Angkor Wat

The next morning we got up for the obligatory sunrise-over-Angkor Wat experience along with all the other tourists in Siem Reap – it’s one of those Top-10 guidebook Must Dos. I thought the crowd was impressively large, but our guide told us it wasn’t even half the size that shows up in high season.

The sun rose and the crowd disappeared, like magic. Apparently, people come for the sunrise and then leave to have breakfast around 6 a.m. I didn’t realize people on vacation did anything at 6 a.m.

Except look at ruins, of course.

apsaras

people fall, staircases are gated

bas relief from the 12th century

public pool!

Angkor Wat is the biggest and most famous of all the temples of Angkor and believed to be the largest religious structure in the world. It was in pretty good shape compared to Ta Prohm (and all the other temples, we would come to find out), mostly because it wasn’t abandoned to the jungle when the Khmer court moved to Phnom Penh in the 15th century. (It became a monastery.) For me, the experience was like visiting Versailles: impressive, but impersonal. Almost too epic to fully appreciate.

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