After an amazing start to our time in Siem Reap, there were still all the big ones to come. Here goes day two, and the mighty Angkor Wat.
Dragging ourselves out of bed at 4am was all the easier knowing what is was for, and with a makeshift packed breakfast from the shop around the corner, our tuk tuk driver took us back to Angkor for another day.
We might not have been lucky enough to see the sunrise through clear skies, but there was still something very magical about watching the enormous Angkor Wat illuminated through the clouds. Photographs do no justice to the enormity of the temple, and it took us a few hours to feel like we had seen as much as we could.
This was just the beginning of another amazing day in Angkor; finally seeing monkeys and watching them play around the temples, being intrigued (but slightly terrified) by the many faces on Bayon before wandering the labyrinth of tunnels below, getting completely lost searching for an elephant terrace, and exploring the Indiana Jones-esque Ta Prohm.
Exhausted, and definitely templed-out, we headed back to the hostel for a rest and some food before moving on to a new hotel for our final night in Siem Reap – Raffles Grand D’Angkor! More on this to follow!
Top tips for a visit?
- Purchase a good guidebook on the temples before your visit. Unless you want to pay for a guide to walk you around the temples, there’s very little in the way of information about what you’re actually exploring. After only one temple we realised that we desperately wanted to know more about what we were seeing and purchased one from a seller outside. Despite bartering him down, we found out later we were still ripped off. Obviously.
- Wearing comfortable shoes is a must, as even with a tuk tuk taking you from place to place there is a lot of exploring to be done.
- Be prepared for crowds. Sunrise at Angkor Wat isn’t the secret gem it used to be. A quieter route would be to explore Ta Prohm whilst everyone watches the sunrise, and head to Angkor Wat when the sunrise crowds have dispersed.
- Take as much water as you can, but bring cash also, as with the number of stairs to climb in the heat its essential to keep hydrated.
- Be ready for a LOT of badgering from sellers – here, there and everywhere. It seems that despite restrictions, they are waiting in places you least expect, which wasn’t something we anticipated to find so much around temples
- Have your camera fully charged – and keep lots of memory card space – this is one place you will NOT want to forget!
Perusing the Temples of Angkor is definitely something that everybody needs to have on their South East Asia itinerary. When you think you can’t be any more impressed, there’s always something around the corner to blow you away all over again, and this was undoubtedly one of my favourite experiences over the whole 4 weeks.
Lovely readers – have you any other suggestions you found helpful for your time at the Temples? Did you have a favourite one? And for those of you that haven’t been – is this something in your upcoming plans?!
With kindest regards,