We decided to tour the temples by tuk tuk and set out before sunrise. We got to Angkor Wat in the pitch black and waited with hundreds, if not thousands, of people for the sun to rise above the temple. We walked around and saw a few different views, but my favorite was from the reflecting pool.
After the sun had fully risen, we made our way to the temple entrance and hired a tour guide. He spoke very good English and gave us some insights into the history of Angkor Wat. The tour lasted about an hour and then we were free to continue to explore the ruins by ourselves. I’d highly recommend getting a tour guide to explain what you’re looking at! We learned Angkor Wat was built to be “heaven on Earth” and is the largest religious ruin in the world.
The area below would collect rain water and be a bath for the king or queen.
Some of the temples required shirts over the shoulders and pants below the knees. I wore a tank top under my shirt so I could switch back and forth. It was a very HOT day!
When we were done, we made our way to find our tuk tuk driver and headed to Bayon, which has 216 faces peering down at you wherever you go! On the way, we crossed a bridge with statues lining both sides.
It was a little eerie walking around Bayon knowing there’s always a face peering down at you!
Many of the temples had A LOT of stairs to climb to get to the top. It was a pretty hot day and rather exhausting. We walked from Bayon to where our tuk tuk driver was meeting us. On the way, we entered one temple planning to skip going to the top, but once we entered, the tour only went one way so we were stuck!!!
Such a long walkway!
We stopped at the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants. I can’t imagine being the one to carve these terraces!
Ta Prohm is famous for being in the Tomb Raider movie. It was really neat walking around seeing trees growing on top of parts of the temple! The trees have really destroyed the temple, but there has been some conservation work done.
I visited a few of the lesser known ruins later in the day after we dropped the rest of our group off at the hostel. The temples honestly all started to run together by the end of the day, but I did enjoy seeing some less crowded ones! Below are a few of my favorite pictures from my afternoon of exploring.
I loved the hall of mirrors feel that I had at Preah Khan!
Such beautiful colors!
Neak Pean was different from all the others I visited. I walked along a wooden boardwalk above the water and got to this water temple.
LOVED taking a picture of this entrance!
Elephant at East Mebon!
This temple looked super red and orange as the sun began to set!
I visited temples from sunrise to sunset and had a peaceful evening watching the sunset beyond this lake.
What an experience! If you can spread the temples out over a few days, I’d recommend that instead of squeezing everything into one day. The most popular temples were my favorites, but I enjoyed all the ones I stopped at throughout the day! Have you ever visited Siem Reap and its surrounding temples? If so, which ones are your favorite?