Apologies for the silence from me! Since I went to Cambodia in March, I have also been to Indonesia, Nepal (to help with the earthquake relief) and New Zealand. SO much has been going on, which means that there are a lot of blog posts to come!
Angkor Wat has been on my bucket list, and I’m sure yours too, for a long time now – ever since I started to travel without my parents in my late teens. However, it just seemed like the place that always got away from me! Many of my friends went on mission trips to Cambodia, but I always seemed to have something else more important happening at the time that would prevent me from joining them.
Anyway, my time has come! My colleagues and I spent a weekend in Siem Reap after a week long conference near Phnom Penh. Traveling between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is easy and there are lots of options in terms of transportation. We decided to fly so we could maximize our time in and around Angkor Wat.
We stayed at the beautiful Apsara Centrepole Boutique Hotel which was in a central location to Pub Street (more on that later) and lots of shopping. The hotel upgraded my friend and I to a room upstairs with it’s own balcony and sun lounge area. The hotel staff were so friendly and helpful, and the rooms had beautiful soft beds and met all of our needs in terms of amenities. I would gladly stay there again considering how well priced it was!
The reason that I mentioned the hotel, is that they organised our Angkot Wat tour. Most hotels in Siem Reap will do this for you. For a one day Angkor tour, for four people in a tuk-tuk, it cost about US$28 plus the Angkor entrance fee. We woke up early for the ‘amazing’ sunrise over Angkor Wat, only to be slightly disappointed by an overcast day. However just before we gave up to visit the next temple, the sun rose like a big red ball of fire low over the the temple. It was beautiful, but I think I would have preferred to see the sun set from Angkor Wat with the beautiful glow on the building itself — and with less people. It was hard to take a photo without anyone in it!
After sunrise, we visited the Bayon temple, Ta Prohm (the famous ‘Tomb Raider Temple’) and a few smaller temples. We surprised ourselves by wanting to leave at lunchtime because of the HEAT. It was something like 36 degrees Celsius PLUS. We were sweating profusely and sick and tired of the tour groups, they pushed us over the edge. We were in dire need of air-conditioning and ice cream!
Despite our short time there, you cannot deny the magical aura of the temples. There is something about being inside of something so spiritual and historical. It is much more than just a glimpse into history, but a reminder about what passion and faith in something can do — create grandeur out of nothing.