Day 59 – Saturday, 03 March 2012, Part 1 of 3 – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat
This will be a three part post as a big morning with lots of photos taken sites at three sites around siem reap. I will put the bulk on to Flickr as it is easier to mass upload there.
It was a cool day !(well it was a damn hot day really, I merely can dream of cool days) I have wanted to see the temples of Angkor for many years and this was one of the two key reasons for coming to South East Asia, the other was seeing the orang-utans which I did in Borneo.
Angkor Wat (Temple that is a city) is huge ! it is the largest religious structure in the world, it surrounded by a moat that is 190m wide and is 1.5km long and 1.3km wide. The structure was started in the 1100’s and has never been abandoned to the jungle which has resulted in a its remarkable condition. I wont go into the detail of how and why it was built here as that is a huge story in itself – worth reading.
We elected to do Angkor Wat as a sunrise visit, which meant getting up at 4.15 and being collected by our tuk tuk driver at 4.30, the ride out to the site was for me full of anticipation ! When we arrived there were not too many people about and I bought a coffee off of one of the touts and then threw it away as it was disgusting… grrrr. There is no signposting anywhere and stupidly we had failed to read up on the site so wandered blindly (I had a torch) around in the dark for about twenty minutes, crossing paths with a number of other tourists also blindly wandering around. I had made an assumption on where east was based on a light glow on the horizon, which did not match the direction of the book when we finally read it. Mike then realised the glow was the wash from the town and not the slwoly rising sun, Doh! So we went and joined the ever growing hoards on the bank of a large pond.
The sunrise was highly unspectacular and was verging on being a waste of a lie in, but once the sun was high enough to see by we started our tour of the site while it was cool and before the mass of tourists arrived.
My plan was to do the outside of the site first, followed by the inner ring and then finally the centre where the towers were, with this in mind we walked the almost km to the far eastern wall to catch some of the early morning light.
I had read in the guide book, that the bulk of the early morning visitors disappear back to their hotels for breakfast after the sunrise, and this proved to be the case. For the first hour it almost appeared as if we had Angkor Wat to ourselves and I managed to get a lot of photos with no people in them. We pretty much followed my plan outside first with a visit to the eastern gate.
Followed by a walk around the outer wall rim which is one large bas relief almost 1.2km long. The detail carved into the stone is astounding and most of it is in phenomenally good condition.
From there we ventured into the site itself and checked out more of the carvings and statues.
The crowd was starting to pick up at 7.30, when we were almost first into the queue to climb the central tower which is fifty five metres high and has incredibly steep stairs. The view from the top was pretty good.
For seem reason my camera was chewing through batteries and I used two batteries before we left Angkor Wat and I only took a hundred or so photos, I can understand the twenty second exposures sucking battery life but not normal shooting. I had to use my phone for a the last few shots.
After Angkor we went back to the GH so I could get my third battery for the visit to Ta Promh. I also took the view finder off as this uses some power – fortunately, apart from dropping my camera, I had no issues at Ta Promh.
As we left Angkor we were faced with the hoards making their way in, a good time to leave. It was a pretty awesome place, I will definitely go back there one day, rainy season next time.
I posted more photos on Flickr as it is ony slightly less frustrating than posting photos here.
2 thoughts on “Angkor Wat !!!”
Your first picture broke my heart. Sharing Angkor with all those people just isn’t the same. And the glimpses of Siem Reap I saw in your other photos suggest that the place has grown in the last 12 years. Sounds a bit selfish of me but the locals have the right to grow, progress and lead a modern life.
That was just a small section of the crowd there, it wa massive ! Siem Reap has apparently changed significantly in the past few years, there a large number of VERY big hotels now, luckily on the fringe so the centre is still reasonably unchanged I would imagine.
The good thing is there is no tourist infrastructre at the sites still…
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