Posted on January 31st, 2018
After the most relaxing time on Koh Rong, we felt refreshed and ready to conquer our last major sight seeing spot for the trip: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap. We’d opted to save on a night’s accommodation and take the night bus from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap. We arrived with the lowest expectations and not much hope of sleeping. The beds meant for two were narrower than a standard single bed but comfy enough and we all surprised ourselves in managing to sleep most of the way. We arrived in Siem Reap at 5:30am and took a tuk tuk to Cheng Lay Guesthouse. We were so lucky in that our room was empty and so we were able to check in early and sneak in few extra hours of much needed sleep before heading out to check out Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is a 162 hectare complex literally hundreds of temples. First bulit in the 12th century and still standing strong today, being in Angkor Wat has the incredible ability to transport you to another world.
We hired a tuk tuk driver for the next three days to take us into the UNESCO world heritage site and drive us around the gorgeous temples. This honestly is the best way to see Angkor Wat as the temples are really spread out and a tuk tuk is a really inexpensive way to experience as much as you can in a short space of time.
After a morning of sleeping in our super duper comfy beds we were ready to explore! We purchased our three day passes which were very expensive but very worth it! 62$ guaranteed us three days of discovering an ancient world. Our first stop was the Preah Kahn temple. Mostly black and brown in colour and filled with beautiful archways and delicate carvings on the walls. We explored every nook and cranny and admired its ancient beauty.
The next temple Neak Poan was set against the backdrop of a perfectly still lake. The reflections were incredibly stunning and came in strong with the aesthetic.
The temples are set in a jungle and are so old that the tree roots have grown around the them, engulfing them and becoming a part of the masterpieces. Ta Som is probably the best example of this and was definitely one of my favourite temples. The roots have formed an archway creating a really beautiful natural monument.
The heat was sweltering and we sweated as we went on to our next temple: East Mebon. This one was more terracotta in colour and was a complex of many towers. The varying levels had elephant statues on the corners and stairs to each new level were incredibly steep and narrow making going up or down quite a scary experience. The numbers of towers and different levels made it a fun place to explore.
Our last temple for the day was quite similar but the main attraction here was to watch the sunset. It was very cloudy though and even though many other people had gathered to watch we didn’t see why this sunset would be that amazing and so headed back into town a bit early. Siem Reap town itself is a very vibey place with many night markets, and a pub street lined with food stalls and bars. We had dinner here and soaked up the fun atmosphere.
For our next day we’d decided to get up early to watch the sunrise over the Angkor Wat temple. We woke up at 4am and got the tuk tuk into the temple complex. Walking in the pitch dark we followed the steady trail of people trying to find the temple. We all lined up along the edge of a lake which would soon bear the most picturesque reflection of the symbol of Cambodia: Angkor Wat. There were SO MANY people. And the full on photography set up was insane. The crowds made it less than ideal but the orange backdrop and perfectly still reflection was truly magical!
Groggy and pretty exhausted we wandered around the temple slowly. The lack of sleep from the past two days really seemed to have caught up with us and we took a little while to regain energy for the full day of temple exploring ahead of us.
Our first site of the day was the Bayon Temple. This was a real highlight temple for all of us with really detailed, story-telling carvings and many tall piles of stone with face carvings. Our spirits all seemed to have lifted and adrenaline had kicked in.
On a side note I’ve been feeling a little disheartened with blogging lately, getting next to zero feedback from any friends or family. I love writing and sharing our travel stories and I know you’re reading them! (I have stats) So if you’ve read this then please show a bit of love and leave me a comment. It would mean the absolute world to me!
For booking any buses and trains around Cambodia be sure to use 12GoAsia for budget-friendly and hassle-free travel plans!