I’m guessing that pretty much every tourist who has ever set foot in Siem Reap intends to visit “Angkor Wat.” What many people don’t know is that Angkor Wat refers to one specific temple.
The iconic image of Angkor Wat. The clouds rolled in while we were visiting, but I think that adds to the photo, even if it does dull the reflection.
The Angkor Archeological Park is about 400 square kilometers and contains dozens of temples. In fact, I read that there are nearly 300 temples in the Angkor complex. Not all of these, however, are accessible — some are still encased by the jungle and there is still a small threat of landmines if you get off the beaten track (don’t worry moms, we always stay on the paths and are perfectly safe).
Symmetry, light and prayers in the tower at Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is one of the largest of temples and the most iconic. It was built in the 12th century and, at least from what we’ve seen, is the best preserved.
Angkor Wat tower.
We didn’t have Angkor Wat very high on our list of “must see’s.” I had been there back in the early 2000’s and Robert and I had been there in 2007.
Standing in front of the tower. When I first visited, tourists were allowed to climb these stairs. It is way trickier and steeper and scarier than it looks — especially going down. Now, they have wooden stairs installed over one set of the steps and no longer allow tourists to climb these stairs.
But, yesterday when the skies cleared, we hopped in a tuk-tuk and got there for a late afternoon visit.
Robert at Angkor Wat. See the nice, easy wooden stairs?
Our timing, combined with our tuk-tuk driver’s guidance, was impeccable — we entered from the East Gate and managed to climb the tower before the late afternoon tour bus guests arrived from the West Gate.
Monks at Angkor Wat.
But the best part? Now we feel absolutely no obligation to go there for sunrise!
A cool carving at Angkor Wat. It is dark and shiny from people touching it, which is (thankfully) no longer allowed. The carvings at Angkor Wat are truly incredible, but also incredibly hard to photograph.
Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys.
Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).