Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Chasing the Sunrise

The rain and thunder around 3 a.m. gave me doubt if I would be able to see sunrise in Angkor Wat.

Anyway my alarm rang at 4.30 a.m., and it was so hard to wake up... but it's once in my life to see sunrise in Angkor Wat. My Tuk Tuk driver had waited for me at 5am and we drove to Angkor War, it's only 15 minute drive from my hotel.

I wasn't the only one in the street. As soon as we turned right to the bigger street, I saw some tourists in their Tuk Tuk. In the street, some resident has already started their morning run as well!

Ticket office is already open and surrounded by tourists. Cambodian is free of charge to enter the Wat, I was told. It costs US$20 for 1-day pass. Using this pass I could go back and forth as many as I could in that day. There is other pass such as 3-day (US$40) and 7-day (US$60) passes.

There are different ticket counters for 1-day pass, 3-day pass or 7-day pass. Interestingly, there is a small camera at the ticket counter where I queued i.e. 1-day pass. Yup, it is just like in the immigration line at the airport. Ticket officer will take pic of each tourist. Smile…! I wonder what the purpose is. Perhaps it is to avoid people using other’s pass instead of purchasing his own?  

Mmm... It's good to see people around the world to wake up this early and travel to the Wat! In the modern word, Angkor Wat means the City Temple.

Waiting for the sunrise at Angkor Wat must be in everyone’s mind. Most visitors in Siem Reap must have an agenda visiting Angkor Wat and plenty of them might want to see the sunrise. I am one of them.

Wow... The pond which is the best spot to see the Wat had already surrounded by crowds! Even though all had to be disappointed as the sun was hiding behind clouds/fog.  

Nearby the pond, there are local vendors selling mineral water, cold soft drinks, a little bit of local snack.

Tents of the vendors

Angkor Wat is a big temple of around 1,000 by 800 m and 4.5 m high. In that morning, I did what I wanted to do; “me time” in Angkor Wat. I walked around the outer wall of the temple myself. It was tranquil…

The feeling of being there, at the World Heritage Site, is always good. As if this largest Hindu temple in the world (dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist) is giving good vibration -J

I read somewhere that one of the ways to enjoy Angkor Wat by chopper and balloon. Look who's in the balloon!!!

As to satisfying myself to know more about the history of the temple, I booked a tour guide for later that morning... So I went back to the hotel and took shower.

By the time I finished breakfast Seila, my tour guide, had waited for me. This guy used to work in a bakery in town until one day he had enough and changed his career to become a guide. He has been doing it for five years and is happy.

The schedule was for him to take me to see three major temples in “Angkor Archaeological Park”: Angkor Wat, Ta Prom (where Angelina Jolie shoot her movie Tomb Raider) and Bayon (Angkor Thom).

Anyway, for the first itinerary, I and Seila went back to Angkor Wat, together with Virek my Tuk Tuk driver. The sun was already up around 9 a.m. It was 33 degree Celsius in early May. Yes, it was hot! So please bring water…

Gorgeous wall ornament

Once more, I was at Angkot Wat, this time was with Seila who is very informative. He showed me parts that I had not gone earlier that morning…

Library for common people @ Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat has a few libraries dedicated for three different classes of people; common people, ministers and the King or royal family. Common people can only enter library that is dedicated for them.

Steep narrow stairs @ Angkor Wat

Different stairs were also dedicated to different classes. The King had used more comfortable ones, of course.

Meanwhile, the staircase for common people is very steep and narrow. As to climb up, feeling like the Spiderman-J as hands are needed to help climbing. Getting down is more challenging…

Beautiful ornament at the wall of Angkor Wat

“Cambodian Riel” is the official currency of Cambodia, however US$ is used everywhere. It is good to bring US$ notes including the small bank notes such as US$ 1 to buy mineral water, etc.

What's coming up next?  They are still related to my 3 day trip in Siem Reap, Cambodia => "Ta Prom" (to see the footprints left behind by Angelina Jolie) and "Bayon" Temples.

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