I am not a morning person but I woke up way, way early to catch the sunrise at Ankor Wat. My tour guide fetched me at the hotel. He informed me that some parts of the temple would require me to cover my legs. I was in shorts so he almost had me change my clothes. I already planned my outfit for the temple tour so I showed him the skirt I brought along for cover up. He was hesitant at first but eventually he relented.
We rode the rented tuktuk and in around 15 - 20 minutes we were already at the gates of the Ankor Wat complex. After purchasing the tickets, the tuktuk drove us inside to Ankor Wat temple. A large crowd, with their cameras and tripods, were already there waiting for the sunrise. It was so dark and I cant see much of the temple. As the sky grew brighter, I was then able to see it's silhouette. It was such a surreal experience! The ancient Khmer grandeur was slowly unfolding before my eyes. It felt like I was transported back when this ancient civilization was still thriving.
The sun took so long to come out and around 8 AM the crowd started to disperse. I decided to stay on as I refused to accept that I woke up so early for nothing.
Alas, past 8 AM, the sky slowly became golden, much to the delight of those who stayed. We were so happy when Mr. Sun peeked behind the temple. It was really worth waking up so early to! The sky was a blend of orange, pink and gold.
After the sunrise view, my tour guide decided to visit the other temple complex first and made Ankor Wat temple the last stop of the trip. This is the entrance to Bayon temple and I was pretty excited!
A mighty elephant is off to fetch his passengers. I was so amazed!
Shrine inside the temple complex. An intricate carving of an Apsara dancer on the temple walls.
My tour guide then led me to the Elephant terrace which opens up to a very vast field. You can see in a distance the massive columns. The terrace has a lot of elephant carvings, thus the name. I can say this is one of my favorite places in the whole complex. My tour guide said that this was where exhibitions, tournaments and battle formations took place. My mind was trying to imagine what it was like when their civilization was still flourishing. The place was surely amazing!
Next stop was Ta Phrom temple which is one of the famous spots in Ankor Wat. This is also dubbed as the Tombraider temple as it was where Angelina Jolie shot one of the scenes in the movie. I think Tombraider catapulted the rising popularity of Ankor Wat.
I really imagined the Khmer ancient civilization to be opulent and lavish. I saw this chamber and was wondering why the walls are covered with holes. My tour guide then explained that these holes held gems and precious stones during the ancient civilization. The chamber doesn't have any ceiling or roof so when the sun or the moon shone above it, the walls would sparkle. I was so amazed and my mind tried to recreate how it would have looked way back then. At that moment I wished I could travel back in time so I could really witness the magnificence of this culture.
I didn't notice that we already spent half the day exploring. My tour guide then led me to where the tuktuk parked. I thought we would go lunch together but they just dropped me in the restaurant while they went to eat lunch at an area beside the resto. I tried to insist that we eat lunch together but they declined.
After lunch, we went to the back part of the Ankor Wat temple. I really appreciate my tour guide for this part of the trip. There were very few people entering this side of the temple. The place is so serene. We also met this little fella along the way.
The road leads up to this back part part of Ankor Wat temple. Our stroll was so peaceful. There were also very few people passing this area. I really want to go back someday and bike around the place.
We then went this site where there's still very few tourist...
Finally, my Ankor Wat tour concluded. I felt so happy to just be in that place at that very moment. I kept telling myself to come back and will really take time to admire this wonder.
Before leaving the place, I need to make my mandatory jumpshot! lol It took several takes and this is my almost perfect shot... if only my hair didn't get in the way. :D
I am a Filipina, formerly based in Singapore and is now living permanently in Melbourne. Yet, I am really a global citizen at heart. :)