A couple of beers later, I headed back to my hostel for some shut-eye. I was honestly amazed at myself how I managed to wake up after just a few hours of sleep. Today is one of the biggest days of my trip. Today, I get to see the Angkor Wat. It was the central temple of the city of Angkor. To get there though from the town center of Seam Reap where I am staying, you will have to rent a tuktuk that will also take you around the complex. The Angkor Wat is just one of the many temples and structures you can see in the Angkor Complex.
I booked a tuktuk driver that I met the day before, while I was biking around the city. I wanted to go around the Angkor Wat complex from sunrise to sunset. Literally.
Som, my tuktuk driver didn’t arrive on time. Which was fine since the ticketing office doesn’t open until later. So I called him up and I guess he lives near enough to appear by the hotel gates in a jiffy. One trivial thing I learned while researching about this three-wheeled Cambodian vehicle is that they aren’t actually tuktuks! They’re remorques, Which is French for trailers! See tuktuks are unibody tricycles while remorques are, like the name suggests, small trailers that are attached at the back of a motorcylce.
Anyways, i hopped into Som’s tuktuk and was taken to the ticketing office. I was one of the first people there so i was in and out quite fast. I paid, they took my picture and printed out my photo. That was it. Now back to the tuktuk.
The drive to the Angkor Wat was quite relaxing. A lot of trees lined up the street with the cold wind blowing to my face.
Arriving at the Angkor Wat, the picture of a serene morning sunrise was shattered. The ponds facing the gates of the wat was full of tourists fighting for a good spot for their own. But then, it was cloudy day. It was not much of a loss. The morning underperformed.
After the sun rose, every one scattered everywhere. Most went to the nearby foodstalls to eat breakfast. As for me, I decided to go straight to the temple. It was a smart decision, I think. The temple was empty and I was able to get to the Bakan, the temple’s most revered place.
The moment I got off the steep stairs of the Bakan, a long line of people trying to go up have already formed. I think that’s the best move if you were to visit the Wat.
I spent a few good hours just wandering in the Angkor Wat. Honestly, I was literally lost inside the temple. I had to ask one of the tour guides how can I find the exit. I thought I was just going in circles.
I rejoined my tuktuk driver, Som, back at the parking lot.
Our next destination is probably my favorite. Yes the Angkor Wat is massive and impressive. Then you discover the Bayon Temple. Dominated by towers with faces adorned with intricate trimmings, the Bayon temple is one amazing structure. I say, it is the most photogenic of all temples. It was just frustrating that it was difficult to get a good shot with no in it because the temple was overflowing with crowds.
I spent about a couple of hours in the Bayon Temple. It was just amazing. Every corner seem to be magical that you can imagine you are in a story book.
Next stop is the Ta keo Temple. I honesty didn’t get that much information about this tempe from my tuktuk driver, so I just spend ess than an hour. It was nice though to meet two ladies traveingling. We trying some yoga poses at the top part of the temple when we werer told by a, I am not entirely sure, but a staff. He told us that it was rude to do yoga poses. Especially ones elevating your feet up. I forgot that yoga is actually a hindu practice and not a buddhist one.
Anyways, after a short chat with the girls, I decided to go back to my tuktuk and move on to my next temple. The Ta Phrom, more popularly known as the Tomb Raider temple.
The temple gained its popularity and its nick name thanks to Angelina Jollie’s 2001 movie, Tomb Raider. Aside from that, I couldn’t say that this temple actually is more special than the others. However, it does exude majestic architecture. I wondered about why the temple had so much beautiful hallways throughout, so I researched about it. I read that the original structure was built as a buddhist monastery for monks.
It was late in the afternoon when I got back to my tuktuk. My last stop was to watch the sunset on top of a mountian temple. However, there was a huge queue when I got there. It took hours of standing and loads of patience before I actually got into the viewing deck.
By the time I got in, the Sun had set already. However, the real show was only starting. The play of colors seen at the horizon was just amaing. While most of the tourist were leaving, I with a few others stayed and waited until the light was gone.
I ascended back at the foot of the temple. Som my tuktuk driver waited patiently. The drive back to the hostel most of the roads are either not paved yet or are just bad.
Tired as I may be, I had to move to my next destination. I went back to the riverside and ate the best fresh spring rolls I ever had one last time. I exchanged facebook contacts with the lady that owns the stall, but then that’s for another storytime.
After eating, I walked back to the bus stop and hopped on my hotel bus bound for Phnom Penh.