Ah.Angkor Wat! At last.To say that it was one of our most anticipated part of the trip would be an understatement.I was holding back the excitement since landing in Vietnam and being here finally is indeed a dream come true.I never felt lucky being a citizen of Southeast Asia.This region is amazing, and Angkor Wat and the whole Angkor Complex is Shockingly Amazing!
Did you know that Angkor is the Earthly representation of Mt. NERU? (The Mt.Olympus of Hindu faith). It is glorious. I felt dwarfed being in front of such a great work of genius but at the same time felt overjoyed laying witness to its grandeur and enduring magnificence.
Hail the god-kings therefore for their passion and at some point obsession to construct temples that would better the other.These are not just rock structures of course as they also serve as religious sites.
Angkor,until today,is still the largest religious building.It wasn't the first constructed but it is considered the mother of all temples in the Angkor Complex where thousands of temples are to be found.
Be Transported to Another Space and Time
Being here is like going back to time.And with the word "back" , I don't just mean a few hundred years but almost a millennium. A feeling that you rarely get elsewhere.
That feeling actually starts the moment you get your day pass at the ticketing office and navigate the narrow road dotted with giant trees on both side.Making the bend to Angkor Wat's Western gate, you will be greeted by a still lake which I find very romantic in the early morning.We were here before sunlight so the landscape really got more dramatic.
We were directed by our tuktuk driver to get inside the gate and get to the pool in front of the main temple and wait for sunrise there.I used the word "main" coz I honestly thought we were already looking at Angkor Wat Temple itself while at the causeway but those were only the towers I saw coz you can only see the whole structure once you get inside the gate.
SUNRISE IN ANGKOR WAT
Many highly suggest that you either go to Angkor Complex before sunrise of sunset as the view of the temple is really amazing during this time especially during sunrise when you can see the reflection of Angkor Wat on the pool in front of it.There are two pools actually on both sides but the one on the left was with more water during our visit (summer) so that's where most people gathered.When we came, it was already full of tourists and it was quite difficult to find a spot. Whether you are here to take photos or simply marvel at the view, the experience is equally rewarding.
Unlike other temples, Angkor Wat faces West.It could also be appreciated best therefore during sunset.
How to Get to Angkor Wat/Angkor Complex
If you are on a d.i.y budget travel, tuktuks are the cheapeast way to go.You can a whole day tour for only $15. In our case, we left the hotel 4:30am for sunrise at Angkor Wat so we agreed to add $3 more. $18 total.Taxis are also available a a more expensive price if you think you cannot handle the heat but I say tuktuk is still the best way to go as being exposed to the elements,yes even the sunlight, is part of the beauty of the whole experience.
Tuktuks are everywhere so it's pretty easy.You can randomly call one and negotiate.As long as you don't go far from $20, that's ok. If you arrive at night (like we did) I would suggest you contact the tuktuk driver who will take you to your hotel.Especially if you are planning for an early departure for sunrise.