Siem Reap

We have finally arrived at my favorite part of the trip, Siem Reap. Siem Reap is located in northwestern Cambodia, and is home to Angkor Wat. Although most people have heard of Angkor Wat, this is just one temple that is part of an enormous complex of ancient temples. You could spend weeks exploring all of them, although we found two days to be sufficient to see the main ones.

Before going, I assumed Angkor was going to be similar to Bagan, just a little more touristy. What I wasn’t prepared for was how beautiful the grounds themselves were. There are forests, streams, farmland and everything in between within the complex, which made for beautiful travel between the temples. IMG_5350

IMG_5393We hired a tuktuk to take us around the first day, to some of the outer temples. We decides to save Angkor Wat itself, along with Bayon and its surrounding temples, for the next day.

I apologize in advance for being a bad blogger and not writing down the names of all the specific temples. I was too happy just soaking up the atmosphere of each to take notes.IMG_5356 IMG_5371 IMG_5373 IMG_5383 IMG_5403 IMG_5413 IMG_5420IMG_5423IMG_5425IMG_5438Okay, so I almost didn’t make it up this one. These stairs were SO steep. Apparently the steepness of the stairs is representative of how difficult it is to achieve enlightenment. If that’s true, I’m likely to be huffing and puffing and nearly falling to my death several times as I try to get on Buddha’s level.

This was the last temple we visited on the first day. Early the next morning, we were up at 4 am to see the sunrise behind Angkor Wat.

It didn’t turn out to be a sunrise so much as a gradual sky lightening, but the masses gathered nevertheless. IMG_5486What was interesting was that although everyone lined up to watch the sunrise (kind of a bucket list thing), hardly anyone actually went inside Angkor Wat itself. We basically had the place to ourselves.

IMG_5512 IMG_5506 IMG_5514 We did manage to find someone to take our picture, though.

The best part of Angkor Wat was leaving it, actually. The early morning sun illuminated it in an absolutely gorgeous way.IMG_5526 IMG_5532After leaving Angkor, we headed to Bayon, another of the more famous temples in the complex. Bayon is famous for its enormous stone-carved faces, and quickly became my favorite temple of the trip.IMG_5541 IMG_5542 IMG_5551 IMG_5544I could have wandered around here for hours, but alas, we had more templin’ to do.IMG_5559      IMG_5538 IMG_5561 IMG_5565 IMG_5568 IMG_5571 IMG_5578 IMG_5574 I know this post has been somewhat an inundation of photos, but I couldn’t stop taking them and I want to share them all! Siem Reap is one of the most magical (ugh, I know) places I’ve ever been. I was happy as a clam walking in, through and around every single one of the temples, because there was something cool around every corner.

Our day of sightseeing made us quite hungry. Hungry enough to eat bugs, in fact. But that, my friends, is a post for another day!

 

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