Angkor What?

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
New Riverside

Flag of Cambodia  , Khétt Siĕm Réab,
Saturday, October 23, 2010


Day : 162
Temperature : 32 degrees
Weather : Mostly sunny

10 years. Over 10 years. Yes, I've waited a long, long time to come to see Angkor Wat. So, eventually we are here and the temple is covered in chuffing scaffolding, huge green tarpaulin sheets, and even has white portacabins with thatched roofs built on it.....marvellous!!!! Sigh....

It is absolutely impossible to get ANY decent photographs of Angkor Wat in the daylight. However, with cunning use of Photoshop, it is possible to get that iconic image of the temple silhouetted at sunrise...thank goodness for that, otherwise I think I would have had a slight temple tantrum!

We had thought about hiring two bicycles to get around all the temples, however, after speaking to some people who'd been here a few days we soon realised that the distances between all the temples are much greater than we'd previously thought. Instead, we hired a tuk-tuk for a few days and we bought a three day access pass to the temples.

On day one, we visited the vast site of Angkor Thom and the Bayon. From there we did Ta Keo, Ta Prom (aka The Tomb Raider Temple..where the film was made) and Banteay Kdei. That was enough for one day. On day two we had arranged for our tuk-tuk driver to collect us from the hotel at 5am for the sunrise at Angkor Wat.....except we woke up at 5.30am and had a fit! Through some miraculous feat, we threw our clothes on ran downstairs, sped through town in the tuk-tuk and incredibly managed to get to Ankor Wat just before 6am....along with the other millions of tourists. From there we did the grand tour circuit  visiting Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup...however, by the time we reached the last temple we had both had enough. We returned to our hotel for the afternoon and literally slept until dinner time!

The temples at Angkor are seriously impressive. Some of the well preserved stone carvings are exquisite. The huge tree roots growing into the temples really give it a lost world feel. The way the light streams in through the pillars and doorways is beautiful. They are a photographer's dream....if you can get past the hundreds of other tourists. We really had to work hard to get photographs without other tourists in them, although on some occasions, for example at Angkor Wat, we left the throngs and ventured into the temple and through to the other side. The sunlight was so soft at this side and the colours were beautiful..and best of all, there were no other tourists. We virtually had it to ourselves. On the whole, I did feel disappointed by all hundreds of stalls everywhere with sellers literally shouting at you inside the temples "you want water, t-shirts, souvenirs, pineapple, mango, banana, coconut???", "No? Maybe later, you buy from me ok? You buy for your driver, ok?". Welcome to mass tourism. Furthermore, the roads pass so close to the temples that you are constantly surrounded by the noise of tuk-tuks, motorbikes and buses....except when the bands start up and the drums start banging. Actually, the bands were played by the victims of landmines, who play music at the temples for money rather than beg on the streets. 

The whole experience was a complete contrast to the serene one that we had at Borobodur temple where all the stalls, car parks and roads are about a 15 minute walk from the temple, so you really feel that you have been transported to another's quiet and peaceful, you can look down on the valleys below and all you can hear are the birds squaking in the trees and the occasional soft murmur of the few other people that are there. I guess we really were spoilt in Borobodur.

Anyway, our tuk-tuk driver is apparently sick today....maybe he had too much to drink last night? we are taking the opportunity to lounge around the pool this morning, then maybe go to the temples this afternoon.

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Antony on

Pics look great to me and never mind the use of photo shop. Like the ones of the tree roots growing down through the temple....sure I have not seen this somewhere before at the movies aka Angelina Jolie or something tomb raiderish.

Dave Jones on

Hi Kev &Dom

Just spent the last two days reading your blog from day one. Sounds like you are having a great but eventful time. Keep it coming as I have enjoyed it very much. I think I can feel a book coming on Dom!

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