Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples cover an area twice as large as Manhattan. This forgotten city once belonged to an ancient civilization known as the Kher, who ruled most of Southeast Asia. As time past the city was abandoned and it was lost to the jungle until the late 1800’s.
photo by backpackerbanter
Today Angkor Wat has not only become one of Cambodia’s greatest symbols, but has become known as one of the greatest temple complexes in the world.
Visiting Angkor Wat has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Last year when I was living in Thailand I never made time for Cambodia, a fact that still angers me. However, I knew that this time in Southeast Asia that Angkor Wat would be at the top of my list.
Finally, after years of dreaming I got to spend a couple days at Angkor Wat, and while the city is full of tourist, it is still breathtaking. In 10 hours, I went to 11 different temples. Each one having its own atmosphere and look.
Exploring the temples of Siam Reap was a breath of fresh air. Sites like this are one of my favorite things about my nomadic life. For this post, I want to take you guys on a virtual tour of some of my favorite temples in the Angkor Wat area.
I woke up before the sun I left my cozy bed and the cool AC of my Mad Monkey dorm room and stepped out into the muggy hot air of Southeast Asia. The first stop of the day was watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
As the sun starts to rise the temple is perfectly reflected in the nearby pond. Watching Angkor Wat come to life in all its grandeur is a perfect way to start the morning and get into the mood for a long day of exploring temples.
The Angkor Wat grounds are beautifully preserved, and the size of the compound is impressive.
I felt tiny wandering through the old pillars, chiseled halls, and inspecting every little carving.
Building Angkor Wat must have been a monumental task and when you visit it is easy to see why this has become such a famous attraction.
photo by backpackerbanter
Ta Prohm stuck out as another major highlight of the day. Ta Prohm was in the movie Tomb Raider and has infamously become known as the Tomb Raider Temple. However, the temples main claim to fame are the towering trees that climb the crumbling walls before soaring high into the air.
The jungle atmosphere of Ta Phrom is vibrant. Trees and vines cover the old walls in thick layers. Trees are one of my favorite things on the planet.
Seeing these gigantic trees surrounding a temple in the jungle makes it feel as if you are the first person to discover this wonderful ruin.
Bayon (The Temple of Faces)
Last but not least is Bayon. This temple is a large maze of halls, tall pillars, and stone towers. However, it would be impossible to hide is this labyrinth. Bayon is the temple of faces and wherever you look there is a good chance that a stone face will be staring back.
I found Bayon to be the most impressive temple of the day. I walked through I the halls and gazed at the dozens of stone faces.
I couldn’t help but feel awe and wonder at how something so magnificent was built so long ago.
These are just a few of the wondrous temples of Angkor Watt. Throughout the whole complex, there are hundreds if not thousands of temples.
While my buddy Chris Stevens has a simple guide to Angkor Wat that I recommend reading here are a few tips you should know before visiting Angkor Wat.
1 – Buy your ticket after 5 p.m. the day before you want to visit. After 5 p.m. lets you in for sunset as well as the whole next day. One day tickets cost $20.
2- Tuk Tuk’s are awesome. You can gent a tuk-tuk for the entire day to take you to all the temples. With 5 people, we paid $6 each and visited 11 temples.
3- Right after sunrise at Angkor Wat head straight to the other temples and save Angkor Wat for the last temple of the day. This cuts down on the crowds.