Cambodia Part 2: The not-so-lost city of Angkor, Siem Reap

So we’d heard that the view of Angkor Wat (the world’s largest religious building) at sunrise is pretty special so we set our alarms for 4am, and off we went on a tuk tuk in the dark.  The hoards of other tourists who’d also decided to do the same meant that the experience wasn’t the serene and inspiring sight we’d hoped for, but it was still pretty amazing. After the sun was fully up, lots of people returned back to the main town for breakfast and a nap. We decided we’d stick around and take advantage of the quiet and wandered around the temples virtually on our own.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat Inside Angkor Wat

A brief bit of history about the area courtesy of the Lonely Planet 🙂 The city used to be the capital of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer empire which stretched from Burma/Myanmar to Vietnam and was built between the 9th and 13th Century. Attempts to save the temples from the attack of the jungle started in 1908, after a French Naturalist ‘rediscovered’ the area. Although most of the temples have been carefully repaired, some of them (Ta Prohm amongst others) still look like they belong in an Indiana Jones film (the site was used to shoot scenes from Tomb Raider and Two Brothers) and are half overgrown by jungl e.

Angkor Thom Ta Prohm Banteay Kdei

We LOVED it! You’d never get such free access to a site like this in England- health and safety for starters would probably prevent you from getting within 10 ft of the ruins, let alone allow you to clamber up the worn, steep steps, 100ft in the dark. Brilliant :). So after two sunsets, one sunrise, 10 temples and little sleep, we eventually left, still debating which was the best temple (Alex’s favorite was the Bayon, mine Pre Rup)

Bayon Pre Rup at dusk Sunset at Pre Rup

More photos @ Flickr

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