Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
163Trip End May 02, 2013
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On our first full day in Siem Reap, we decided to take to the temples on two wheels; bicycles provided by our hotel. A narrow paved road flanked by red dirt shoulders and forest links these ancient cities and monuments. Being still the week of Chinese New Year, the way was crowded with Cambodian tuk-tuks (motorbike-drawn rickshaws), cars and buses of all sizes. The traffic here is perhaps best described as organized chaos; relative speed and right of weight dictate your pace.
Our first stop was of course Angkor Wat, the most famous temple of them all, built in the 12th century. We were awe-struck from the moment we laid eyes on it just beyond the surrounding moat with the blistering sun high in the sky again. The scale of the structures alone is enormous, not to mention that the huge sandstone blocks used to build them were floated 50 km down the river to the site
Cycling a few kms north took us through the south gate of Angkor Thom, a huge fortified city that was home to one million people when London had only 50,000, according to Lonely Planet. Inside, the well-photographed Bayon revealed its 54 towers with 216 giant human faces looking down from all four directions.
Over six hours and two hundred photos later we arrived back at our hotel, tired but looking forward to exploring more of Angkor's temples in the coming days.
Day 2 (January 29)
Sunrise at Angkor Wat has become one of the main attractions around here. We hired a tuk-tuk for the day, hopped on at 5:00 am and sat or stood among many a tourist for an hour and a half. The beauty of the temple’s towers reflected in the pool was somewhat obscured by clouds, but we still enjoyed the experience.
From there we were driven back to Angkor Thom to see the Baphuon (the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle), Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, followed by several more distant temples and finally Ta Prohm, a temple crumbling from the weight and growth pattern of the roots of centuries-old trees that still soar to the sky.
Feeling satisfied with our Temples of Angkor adventures, we headed 'home’ to organize more of our pictures, after a quick dip in the pool of course.