As soon as I knew I was flying to Thailand, it was a no-brainer that a trip to see Angkor Wat and some of the other 36 temples was going to be part of my travels. The research prior to the overland trip was an eye opener…but ultimately very accurate and extremely helpful as we made our way across the border. After a 4-hour taxi ride to the Thailand-Cambodia border, we exited the taxi to a group of touts trying to get us to spend unnecessary money on visas into Cambodia, but because I read about this, I knew that we needed to move past them and head directly to the immigration office. Once we got through all the formalities we were approached by a number of other touts trying to get us into a taxi. We knew how much we wanted to pay. A swarm of guys had surrounded us, and we had 3 cars following us…finally, we found 1 guy who was willing to take us to Siem Reap at our price! And after 2 hours and 2 strategic stops (1 to a convenience store and 1 to a tuk-tuk) we were at our destination! A beautiful, big, four-star hotel with the slightest view of Angkor Wat in the distance! This was only the start of our adventure.
We decided to venture out into the Old Town to grab some dinner, traditional Khmer food. I had Asok, a yummy curry dish, and tried lychee juice and rum…yummy! Then we were off to bed since we decided to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Turns out…that’s what everyone does! We were so fortunate to find a nice spot to catch the sunrise and beautiful views of Angkor Wat. Then we moved on to Bayon, an incredible temple, I could have stayed there for hours! So many cool pictures…but we were on a mission to make 7 temples in 1 day. We stopped at Prah Pithu for a short photo shoot before heading to Neak Pean. There we ran into an American who worked for the US Embassy and he told us about the amazing places he has seen around the world! Then we decided to take a break and enjoy a banana pancake. I decided to also try a Lychee flavored Fanta. Both very good.
We decided as we were heading to the next temple to stop and see if we could fit in one more…East Mehon Oriental…absolutely worth every second we spent there! Then our last temple before the lunch break was Ta Prohm. I took the most pictures at this temple. It’s been taken over by the trees and the roots have climbed all over the buildings which created some interesting and picturesque shots of Ta Prohm. Once I saw this temple, I knew I was where I was supposed to be and this experience was a unique one. I felt so blessed and happy to have stood amongst the stone and trees. In just a few minutes after that thought…the sky opened up and the rain poured down on us…and we were headed back to the van to make our way back to the hotel.
Once it was time to head back to the temples we stopped at Prasat Kravan before going to see the sunset at Angkor Wat. We decided to cut out a temple visit to spend more time at Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was incredible…we explored the inner network of hallways and pagodas…and I’m still in awe by how picture perfect that place is at every turn. And it was nice to finish the day at the Ancient Temples of Angkor at the place we had started…along the pond facing Angkor Wat. We were also lucky to have some monks pose for us at the base of the balustrade to capture a photographer’s dream moment. Overall, these temples were amazing and I took almost 1000 pictures in one day…and we only saw 7 out of the 37 temples! I truly enjoyed the trip to Cambodia and I would highly recommend this trip for anyone who is willing to go and see a piece a magnificent history in the present.
I’m now on the last leg of my journey here in Southeast Asia…and I’m trying to enjoy every second that I have here! More to come on Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, and my last days back in Bangkok, Thailand!