Siem Reap – Angkor
We woke up early at 4.30am to see the sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple. We had hired a tuk tuk for the entire day to show us around the temple complex.
Seeing the sunrise at the temple was definitely worth waking up so early. The view of the silhouette of the temple against the backdrop of the rising sun was simply breath taking.
After clicking some pictures, we took a guide to show us around the temple. The Angkor Wat depicts heaven on earth, with its highest peak symbolising Mt. Meru, the mythical Mountain in the Hindu Mythology. The Angkor Wat is a UNESCO world heritage site and its images are all over buildings in Siem Reap, including on Cambodia’s map and on beer bottles. It is also the largest temple building in the world! Its sheer size and beauty is mesmerizing.
Other than a visit to Angkor Wat, we had booked tickets for zipline adventure, in the jungles near the temples, called Flight of the Gibbons. Ziplining (almost 30 m high) was a new experience for me.
The zipline company gave us complimentary lunch and served us traditional Khmer cuisine. We realized how yummy the tropical fruits were in Cambodia and made sure we had coconuts everyday during our stay here.
After all these activities, we realised that the time was just little beyond noon, since we had had an early start to the day. We decided to strech ourselves and go visit the other famous temples of Angkor, namely the Ta Prohm temple (made famous by the movie Tomb Raider, which was shot in this temple) and the Bayon temple. Ta Prohm is the temple where centuries of abandonment saw the roots of large trees growing over the temple structure and the huge roots are seen hugging the temple ruins. It is an incredible sight to see how nature has reclaimed from man what man had encroached upon in the first place.
The Bayon temple was a sight to behold. It is famous for huge faces of deities carved in stone. Apparently these faces were of the earlier Khmer rulers, who were depicted as Gods.
It was a long and tiring visit to the temples, and we went back to our hotel by 3pm. We crashed to wake up only by 8pm.
We decided to treat ourselves with good food in the evening at a fine dining restaurant. The food was simply wow and I thought to myself how each food experience that I had in this trip was setting the bar higher.
We went to the pub street after that and drank the night away till 3am. The atmosphere in pub street is colourful and lively with loads of happy tourists dancing around on the street to the latest party music. The street was a huge open-air dance floor!
Visit to the Angkor Temples
Fresh spring rolls
Some things/places in life are worth a revisit. Angkor Wat is one such place and next time I’m bringing my wife (who shares my enthusiasm and interest in history) along.
Next up: Siem Reap, Cambodia – Day 3
More Pictures –