WOW!! Riding in the back of the tuk tuk, a warm breeze blowing across us (leaving out the description of the grams of red dust we were inhaling), onto a road only seen in movies...large, leafy trees sheltering the one lane road, heading through a small opening in an ancient gateway, nothing but nature surrounding us....majestic
. That's the only word to describe it....Majestic. So amazingly gorgeous! We pull up and there it is...the infamous Angkor Wat! What a spectacle. It is so well preserved, and there weren't very many tourists there first thing in the morning, so it made it extra special. Gigantic, stone structures sprouting out of the ground, behind a large moat, with the sun shining through the clouds. Okay...so I'm no poet...but you get the point! I don't know what that traveler was talking about when he said it wasn't anything spectacular. This is beyond spectacular. We aren't up on our history, but you can only imagine the stories lingering among these wonderful structures. And the best part is....you can explore them! You are free to crawl around, inside, outside, on top of (although I wouldn't highly recommend it)...haha. You can walk through the yards (stay on the path...there might be undiscovered land mines around). The forested areas surrounding the temples seem to be hundreds of years old...so gorgeous and lush.
We spent the day exploring about 5 different temple areas...each so different from the other. A tip...from one traveler to another...USE THE BATHROOM WHEN YOU SEE ONE!! The temple areas are HUGE...and if you wait...you may have a situation on your hands...haha...I wasn't sure that I would make it through...but I wasn't daring enough to pee with the monkeys in the bush!
The Tomb Raider temple is the most commercialized of the bunch...with built in boardwalks through the tumbled rocks
. We ended up taking almost 300 pictures!...of the temples, the jungle growing over the temples, and the amazing scenery! As we were walking through a section of one of the temples, where not much was left standing, I realized....this is the WORST place to be if there is an Earthquake...stuck in the middle of a 50 metre hallway of unstable, gigantic slabs of stone!...with absolutely NO ONE else around! haha...the mind can make anything a little more interesting...lol.
Our day of exploration ended with a trip to Siem Reap's Night Bazaar...a wonderful night market: not over crowded, and very clean. Not to be missed!
Bye Bye Cambodia....we will miss you...but we will be back one day!
We met a traveler, an older gentleman, in Vietnam. He had been to Angkor Wat before and told us that it was "okay"...nothing spectacular he said. So we weren't too sure what to expect. Our tuk tuk driver, Mr. Thom, picked us up at 8:30am to get an early start....yes...that IS early...haha. We stopped at the front gate to purchase our day pass (~$20 US) and the lady tells me to smile! Smile?? What for? So I do...with a slight confused look on my face. About 30 seconds later, she hands me my day pass...with my photo on it! haha...awesome! There is a fine of $150 if you are caught in the temple areas without your pass...it's quite a smart system they have.