Angkor What?!?

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Angkor Wat @ sunrise

At 4:30 A.M., I was already wide awake, all dressed up and ready for my Angkor Wat exploration; then came the knock from my door, telling me that my tuk tuk driver had arrived.


So there I was, on our way to one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, all alone with my tuk tuk driver.  Yeah, I was scared.  What have I gotten myself into?!  It was still dark and I’m all by myself, anything can happen.  The morning chill added to my apprehensions.


The sight of the entrance was a great relief.


Paid USD20 and the staff gave me a day’s pass with my picture on it.

Angkor Wat @ sunrise
  I have been told that it would take days -- minimum of 3 days -- to see all the temples but since I am pressed for time, I only got the 1-day pass and decided to see just the main temples.  Besides I only wanted to see the Angkor Wat, Bayon and of course, the huge trees made famous by Lara Croft’s shenanigans.  Honestly, I only knew of the Angkor ruins after watching the movie Tomb Raider and since then I wanted to see it and have my own Lara Croft moment. 


I headed straight for the most impressive of all temples -- the Angkor Wat -- to catch the famous sunrise.  When I got there, hundreds of tourists had already crowded.  This did not stop me from appreciating this remarkable temple.  It's just breathtaking, up close and from afar.  I looked for a spot where I could sit down, sip my coffee and wait for the sunrise.  Then as the sun rose slowly, I began clicking.

@ Angkor Wat
  However, it was disappointing.  The sunrise was supposed to be spectacular, as what I’ve seen in the photos and what I’ve read in the blogs.  I was expecting a golden light, highlighting the towers of the temple, but what I witnessed was a flat color.  I found the spectacle a bit disappointing.  I guess it was not only me who got upset as I heard someone commented “That was it?”  Yeah, that was it.  I got up too early just for a disappointing sunrise.  Maybe because it was a bit cloudy too; I don’t know.

 

Moving on, I went inside the Angkor Wat and was stunned by the fine carvings of Apsaras and other Hindu myth scenes.  Going inside made me appreciate the magnificence of the temple.  At this time, I was going crazy with my camera, trying the capture that 'Kodak' moment.  After spending USD5 for incense sticks in exchange of the staff taking my pictures, I left the temple.

@ South Gate

 

It was already 8 A.M. when I left Angkor Wat so I grabbed some sandwich along the way before proceeding to Angkor Thom, with a quick camwhoring at the impressive South Gate entrance and its row of soldiers.

 

From a distance, I saw some pile of stones, but as we were nearing the temple, the famous huge smiling faces started to appear and I was so excited as we’re near the Bayon.  At last, I would be seeing it up close.  I got off the tuk tuk, after agreeing with the driver where to meet, and entered this complex of face towers.

a glimpse
  The peaceful and serene expression of the Bayon faces was simply a fascinating and awe-inspiring architecture.  And it was like addicting as examining the towers made me smile too.  Words can never do justice to the whole experience.  Just like what they say, seeing is believing.

 

Moving to the next temple, the Baphoun, I was flocked by kids selling all sorts of souvenirs, thus, the serenity that I felt after seeing the Bayon faces was gone.

 

The Baphoun is another huge temple-mountain.  I did not spend much time there since most of the area is not open to the public as it is undergoing extensive restoration, and there was this local guy who approached me and began telling me sorts of facts about the temple.  I knew that this was again another scam so I decided to leave.  I’m not going to spend another dollar for some trivia that I was already reading at a guide book that I had with me.

feeling Angelina
  Because of wanting to leave the guy ASAP, I forgot to see the large reclining Buddha at the back of the temple.  Sigh.


Next to the Baphoun is the Phimeanakas that looked like a pyramid, which I did not find interesting and again, there was an ongoing restoration going on, so I proceeded to the Terrace of the Elephants, which is a long stretch (that looked like forever) of carvings.  The end of it is the Terrace of the Leper King with its demon-like carvings.


I skipped the other small temples within the Angkor Thom and decided to hop in on my tuk tuk.


Next to the Angkor Thom is the Ta Keo.  I just spent a brief visit to the temple as it lacked carvings, and so, it was not really worth the climb up.

@ Banteay Srey


Next stop, the Tomb Raider locations, Ta Prohm -- the top of my list.  They say that it remains in the same condition as when it was found.  And they succeeded because there was still a jungle atmosphere in it as the trees swallowed the temple.  It was like Tomb Raider meets Indiana Jones.  It was actually scary, like anytime the temple might collapse, but at the same time, it was also charming, seeing how Mother Nature takes back her space.  Again, I was going camera crazy, taking millions of photos.  I must have spent a few hours in there because of a number of tree-in-temple & Angelina Jolie-like photo opportunities.


It was lunch time when I got out of the temple so I took just a light lunch outside the small restaurants outside.  After my experience with Ta Prohm, I just could go back to my hotel and take a rest but there was still one temple to check out -- the pink temple of Banteay Srey.

@ Angkor Night Market

 

Banteay Srey was far from the Angkor complex.  I think it was about a 30-minute ride from Ta Prohm.  When I got there, my first impression was that the temple was relatively small as compared to the other temples that I’ve visited so why take a trip that far for this.  When I went inside, I saw what made the temple special and worth a visit.  The pink-colored sandstones have the most beautiful and intricate carvings and bas-reliefs.  This temple has the finest carvings of all the Angkor temples.  Although this was older than the other temples, this was very well preserved.  I am out of words for Banteay Srey. 
 

After experiencing temple overload, I decided to call it a day.

my happy pizza
 

 

My trip back to the hotel was relaxing due to the afternoon gentle wind, making me drowsy.  On the other hand, I can’t keep my eyes off the scenery that we passed by, like the lake at Angkor, small temples, and the village within the complex.


It was 4 P.M. when I got back and I was starving.  This time, I decided to try a Khmer specialty -- Amok -- a fish curry in coconut with peanut and cashew sauce.  It was delicious!

 

Later that night, I checked out the Old Market, but the stalls were closing down already so I headed to Angkor Night Market.

To Pub Street!
  It was disappointing, just a few stalls and a bit pricey.


After a nice stroll, I headed for dinner and decided to try their “special” pizza.  I found this lovely restaurant called Happy Special Pizza.  Hmmmm, nothing really “special” there.  After savoring their local dish, I went to the Pub Street, checked out the stalls along the street for a few pasalubongs, and grabbed a bottle.


Since the hotel that I checked in was a bit far from the Old Market area, I decided to get back, afraid of ending up at someone else’s room. 
:D
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Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ South Gate
@ South Gate
a glimpse
a glimpse
feeling Angelina
feeling Angelina
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Angkor Night Market
@ Angkor Night Market
my happy pizza
my happy pizza
To Pub Street!
To Pub Street!
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Angkor Wat @ sunrise
Apsara
Apsara
Golden Buddha inside the temple
Golden Buddha inside the temple
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
@ Angkor Wat
hihihi
hihihi
@ South Gate
@ South Gate
tuk-tuk rider
tuk-tuk rider
The Bayon, from a distance
The Bayon, from a distance
@ Bayon
@ Bayon
@ Bayon
@ Bayon
@ Bayon
@ Bayon
The Bayon face
The Bayon face
Bayon face + my face
Bayon face + my face
nag-dradrama
nag-dradrama
muni-muni
muni-muni
@ Baphuon
@ Baphuon
@ Baphuon
@ Baphuon
@ Baphuon
@ Baphuon
small temple
small temple
@ Phimeanakas
@ Phimeanakas
@ Phimeanakas grounds
@ Phimeanakas grounds
@ Phimeanakas grounds
@ Phimeanakas grounds
carvings
carvings
Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants
@ Ta Keo
@ Ta Keo
huge trees
huge trees
big me & big tree
big me & big tree
hmmmm?
hmmmm?
posing jud
posing jud
ahahaha
ahahaha
tree-in-temple
tree-in-temple
tree-in-temple
tree-in-temple
tree-in-temple
tree-in-temple
huge trees
huge trees
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Banteay Srey
@ Angkor Lake
@ Angkor Lake
Amok!
Amok!
@ Angkor Night Market bar
@ Angkor Night Market bar
MNG addict.
MNG addict.
@ Angkor Night Market
@ Angkor Night Market
@ Old Market area
@ Old Market area
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling