Saturday, September 22, 2012

Angkor Wat At Dawn

The best time to explore the iconic Angkor Wat is at dawn.  Before the masses of people arrive, meaning that you have the ancient temple practically to yourselves.  I think from memory on that very first trip, there were about 9 people in total perched on the turrets watching light break.

The hardest part of seeing it at dawn is getting up when it's still dark, especially if you have enjoyed the crazy nightlife in Siem Reap the night before!  One of our group volunteering in Cambodia was living and working in this town, which made getting to know the area a little more special.

Getting a moto out to the entrance, and walking across the bridge and through the stone arcs, there is something magical about being here when it is deserted and being licked by the hint of the day's light.

We sat at the top, after climbing those countless stairs, and watched as the sun made itself seen, and the light started to cover the ranging hills and jungle all around.  The feelings of peace and tranquility added to the magic.

Once the sun was well and truly up, we enjoyed the time exploring the different aspects and detail of the massive central temple of the Angkor complex, and got to take some silly photos like this one!
Imagine coming out of the surrounding jungle and discovering the site of these ancient cities!

In different parts of the temple you can see monks and older Khmers completing prayer rituals.  This complex is still used as a working temple today, rites thankfully not lost to war and time.

As we left Angkor Wat to see some of the other temples around, the masses of tourists were on their way in, making the feeling of solitude at dawn feel all that much more special.

A visit to Cambodia is not complete without a trip to this area in the centre of the country, and I am trying to resist returning there again for the reunion trip.  Not sure that I will manage that though!

This post is part of a series marking 10 years since I travelled to Cambodia to work as a volunteer.

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