It was with heavy, sleepy eyes that my boyfriend and I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to set off and see the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. We had arrived In Siem Reap two days before we set out on this journey. I had never seen a temple before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but by the end of the day, I had seen several of the best temples in the world.
Image: Me walking toward Angkor Wat temple
We drove in a tuk tuk and the Khmer person took us from our hostel to the reception area where we had to wait patiently in line for a ticket. Despite the time, there were a lot of people that had thought being able to see Angkor Wat when the sun was about to rise was a beautiful and good idea. Not to mention that it was supposed to get very warm during the day, so its best to see the temples early. The ticket cost around $20 US for a day pass, as tourism is high and the economical value is rising up and up each year, as it benefits the Khmer people hugely, as they rely on tourists for their income.
Image: How tall the temples appeared when looking up towards the sky
From there on we drove to the site and was amazed yet again by the hundreds of people who had gotten up even earlier to see the sunrise past by. People had there cameras set up, and were waiting patiently, but it was all worth the wait. The detail and sculptures etched on the temples are amazing! There were more than 3,000 nymphs being carved onto the stones. These carvings depicted myths, religion and historical events. ‘Back in the twelfth century when it was built by King Suryavarman II, it was a temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu and took an estimated 30 years to build. It was later dedicated to Buddhism and is the only one of the Angkorian temples to remain in religious use throughout the centuries,’ (Official tourism handbook of the Kingdom of Cambodia).
Image: The rectangular outer walls of Angkor Wat Temple
It was tough work walking up and down the very slim stairs of the temple. Looking back at it, I wish I was fit to keep up. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious building and is three storeys wide. It is a very sacred building to the Khmer people of Cambodia. So when you visit this temple, along with several of the other ones, you need to be respectful around monks, this includes dressing appropriately when visiting the temple. Within the 9th-15th century the jungle temples, including the Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm were built. They are in the forest and hidden within trees and so that’s why they are called “jungle temples.” Tuk tuks can take you around to see the other temples nearby, but make sure you stay hydrated, so drink coconuts and fresh fruit drinks. There are also places to eat nearby, which our tuk tuk driver took us too.
Image: Temple Watching!
By the end of the day, we were exhausted from the heat and the travelling, so we looked forward to relaxing at our hostel, but we won’t forgot the memories we made by seeing some of the exotic temples within the world.
Image: details within the temple stone work
Further sites to visit for more information on Angkor Wat include:
***All images are my own