Angkor Wat

angkor wat, siem reap, cambodia,

Week 82

Day 574

Koh Tao

10.1000° N, 99.8381° E

Angkor Wat is a magnificent work of architecture, a gateway to the past, and the equivalent of a rock concert all rolled into 1 day.  Located in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat definitely brings in people from all over the world.

As we felt visiting Machu Picchu, the ruins themselves are amazing, but the experience is slightly ruined by the mass  of people visiting with you.  Caracol in Belize so far remains our favorite ancient site.

We chose to do a 1 day pass justifying that if we wanted to do a second day it would cost the same as the 3 day pass.  (1 day $20, 3 days within 7 days $40, 7 days within a month $60).

A little trick is to enter right at 5pm and buy your ticket for tomorrow.  They’ll let you in for sunset then you have the whole next day.

We chose to have our hotel (cashew nut) arrange us a Tuk Tuk driver and we were very happy with this decision.  Our driver was very professional and nice.  We probably could have gotten a better deal walking from driver to driver, but Siem Reap’s March heat wave had us opting for the easy option.

Traveler’s Tip: If you do choose to do the work yourself make sure to know everything you’re getting.  If you don’t agree ahead of time some Tuk Tuk drivers will increase the cost throughout the trip.  The last thing you want is to realize that “cheap” price you negotiated only got you one way!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Even Monks take selfies!

The first day after buying our tickets, Tol, our Tuk Tuk driver took us to Phnom Bakheng for sunset.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that particular area.  You are at a temple, but it is crammed packed with tourists.  It did have a decent view of the sunset, but given that everyone and their monk is there I would have preferred to spend the cooler hours at another temple.

Traveler’s Tip:  Make sure you don’t wear a tank top. SE Asia seems to be greatly offended by arm pits. Our Tuk Tuk driver told me I would be fine in a tank top, but right as we were getting ready to run up the hill to catch the sunset the guards stopped me and told me I’d have to cover up. Luckily there were more than enough street vendors selling over priced shirts. Phnom Bakheng and The Terrace of the Elephants were the only 2 temples were I wasn’t allowed to wear a tank top.  It did seem a little like a local scam to get me to spend money, but I would bring a cover up just to be safe…and respectful.

Angkor Wat

So many tourists!

Angkor Wat

My SE Asian bracelet collection

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
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Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Angkor WatDay 2 we did the short loop, which begins at Anchor Wat before sunrise.  While we were here the sun rose beautifully over the temple at 7:05.  Most people wait from 5am on, elbowing each other and wasting the only hours of the day you may find yourself among the huge ruins alone.  We too stood in the crowd way to long, but gave up around 6:15 when there was enough light to see.  Those quiet, cool moments in the morning were the best ones we had all day.
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
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Angkor Wat
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Angkor Wat
Heading back to the lake in front of the temple at 7, we had plenty of time to walk up and get an MANY amazing sunrise pics.
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
From there we continued to the city of Anchor Thom to visit Bayon, the terrace of the elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King.  The sun was beginning to climb so walking around was getting pretty brutal.  We took some time to sit in the shade and take things in around the Terrace of the Leper King as there weren’t as many tourists there.  We loved the 3 trees that were growing out of the temple ruins which was just prepping  us for our last stop of the day, Ta Phrom.
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
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Angkor Wat
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Angkor Wat
Ta Phrom AKA the Tomb Raider Temple was definitely our favorite, but we wish we had gone there right after Angkor Wat as it was already pretty crowded when we arrived there at 10. For the most part this temple has been left as found, which means trees and roots are growing out from the remains of temple walls. Excavators have done some work to repair a few walls so you get an idea of what the temple once looked like, but otherwise you do feel a little like Laura Croft as you make your way through this jungle temple. (When you aren’t surrounded by other tourists of course 😉 )

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Tired of walking around people, soaked with sweat, and pretty tired from all the walking (I walked 20,000+ steps in the temples!) we headed back to our hotel before 12.

We both loved the cooler hours of the morning and would have loved to go back and enjoy more mornings, but at $20 a day per person + the cost of the Tuk Tuk driver we decided to spend the rest of our days doing yoga and soaking up sun by the Infinite pools of Navutu Dreams.  (More on that later!)

Which Temple was your favorite?

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Comments 3

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