It was incredible.
We chose to hire a tuk-tuk to see the temples. It cost us $15 for the whole day.
Your other options are a bicycle ($1/day), walking (free), or a taxi (approx. $25 for the day). We enjoy tuk-tuks, and as it's the rainy season in Cambodia we didn't want to risk getting caught in a downpour or exhaust ourselves before we got a chance to see everything we wanted.
Our driver was waiting for us at the front door of our hotel promptly at 5am.
As our hotel booking came with breakfast and we were leaving before breaky was being served, the lovely people at the front desk organized a take away breaky.
It was pitch black when we left the hotel. We couldn't see the road since there are no lamp posts lighting it. We could barely see each other. We couldn't even see the breaky and had to guess what we were eating by the shape, smell and taste.
On the way to the temples you stop to buy your visit pass. Don't bother bringing a photo (lots of guide books suggest to), they take one for you at the ticketing office. And in about 2-5 mins time you have a pass and are on your way once again.
The sky slowly started turning from black to grey to blue and Angkor Wat appeared before us out of the darkness of the night.
The sky was getting bluer and bluer as we passed the first gate.
And we rushed to get a spot in front overlooking the lily pond and the Angkor Wat temple.
The sun started to rise and gave us our first real view of this grandiose place. It's really a once in a lifetime experience.
Not too much later the clouds gathered and rain drizzled almost all morning. Everything is always more beautiful with the sun shining on it (or so I think) so I would recommend going in the dry season (November - April). However hotels are cheaper in the wet season. So I guess it's based on preference.
Back to Angkor Wat in all of its magnificence!!
And with one last look back at Angok Wat we headed out of the gate.
These photos can't possibly do this place justice. It's beautiful, historic, precise, lush. I kept trying to picture what it would be like to live there. To mediate and pray within those walls with the monks. To watch the sun set and then rise again every day.
We spent hours climbing the steps from one building to the next trying to figure out what it used to be, claiming one as mine and the other as Chris's. We didn't get a guide, but it's probably better that way for us.
Remember to wear something sensible to be allowed up Buddha's staircase (highly recommended!). Shorts and a tee for guys, and pants (or bermuda shorts) and a tee for girls. No baring of shoulders, and nothing shorter than knee length. Trainers (sneakers) are also good. But mind the puddles! I stepped in one within the first 30 mins and had squishy shoes all day.
Also, the funky pants I'm wearing I would highly recommend everyone to get a pair of when you're in Cambodia. They're lightweight, breathable, and in great colors. You can get a pair for $2 at Angor Wat, or about $5 at the markets in Siem Reap.
More from the temples in the next post! Check back soon! xx