a good picture without people’s heads in the shot. There were people everywhere! I did manage to get some good pics though. I hope you enjoy them 🙂
For sure this was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Even with all of the pushy people. Between the excitement, the magnificent size of the temple, the reflection in the pond, and the beautiful weather we had… just WOW. I can’t even put it into words.
After the sunrise we met back up with our group and headed into the temple. We explored the gallery rooms and the five towers. The amount of work that was put into this is just insane. Look at the carvings in the walls and all of the sandstone. Every block of sandstone was brought from 53 miles away.
Next we waited in line about half an hour to 45 minutes so that we could climb up to the third level of Angkor Wat. It was hot!! We were already drenched in sweat and then we had to stand there and wait. It was super steep! Literally straight up. Our group considered skipping this part but I’m so glad that we didn’t! Here’s our trip to the top.
What an accomplishment!! Especially in the heat! And in a skirt! Oh side note… to go up to the third level like we did, you have to have your shoulders and knees covered. If I could have I would have been wearing shorts and a tank top. So I wore a long maxi skirt and a t-shirt. A lot of people wear these loose backpacker elephant pants that are sold everywhere. Some girls had scarves to tie on their shoulders over their tanktop to go in and they wouldn’t even allow that! Good thing I didn’t try that!
After we rested and cooled down for a bit, we finished exploring Angkor Wat and then went for breakfast.
After breakfast, we moved on to temple number 2… Angkor Thom. The detail in this is crazy. The king put his head on everything! The main gate is 4 of his head. The left side of heads represents evil and the right side represent good.
So that one was neat! Next stop was Bayon Temple. This one has 54 towers and each tower has 4 faces on it! They call it the smiley face temple. What wasn’t so smiley was when our tour guide Sam chatted with us at the entrance here about him growing up in Cambodia. He went on for a good half an hour about growing up during the war when the Khmer Rouge were walking around with machine guns. He remembers bombs going off and he went to primary school and didn’t learn, but instead cleaned blood off the walls and gathered bones as the schools were what they used to torture and kill people in. His parents survived the genocide and the starvation and he spoke of how things have changed in the past 20 years. Even now, though, there are still 2 million landmines present in Cambodia. That’s better than the 7 million before, but still so many. It’s crazy to know that 20-30 years ago they were just starting to have freedom and a decent life. We are so priveledged on our side of the world. It was a very eyeopening conversation and we were very happy that Sam shared that with us.
Ok moving on. Bayon Temple…
So that was a lot of faces! The king must have been very full of himself! We continued on to the next temple.
So the last temple we visited was Ta Prohm…. the Tomb Raider temple! This one was my favourite. As soon as you step into this one you feel like you are in the jungle. Trees have grown up through the stone and have broken some parts. The trees are incredibly huge. So enjoy the many pictures of big trees 😊.
How cool was that!!! I loved the look of the trees coming out of the temple. We saw some monkeys on the side of the road on the drive back to the hotel, but I couldn’t get a photo of them. We were back at 12:30pm and we had already put in a full 8 hour day!!!
The first thing we did was jump in the pool! I tanned a bit while dad snoozed and then we ordered food that was brought to our room. It was probably the best meal we have had so far! The fried rice was wrapped in egg and it was so yummy.
We lounged around the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. I had booked a massage but I didn’t end up going because our laundry wasn’t finished yet and I had no clothes to wear. When our laundry did come back, we had a bunch of other people’s laundry in the bags… hopefully no one else has ours. I think we will go back to Pub Street tonight and there’s a brewery Dad wants to check out. Tomorrow we will have a lazy day here, maybe check out the war museum, get massages, eat more yummy hotel food and then we fly to Bangkok to catch an overnight train to Chiang Mai. Air Asia emailed me that our flight changed to a later time so cross your fingers that we make it to the train in time!! We are cutting it really close.
Hope you enjoyed exploring Angkor Wat with us !! By the way I love reading all of your nice comments 🙂 It makes taking time out of each busy day worth it. I write when I can during car and plane rides! It will be so nice to look back on this one day to remember our trip.
Watch the beautiful sunset and experience the temples with us! Watch my Youtube video here!