After leaving the hotel at 4.30am to catch the beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat, we spent a day exploring the fascinating and expansive complex of ruins. Yes this heritage site can get extremely busy but you can see why once you start exploring. A single day ticket costs $20 with most hotels offering cheap tuk-tuk trips for around $10.
We found a gap in the row of people opposite the temple, next to a small lake – ideal for those gorgeous reflection shots. As the super organised person I am, I settled down on the lake edge and munched on a cereal bar whilst Calum set up his tripod and camera. Unfortunately we visited on a bit of a murky day but did manage to get some nice shots.
Once the sun rises, most people take their photo and start exploring the temples. We hovered for longer to take some more photos (about 20 minutes) so by the time we did head into the Angkor Wat Temple it was fairly quiet, allowing for some great shots. Climb the steps, weave through the pillars and stare in awe at the expansive open squared rooms.
Once you have got your fill of Angkor Wat, head back to the entrance where you’ll be whisked off by your tuk-tuk driver (hence the need to book a tuk-tuk driver for the whole morning) to Bayon Temple. This is perhaps my favourite temple in this collection of ruins, with gloriously carved faces into the stone temple. Climb to the top for some great pictures but be careful of the crumbling stone around the edges of the temple.
Next you can head to Preah Khan temple, Thommanom and Chau Say Thevoda temple – they aren’t as impressive or expansive as the first two but usually tend to be a bit quieter.
Then head to Ta Prohm Temple, made famous from its appearance in the Tomb Raider movie. Here you will find a natural jungle growing around, within and on top of this ancient temple. Again, this place allows for some great photo opportunities but is often very busy and it can be difficult to navigate through the crowd, pillars and walkways.
The Angkor Wat ruins demonstrates an amazing history of people and should be high on many bucket lists. Just remember to catch up on sleep and rest after the long day before heading to Pub Street for a few drinks in the evening.
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Viator offer group tours around these amazing ruins.