With a time constraint in Cambodia, I was only able to allot a single day to the brilliant World Heritage Site of the Angkor Wat Temples near Siem Reap. I was able to see a significant amount of temples that were truly spectacular in complete regards.
The single day really began on the evening before the day. We arrived to Siem Reap in the mid afternoon and tuk tuked our way to the entrance by around 5pm. If you arrive at 5pm, you can purchase your $20 single day ticket in the evening for the following day. That way you can observe the sunset at a temple of choice to get the slightest bit more bang for your buck.
The next day began well before dawn with a massive congregation of camera flashing happy humans at the Angkor Wat Temple. The crimson sun rose, the cliche of tourist huddled together in awe and the stones glistened to reveal their antiquity. The antique towers of Angkor Wat were reminicent of Prambanan Temple in Indonesia, yet on much more significant foundation and overall larger structure.
Walking around the temple was staggering. The stones are neatly fitted in place, the steps are steeply designed, and the carvings and reliefs are intricately carved. As I caressed the moldings with my naked fingertips, I could only marvel at the time and effort that normal humans put forth to create such aesthetic beauty. Many of the reliefs appeared similar to what I had seen at the Buddhist Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.
A rush of a tuktuk ride and we were hurled towards the stunning Bayon Temple in it’s ruinous glory. This temple couldn’t help me from thinking that I was Socrates himeself in the midst of a philosophical genius of a thought. The temple emerges from a foundation of crumbling stones and rises with sets of posts and lintels and heaps of stone blocks. On entrance, one can observe ornate details of teachings and thoughts engraved into the lichen covered stones.
By late morning we had arrived at the Preah Khan Temple. This temple seemed to continue on a single floor for a couple hundred meters as doorways lead to hallways and hallways opened into caverns.
Thommanom and Chau Say Thevoda Temples were less impressive if compared with the others, yet still gorgeous in all manners without comparisons.
The next temple was the Ta Keo. The steep and narrow steps lead directly to the summit for an incredible view and pleasant thigh burning hike to the top.
When the fatigue of my body began to kick in we proceeded to the famous Jungle Temple, also known as the Ta Prohm Temple. Though the masses also chose to visit it at our precise time, all was worth it. The vines and trees were holding the ancient blocks in place and binding the entirety of the temple together in a splendid view.
In conclusion our tuk tuk driver shuttled us to the Banteay Kdei and Sras Srang Temples. As my buttocks sank into the comfy tuk tuk seat I didn’t really desire to get up and walk around any longer. I fought with comfort and forced my legs back into walking conciousness. Luckily the temples were not as impressive as all the former and 15 minutes was enough.
As the sun sluggishly set over Angkor Wat, my aching thighs were relaxing and my mind was enthralled in ancient thought as I gushed back into the throne of the tuk tuk and felt like a Pharaoh.
Allow your travels to eventually meander towards Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor Wat. The architects and engineers were beyond their years and demonstrated the human ability of imagination, creativity, and construction skills. Though thousands of appreciative spectators have realized this too, it doesn’t miss direct the quality of such man made structure of extravaganza.