Sunrise at Angkor

I apologize for the lack of originality in the title of this post, but the fact that I was up to see sunrise at Angkor is a feat in and of itself.

We were up this morning at 4 am – which is when I normally go to bed, quickly grabbed breakfast and met our Tuk Tuk driver at 4:45 and were off to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We got there before the Chinese tour groups and were able to get a spot at the ponds before the crowds piled in.

The sun didn’t rise until 5:45, but the best part of the sunrise was as the clouds in the sky. The light scattering off the clouds was mesmerizing. But alas, any zen thoughts I had were interrupted by the hundreds of tourists there.

As soon as the sun was up (and the hawkers were out), we were back in the Tuk Tuk and off to Banteay Srei. This temple is about 40km away from the main Archaeological park and it took us about an hour to get there by Tuk Tuk. Plenty of time to ponder my life (and listen to Lana Del Rey).

We managed to get to Banteay Srei before the masses did. It was amazing to see how the Sandstone has withstood the test of time – this temple predates Angkor and the carvings there were pretty amazing. We climbed into the Tuk Tuk, waited for our driver to finish his breakfast and then we were off to Beng Melea.

It took us about an hour to get to Beng Melea and by the time we got there it was getting steamy outside. This was one of my favourite temples as it wasn’t as conserved as the others and the piles of rocks, and the trees that had grown around them were stunning. This one also had lots of lush greenery around to make it magical. Alas, our incredible time was interrupted on more than one occasion by the multiple asians taking selfies. It was tough to navigate the steps and the ever present selfie sticks but we got on like pros. The signs around the boardwalk weren’t clearly marked and on the way out we got sketched out as we had to climb down a set of stairs into a dark hallway. As soon as we got to the top a local started following us and we quickly bailed on that idea. We decided to head to a viewpoint that overlooked the main gate of the temple and then tried again – with success (and no sketchy guys following us).

We found our way back to the main path, and ran into about 7 buses full of tour groups. Perfect timing. We waited for our driver (who was exploring the temple) and then were off to the Roluos Group of temples – the oldest ones in the area.

By this time, we were both pretty exhausted and listened to our music for the hour ride. It was a great time to get lots of thinking done – but I definitely confused myself about what I want to do after I graduate.

We got to the first temple of the group – Preah Ko and walked around it. Although, there wasn’t much there to see. I ended up having to go into the jungle around it to water the plants – which was a little unnerving because we had seen a sign and Beng Melea advertising the amount of land mines they had removed from the area.

We climbed back in the Tuk Tuk (both still alive) and were off to Bakong. It was really neat to explore this temple as it dates from the 9th century. It was definitely a great way to end the day.

We came back to the hotel to go for lunch – I had amok curry and it was amazing. We then took the longest nap ever and slept through dinner. I was a little peckish so I headed off to a corner store to get some snacks for the bus tomorrow and to nosh on tonight. I miraculously found Nature Valley Granola Bars and Protein Bars. There is some sort of higher being.

I’m off to back my bag. Hopefully its easier with the bigger bag I bought (thanks for having a North Face outlet Siem Reap!) – but I doubt it.

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