Discovering the temples of Cambodia are a must when travelling to Southeast Asia. Selena Black, Flight Centre travel expert from our Devonport store shares her experience when visiting these magnificent towering temples in Angkor, Cambodia.
Angkor Archaeological Park is home to the most famous temples in Southeast Asia, located 20 minutes north of Siem Reap and a must see when travelling to Cambodia. Visiting the temples just before sunrise was an unmissable opportunity, so awakening at 4.45am we were dozey-eyed when our Cambodian tuk-tuk driver for the day arrived. He handed us two steaming coffee’s and we departed into the pre-dawn darkness.
The ride to the gates of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap was pleasantly cool as we passed school kids on their bikes, and the odd elephant meandering with his mahout (person who drives an elephant) along the roadside.
When entering the park, make sure you don't get distracted by the persistent Cambodian's selling guidebooks, coffee & souvenirs. You haven't seen the temples yet and might miss those famous first rays of light over the towers. There was no chance to take things slow when we arrived, so we jostled to get the best viewing position. (Tip: Find a space on the banks of a lake with great views of the massive structure. ..you will know it when you see it)!
At 6.28am the sun rays beamed from behind Angkor Wat into both sky and water. It’s hard to believe that this magnificent building, larger than any cathedral, is nearly 1000 years old !!
After almost filling up my camera’s memory trying to capture the dramatic colours from every angle, we returned to our trusty tuk tuk driver (tip: make sure you hire one for the day). The rest of the day was spent exploring the other four temples that make up Angkor Archaeological Park.
Bayon Wat is beautifully creative, with huge faces all over the structures said to closely resemble the king who designed it. Angkor Thom is a fortified city that housed over 1.5 million at the time when London's population was just 50,000. Ta Phrom has been overtaken by tree roots as thick as motorbikes that have caused the temple to crumble in on itself, and was also setting for the movie Tomb Raider.
After nine hours we were starting to drag our feet and requested that Mr Tuk Tuk please take us back to town for 50 cent beers and baguettes.
The only regret I have was not seeing the temples of Angkor from the air. What a sensational sight to behold in the great yellow balloon that allows you a 20 minute aerial view!!
Looking for more information on Cambodia Holidays or cheap flights to Asia? Contact Flight Centre travel expert Selena Black in our Flight Centre Devonport store or one of Flight Centre’s 135 stores nationwide. Phone 0800 24 35 44.