Ultimately we came to Siem Reap for the famous Angkor Wat, which are the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th century. It extends over 400 square kilometres and the easiest way to get around is on a tuktuk. We explored it on Andrews birthday, our $12 tuk tuk driver picked us up at 4:30am so we could watch the sunrise. We arrived at 5:20am, just as the sun was starting to rise, and ran down the path towards the Angkor Wat temple where we stood in the crowd watching the sky change from pinks, oranges and yellows to blue. I was surprised at how busy it was for this time in the morning, everyone seemed to have had the same idea and fought to get the best viewing spot. After a cheer and a swift overpriced omelette at the aptly named “Lady GaGas Cafe” we roamed the ruins of Angkor Wat.
We started off with the actual Angkor Wat, which was a maze of stone built corridors, stairs and gardens. Roxanne and I photographed and posed our way around the entire thing, as Andrew walked on ahead begging us to keep up. It was here where I saw my fist wild monkey in Asia, which sat quite comfortably on the ruins. There is various Khmer artwork scattered around, in the form of muriel’s, mosaics and carvings. We listened in on several tour guide explanations of this art in order to gain more understanding.
The second stop was Bayon temple, which again was a maze of stone work, the difference with this was that many of the stones had large heads engraved in. We clambered up some steep stony steps in order to gain a panoramic view of the temple and another perfect photo opportunity..even if it did result in a very scary climb back down to safety.
We decided to leave the tuk tuk for the next section and walk our way to the next destination, on route we found more ruins scattered around, and soon set about climbing the stairs to an intriguing empty doorway at the top. We did not know where the doorway used to lead, but it looked interesting nonetheless.
The final, and possibly most interesting spot is most commonly known as ‘the temple where Tomb Raider was filmed’. We ran, shot and rolled our way around the ruins, clambered up wooden stairs and marvelled at the giant tree roots which had grown into, and become a part of the ruins. We giggled as hoards of Asian tourists reaped up the photo opportunities as we waited our turn to do the infamous tomb raider pose.
Feeling extremely templed out, we eventually found our way out of the maze of rubble, rocks and trees and went to find our tuktuk driver. After what felt like a long day, but was actually only 11am we headed back and slept until 4 in the afternoon…