There aren’t many things in the world that are worth waking up at 4:00am for, but after visiting the Angkor temples, we can say this is definitely one of them!
We left the Tropical Breeze Guest House at 4:30am in a fleet of tuk tuks driven by a Mr Lucky, Mr Im and Mr Bothan, who would be taking us to the temple ruins that lay hidden in the jungle.
Our journey was short, with only a quick stop to purchase our day passes for the temples, before leaving the city and tarmac behind for dirt tracks running through dense jungle. We passed wide rivers that reflected the early morning sky that was starting to shine as we reached the first, and most famous of the temples, Angkor Wat.
Everybody was excited to see the sun rise over the black silhouette of Angkor Wat, so we hurried to a nearby ruin close to the main path, giving us a great view of the temple. As the sun began to rise, we were amazed by what we were seeing. It is impossible to describe how incredible the view was!
After taking many photos, we moved inside the temple to explore the impressive and world famous sand stone, which was decorated with detailed engravings. Reaching the top of the temple, I was particularly amazed by the panoramic view we had of the temple’s courtyard and the infinite jungle that surrounded it, which was tainted by the golden glow of the rising sun.
Mr Lucky and his associates took us to two other temples, the first of which was Bayon. This temple was a smaller site than Angkor Wat, but was still just as detailed and intricate as the previous. The second temple, Ta Prohm, was covered in trees and scaffolding, which supported the 12th century structure from the hundreds of years of erosion. This temple was perhaps the most crowded, due to it’s co-starring role with Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raider film.
Visiting a number of smaller temples during the morning, we saw a glimpse of the wildlife that lived in the jungles of Cambodia, including a Gibbon, some parrots (we think they were parrots) and elephants that were carrying tourists to temples. Whilst the elephants may not have been the happiest mammals alive, they gave us hope that we would see one during the jungle trek.
Visiting this world heritage site today has definitely been the highlight of the expedition so far and the whole team is excited to see what Cambodia has for us next, in Battambang…