Exploring Angkor: the incredible temples of Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Absolutely stunning temples and so much more than I could have imagined them to be. Siem Reap was our first stop in Cambodia and the perfect way to begin. We landed at 7am and I was determined to make it to the temples on that first day, and we made it there by 9am! You really need to maximize your time there so there was not a minute to spare!

We had our car take us to the entrance, where we lined up and took our photos. Once our 3 day temple pass was issued, we were away. On our first day we started at the South Gate, and walked walk along the ancient city wall to see the lost temple of Prasat Chroung. We then visited the spectacular Bayon temple, where you are surrounded by the smiling faces of numerous Buddhas and many funny photo opportunities here as well, as well as some locals dressed in traditional clothing for a photo. We also visited the Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace before we were exhausted and returned to our hotel for the night. We took so many photos just on this first day but the temples were just amazing so it was hard to stop snapping. We had lunch in a local restaurant where we had salted fish which was delicious. We were also introduced to the local way to drink beer, which is to drink it with ice blocks. In Australia this is certainly not the done thing but it was so hot in Cambodia it really is a great innovation! But I won’t be continuing the trend at home!

On our second day at Angkor we got up at 4am to visit the temples for sunrise. Our plan was to go up in the static hot air balloon that they have with a beautiful view over the temples. Unfortunately that wasn’t able to run that morning with the weather so plan b came into action and we watched it from outside Angkor Wat – and I am glad we did it this way in the end. Just amazing. Ta Prohm is a well known temple as it was in the Tomb Raider movie, and I keep saying it but they really are amazing. This temple has massive trees and the roots of the trees growing over the walls of the temple. The trees are enormous so have been growing for a long time, this temple is so different to the other ones.

Our final day on our Temple pass and we had saved the best til last. It was my birthday so we started off with an elephant ride around Angkor Thom – with the Buddha’s. I love elephants so it was really nice to just sit back and take in the surroundings. We then moved on to visit Angkor Wat itself – it is a massive temple! We must have been there a good 3 hours exploring. It was so hot walking around but it was amazing to explore. You can climb up and around most of the temples, so you really do get to explore them really well. To finish off the day exploring for my birthday we went to a local restaurant where you can sit and relax in hammocks overlooking some rice paddies whilst waiting for your order. Again the food was delicious and the beer was cold with ice in it! An amazing way to celebrate my birthday.

It was an action packed time in Siem Reap to fit the temples in around some other activities as well, and I still didn’t see all of the temples – that would have taken a lot longer. As soon as I left Siem Reap I knew it was a place that I wanted to go back to visit, and I know I will make it back there soon. The temples are absolutely spectacular and I recommend allowing for at least a 3 day pass in order to try and explore the complex.

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