This is our little diary of a our 99 days travelling South East Asia.

Day 66: Angkor Archaeological Park

Day 66: Angkor Archaeological Park

Claire: Our happy chappy tuk tuk driver picked us up at 8am today for our tour of Angkor Archaeological Park. We've actually always referred to it as Angkor Wat, however that is just one of the many temples in the park, but probably the most iconic one! 


Entering the park we were astounded by the surroundings. Beautiful tree lined roads, forests, monkeys! Our first stop was the biggie — Angkor Wat, a hindu temple surrounded by a gigantic moat. Our tuk tuk parked up and we walked across the bridge and entered the first gate welcomed by a wide avenue leading to the temple. Just in front was a lily pond offering a perfect photo op with the reflection in the waters.


I was amazed by the amount of detail in the temple, particularly the bass reliefs and carvings which depict historical events and mythological stories (we learnt a bit about those yesterday!). The temple is made with sandstone blocks and it blows my mind how this was achieved all those years ago. The mountains are more than 50km away and it's thought they were floated down the Siem Reap river on rafts but still such an operation must've required some serious planning and human strength.

Unfortunately we couldn't visit the top level of Angkor Wat as I wasn't 'appropriately dressed'. Which was ridiculous because I only had my wrists and ankles on show and there was girls walking around with shoulders and knees out... never mind. He didn't like my scarf.


Back on our tuk tuk we headed to Angkor Thom, via some elephants!!! Although I loved seeing them I wish I hadn't as they had wooden seats attached to them for tourists which is so so cruel. Such beautiful giants.


Bayon temple is pretty special because it marks the change from Hindu to Buddhism in Angkorian history. It was built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII who embraced Buddhism and made it the country's primary religion. Also known as the 'face temple' there's over 200 faces of Bayon, giving it a mystical touch. 

Bayon is probably the second most popular temple in Angkor but it was a thousand times more peaceful than Angkor Wat. We did wonder if many people just come to visit that one temple, which is such a shame as they're all so impressive in their unique ways. Personally we much preferred Angkor Thom as we pretty much had it to ourselves. But then I think we were the only nutters still walking around in midday sun...


What ended up being our last temple of the day was Ta Prohm, famous for it's appearance in Tomb Raider. It was the most crumbling ruins we'd seen so far and we weren't allowed into some of it due to corridors filled with fallen down rubble. Some walls are propped up with metal, there's trees growing out the ruins and on side there was just piles and piles of stones.

Towards the back of the temple we see that part of it is being renovated. We read a huge sign that explains the restoration work taking place on it (must be easier these days with power tools and machinery!) but we do spot a man hand chiselling the artwork into stone which was pretty incredible. 

I think it was safe to say we were templed-out after 6hours of sightseeing so we got our tuk tuk back to the hotel for a few hours by the pool. Ahh...


Gav's day 66 takeaway

  • Saw some temples...
  • And more temples...
  • Apparently they're pretty old. And they look it.
  • Why did they need so many temples?
  • Temple, temple, temple...
  • Yawn...
  • I'm quite hungry.


Day 67: Sunset at Angkor Wat

Day 67: Sunset at Angkor Wat

Day 65: Siem Reap

Day 65: Siem Reap