Nothing really prepares you for the magnitude of the Angkor circuit. You could spend days (weeks for some!) walking around the entire circuit, exploring every single temple and uncovering the history and heritage of this architectural masterpiece.
We arrived in Siem Reap and the next morning rose well ahead of the crack of dawn (3:30 am to be exact), were picked up from our hotel an hour later and taken straight to the Angkor ticket office. Tickets in hand, we were taken to the entrance of the main temple complex, Angkor Wat. A short walk later, we and a few hundred others stood packed like sardines at the edge of the lake patiently waiting in pitch black darkness (and freezing temperatures!) for the sun to rise and the epic temple to materialise in front of our eyes.
After what felt like a lifetime and frozen to the bone, the temple appeared.
Dipped in warm rose gold sunshine and laced with blush pink lilies.
Angkor Wat fully roused from slumber, it was time to head inside and explore the magnificent temple grounds. Angkor Wat is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. It was originally built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple of god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire and eventually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
We climbed up the main tower to find an incredible maze of pillars, courtyards, stunning wall carvings and a breathtaking view of the entire temple grounds.
SHOP THE POST
Although bursting with tourists, there was something so serene and peaceful.
There is just so much to explore, it would literally take days to uncover every bit of each temple! Luckily, you can choose how much time you want to spend here by getting either a single day ticket, a three day ticket or a seven day ticket.
We were pretty tired from such an early morning start, so we headed back to our hotel for a bit of a rest and a hearty breakfast and headed to the next temple on our list, Ta Prohm, most famous for being featured in Tomb Raider.
While Angkor Wat is all about majestic structures, Ta Prohm features colossal trees with roots growing through the temples. Eerie and beautiful at the same time.
The last stop on our tour of the Angkor temples was Angor Thom, located inside the Bayon temple and most well known for the faces carved into each tower.
There are many interpretations of what the faces represent; the king himself, guardians of the empire’s cardinal points or a combination of these.
As the sun began to fall back into slumber, we decided to head back to Angkor Wat for a view of the temple at sunset.
Basking in the glow of the setting sun, the temples of Angkor are the most prominent symbol of Cambodia today and the country’s pride and joy. There is so much history and culture here that you just need to step back for a moment to take it all in! It was definitely one of the highlights of my time in this beautiful country.
I will sadly be coming to the end of my Cambodia adventures in my next post.
Follow me via email (link in the sidebar on the right) or Bloglovin for more adventures.