Angkor Wat Adventure
A photo essay about our adventure in one of the most important historical sites in the world.
Angkor has been my home for several months. Before I decided to move over, just like many others, I also had this strong desire to see Angkor Wat. I told myself before that my Southeast Asia adventure would never be complete without seeing one of the most important historical sites in the world. I even told myself that I would already be happy to see its ancient beauty even only once – but guess what? I have already been to the temples more than 5 times! It is indeed a privilege to set foot on the grounds of Angkor but to set foot onto its grounds for more than 5 times is really a great privilege. When I first visited Angkor back in 2015, my body was in goosebumps. And even after many times of visiting the temples, I’m still just as blown away and in awe as I was back in 2015.
So why have I been to the temples many times?
- Firstly, I have already based myself here in Siem Reap, so there’s no reason not to visit the Angkorian temples (though I frequently move out and make short trips abroad).
- Secondly, some are sponsored trips such as the Nature Discovery Walk Tour I had a few weeks back and some sorts of Angkor-themed activities.
- Lastly, I just like taking friends to Angkor as I feel compelled to share my knowledge with them about one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.
You may want to check >> 10 Interesting Facts About The Angkor Wat Complex
I have already visited the temples of Angkor by car, tuk tuk, by bike and just recently by motorbike. Yes, you read that right. So if ever you are heading to Angkor, you can ask me about these options. On the other hand, it will be difficult for me to tell you which one is the best option as everyone has their own preferences. If there is only one thing I can advise, it is impossible to explore the temples of Angkor on foot.
Just recently, I took a friend from Germany on tour around Angkor. We decided to go there by motorbike as he was able to get himself a motorbike in Siem Reap which he would be using to explore around Cambodia and then drive it through Vietnam. To be truly honest, I felt the guilt when I had this trip as my mother once told me that she already allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do and go where ever I wished to go to, but just never ride on a motorcycle – If you get to read this, sorry mom. I can’t promise that I won’t ride again but I will always be extra careful.
Sunrise over Angkor Wat is one of the must-do things when visiting the Archaeological Park. Not only will you feel surprised, but you will also feel magical as you witness the transition of the dark night into a brand new day. Why should you visit Angkor? Angkor Wat Complex is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia and it has been preserved as much as possible without compromising its authenticity. Angkor Archaeological Park is nestled over 400 square kilometers and exemplifies two basic themes in Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later “galleried temple”, in a representation of Mount Meru, the home of the Gods.
Driving along with the tour buses, vans, trucks and motorcycles was a bit stressful start to our 5.5 km journey from the Old Market area of Siem Reap, however, we soon reached the long, smooth open road that led us to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples of Angkor.
The usual scenario at Angkor Wat everyday. Thousands of tourists flock right in front of the world’s largest religious site to witness as the sun rises over Angkor’s five iconic towers. They say the best spot is in front of the moats as you can get to capture the reflection which can be seen in many post cards.
I asked Elias to strike a pose right in front of the temple as there were not many tourists at that time. One of the best shots I have taken, I think. Need some inspiration? You may want to check >> A Glimpse of Angkor: 20 Photos That Will Make You Visit Cambodia.
There are some rules every visitor has to follow before you will be allowed to climb up the towers of Angkor. Everyone is expected to dress appropriately; otherwise, you will miss the chance to make it up there. Read Angkor Visitor Code of Conduct here >>
Some interesting, fine carvings you can come across at the Bayon Temple. The fact that these carvings have survived from centuries ago is really insane. Bayon is my favourite temple of all as I always get fascinated by many faces all over this temple. The 54 faces carved into the rocks are absolutely jaw-dropping, and they say that this temple was built to honor King Jayavarman VII.
Ta Prohm Temple a.k.a Angelina Jolie temple. Ta Prohm temple features massive trees (as in incredibly massive trees) that have grown over the ruins – a clear favorite among tourists. Feel like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft? This temple can be for you!
One quick advice, never forget to bring some water with you as you will really need it. You need to hydrate yourself as the heat gets intolerable at noon, you will definitely sweat out! You can buy some as you get to the temples; however, the prices tend to be higher, yes, such a rip-off unless you are not on a budget travel.
Entering the gates of Angkor Thom is like entering a new world. You will really feel that you are driving through the old Angkorian civilization – yes, it is really like stepping/driving back in time.
One of the little discoveries I learned from the Nature Discovery Walk I had with Stephane de Greef, Angkor’s best naturalist. This is one of the last remaining Buddha statues all over the complex. Why? This temple was converted from Buddhist to Hindu temple. During that time, all the Buddha statues were all taken out. So why is there one more remaining? It’s because they believed that it would cause them bad luck once they had it removed. Well, I don’t know if I have to reveal where it is or just keep it a secret. Send me a line and I will tell you. Otherwise, visit me in Angkor and I’ll be happy to take you there.
The meals we had just right after wandering around the temples. Each meal cost us US$1.50 and it was really reasonable. Omelet plus French banguet for the win. Heading to Cambodia but don’t know what food to try? Read my guide to Cambodian food >> Filtraveler’s Guide: Cambodian Food
Have I already mentioned that Cambodian noodles are to die for? They are not only cheap (US$1.00 per meal) but they are also delicious. In fact, we never ended a day without devouring at least a meal! While they can also be ordered at several restaurants around the Old Market Area, we advise that you buy from local vendors as it is a good way to help them out.
Pub Street: Siem Reap, Cambodia. Of course our day would not be complete without drinking some beer. Introducing US$.50 Angkor Beer! Yes, beer here in Angkor can be so cheap that you will be tempted to spend even your last dollar. Cheers!
Our discussion about how powerful German passport is and how less powerful Philippine passport is. German citizens possess the most powerful passport as it allows them to travel to 177 countries, visa-free as of 2016. The Filipino citizens meanwhile can travel to 61 countries, visa-free. Well, it was a night full of learning as we got to share many things about our travel stories, cultures and all . You may want to read >> Why You Should Travel
I intended to write a blog post about our Angkor Wat adventure as one of the main reasons why I decided to put all my travel stories on record is for me to have something to look back on.
Filtraveler | Adventure Travel Blog
March 29th to April 3, 2016 | Siem Reap, Cambodia
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