Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 2 Angkor Park - Morning: Exploring Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

22nd October 2015

We arranged with the hostel for our tuk-tuk driver to fetch us at 5:00 a.m. However, both of us were 10 minutes late. We met with the driver and told him where we wanted to go but he told us that Preah Khan and other temples on the Big Circuit should be reserved for the next day. I told him we were not interested in other Big Circuit temples, except Preah Khan. He relented and agreed with our plan. The following day would be spent visiting the Outlying Temples, namely Banteay Srey and Beng Mealea and it would cost us USD40, after reducing it down from USD45.

It was still dark when we arrived at Angkor Archaeological Park Office to buy the three-day passes for USD40 per person.

We reached Angkor Wat Western causeway at about 5:30 a.m. and there were many people there already. The moat was in front of us and I thought this was the spot to take the sunrise photo (I only realised that there was another spot inside Angkor Wat beside a lake to take the sunrise photographs later that morning).

I also realised that visiting Angkor Wat in the morning was not a good idea for photography because the glare from the rising sun behind Angkor Wat made it impossible to take good pictures.

Angkor Wat is a big place. First, we had to cross the moat via the causeway before entering the gate. Behind the gate were a large expanse of land, two lakes, food stalls and two small ancient structures. From the gate, you walked to Angkor Wat, which is one of the reasons for coming to Siem Reap.

We were still exploring Angkor Wat when CTT received an SMS from our driver to hurry up, saying that we still have a few places to go. We pushed ourselves a little to hurry up and ended our visit at about 9:10 a.m.

From Angkor Wat, we proceeded to Angkor Thom through the South Gate. Angkor Thom consists of Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King and other smaller temples. Our driver took us to the far end, which was the parking lot and told us he would be waiting for us there before driving us back to the other end to begin our visit from Bayon. From there, we walked to the North-West to see Baphuon Temple and from there, we walked to the two terraces, where there was not much to see except for some bas-relief on the wall before we ended the morning at the parking lot. CTT messaged/ called the driver when we could not find him. He came and drove us to another spot at the parking lot for our lunch.

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