For anyone consumed by wanderlust, I highly recommend a visit to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. After all, it consistently tops the list of must-see destinations in the world!
After we got married, one of the first books hubby purchased for us was “1,000 Places to See before You Die.” I must admit, we both love to travel and that common interest is one of the key reasons why despite our huge difference in personality and culture we have such a strong bond. Of course, I am certain it will not be possible for us to visit all the places recommended in the book but whenever we visit a new country – we take a quick look at it and see the travel highlights it features. Certainly, if you visit Cambodia – this is the top priority – a visit to the Angkor Wat complex.
Angkor Wat and its surrounds may be familiar to some of you as it has been featured in many films including Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom. I haven’t seen the former but I vaguely remember seeing the latter. Of course, many magazines and news articles have also showcased this famous temple complex so it’s hard to miss. My sister and her friends have also visited Angkor Wat a few years ago and her exciting adventure and stories motivated me to visit it as well. When we got the chance to visit the Philippines about a year ago, we made sure we had a quick trip to Cambodia! I was so glad hubby and I did.
The Angkor Temples spread out to about 40 miles in northwestern Cambodia. It is believed to have been built during the first half of the 12th century and was the capital of the Khmer Empire. It took nearly 30 years to build and involved around 25,000 workers. Angkor Wat is the premiere attraction in the place though there are other complexes that are equally stunning though may not be as huge. The photo above shows portion of the causeway that you pass through before you enter the temple. This picture shows people coming out of Angkor Wat.
You expect Angkor Wat to be quite grand as it’s a major tourist attraction but despite what you may have seen in the movies or in magazines, nothing prepares you for its sheer majesty. At the outset I have to say my photos won’t do justice to the place! Because it is awe-inspiring, expect to battle with a huge crowd. But don’t worry there is a way to avoid them somehow – come early – as in at least 5:00 am. That’s what we did and we were greeted by a wonderful view of the sunrise. I am showing the progression from darkness to sunrise in the photo above and below.
I won’t elaborate much on history and all that as you can read that in travel books and for lack of space, too but I will simply let the photos speak for themselves.
These lovely artsy photos were taken by my hubby. He managed to do the clicks at the right time.
We traveled to Angkor Wat and its surrounds using the regular transportation from Siem Reap (a Tuk Tuk) but you can certainly do it in style like riding a hot air balloon!
After Angkor Wat, we rode on our Tuk Tuk again and asked our driver to bring us to Ta Prohm, for me the best of the Angkor complex. This is probably the most evocative of all the monuments as it’s certainly dramatic, magical, eerie and surreal all at the same time! The sight is quite astonishing – visions of courtyards and terraces, shrines and pavilions engulfed and almost consumed by the forest with its giant trees towering over them. Enjoy the sights below.
This is the entrance to Ta Prohm.
And those are just the roots! That’s tiny, little me!
Just to give you an idea on how massive these trees are.
Hubby and me really dwarfed by the tree!!!
Quick stop for a photo – a kind stranger obliged to take one for our souvenir.
For our final leg (we were only there for a day so it was impossible to visit all), we went to Angkor Thom the site of the Bayon – quite a mysterious looking temple with its ruined towers carved with giant images. This is the entrance to the Bayon.
You may have to exert a little effort to reach this as some stair climbing is required.
I asked hubby to take this photo with my face below and an image on top. Ha ha. Trying hard to be a little artsy here!
This is part of the Bayon from the other side. It looks quite glorious under the sun. Well, that’s a quick tour of the Angkor Complex and hope you enjoyed it. I cannot recommend this place enough!
oh my gosh – it looks so beautiful! If I can ever stand to be on a plane that long I'm in 😉 Lovely really
Thanks, Heather! I can honestly say, it's worth the jet lag! 🙂
Abby, my heart is so jealous! Cambodia is in my top 5 places to visit in this world! Beautiful photos. Great story.
Hope you get to visit it Michelle! It's such a unique and amazing place. 🙂
Your photos traveled me to a place I may never be able to visit! Thank you!
Thanks too Katerina!
Looks like such an amazing experience to have. I'd love to visit there one day.
Certainly worth a visit! Thanks Elizabeth!
What an incredible trip!
How beautiful! Thanks for sharing these pictures. I am in love with those trees, and the roots that they have are amazing. What a wonderful trip!
Yes, it was Debi and am grateful for the opportunity to visit.
Wow, this is absolutely incredible and such great photos! I remember reading at some point that it's the largest religious monument in the world and was built in the 12th century which is just "wow". I LOVE those massive old tree roots! I would definitely love to visit someday!
I believe it is so based on some reading, too. Thanks!
What a dream vacation…gorgeous photos made me feel like I was there with you.
Awww. Thanks Sandi!
What a delightful trip! I'm glad you were able to take time to visit and share your adventure with us! I wish I was in the balloon!
Me, too! I can just imagine how awesome it is to tour that place in a baloon!
Oh wow – this is all just so stunningly gorgeous! Absolutely living vicariously through your wonderful photos! I can absolutely see why this is a consistently top-choice travel destination, and you really brought it to life! ~ Shelley
Wow, what a beautiful place to visit. Thank you for sharing your vacation photos, they're gorgeous!
Totally incredible! Cambodia is on my bucket list for sure.
I cannot recommend it enough! Thanks Lauren!
Cambodia is one of my favourite places on the planet! I almost didn't go there when I was on my solo SE Asia journey, but I'm so glad I did and I wish I'd spent more time there. The Angkor temples are amazing — Ta Prohm was my favourite as well. Just stunning. And the people of Cambodia are some of the most wonderful I have ever met. Must go back some day. Sigh. Thank you for letting me relive some of my trip though this post! xo
So wonderful to know that you've been there too Olivia! Anyone can easily spend a few days there and it was the highlight of our trip to Asia in 2014. Thanks for stopping by!
Oh my gosh how adventurous! You both are inspiring!
Beautiful Pictures and Well written! Your post has transported me to Cambodia. Wish I could see that beautiful place in person sometime in the future.
What a fantastic trip. Your photos are truly stunning. Makes me feel like I'm right there.
What an amazing looking trip! The pictures are beautiful 🙂
We have that book too, but whilst it is inspirational, it is overwhelming too, as we will never make it everywhere. I really want to go to Cambodia though – I have heard many great things.
You are in the largest Pre-industrial city in the WORLD! Such an Epic place to be!!