Angkor, once the capital of the Khmer Empire and one of the largest cities in the world, is one of the most impressive religious monuments ever created. It’s even more striking to think that most of the temples in the complex date as far back as 800 years ago and, despite having suffered the side effects of human beings’ inconsideration and Mother Nature’s hardcore mood swings, they are still standing! Some of them partially, but they are still there.
Having done the short circuit anti-clock wise, Buyana and I left the best for last: Angkor Wat.
If you remember from the past posts, I mentioned we used this strategy to avoid big crowds, so by the time we got to Angkor Wat, it was about 3pm and we only encountered a few people here and there, giving us the freedom to play around with our cameras however we preferred with a background full of silence. It was a bliss. Ridiculously hot, but a bliss nonetheless.
We entered the building from the back. The road that lead to the entrance was rather long and surrounded by trees, with Angkor Wat standing right at the end, making it look as if it was a mirage.
Once we got in, we sat down in the shade outside one of the internal doors looking towards the central courtyard and took the time to appreciate the fact that we were there, in a place we had only ever seen in pictures before and that we had wished to visit for a long time. We needed to take it all in and that was the best place to do it.
We walked around for a couple of hours, taking photos and having little breaks in between as the heat was crushing us, and it seemed to never end. The inside galleries seemed like a labyrinth!
It wasn’t long (thankfully) before we realised we had been walking in circles.
Not gonna lie, it was frustrating, but at least we can now say we know the temple pretty well…good enough, at least!
The sun was still high up in the sky by the time we made it through to the main entrance and we were just too exhausted to walk over to the lake to take the typical reflection picture of the temple. It hadn’t rained in weeks anyway, so there wasn’t enough water to get the right photo. Our feet were crying for mercy after all. It was time to head out and get on a tuk tuk drive back to our hostel. The adventure was over.
We loved Angkor and we would both go back there in the blink of an eye. There is way too much to see to just spend one day exploring the temple complex.
My recommendations? Take at least a two-day pass, bring lots of water with you, a camera with full batteries and an empty memory card and don’t rush — the effort is very much worth it.