Angkor Wat: Part I

For those unfamiliar with Angkor Wat, it is to Cambodia what the pyramids are to Egypt.  It is absolutely amazing and deserves a visit if you’re ever in the area. This part of the trip found its way to the top of our wish list and we made sure to make time for it. Once we arrived in Siem Reap we looked at the available tours. It looked to be about three days to see all of the different sites throughout the entire area or one day to see a select few sites. Not content with either plan, we set out to see everything there was to see within a day. We also said to hell with the tour and rented bicycles to make our own tour.

To ensure that bikes would be available we awoke extremely early, had a quick breakfast in the hotel, and then headed off to the rental shop.  It is lovely how cheap things are in South East Asia, once you get a plane ticket there isn’t much left to worry about and the bike were a typical example of this, costing only a few dollars for a full day’s rental. 
Lacking a tour guide, our next stop was to locate a map. Once we had this in hand, along with my compass purchased prior to the trip, we headed off in the direction of Angkor Wat. We arrived to huge lines of cars and Tuk Tuks [Link to previous article] waiting to get in. Luckily, since we were on bike, we were able to pass them to the non-car line.  Due to, what I’m assuming are ticket scalpers or something, we were required to get a ticket with our picture printed on them. Surprisingly, the process of getting a photo ID was relatively fast and we continued on the road leading up to the temple.

Welcome to Angkor Wat

The road was lined with trees and continued on for some time. Eventually it opened up to an absolutely amazing view of Angkor Wat. A moat formed the perimeter,  so we rode our bikes around to the entrance, locked our bikes, and walked in. Since I couldn’t possibly do justice to Angkor Wat with words, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Angkor Wat from the outside
Angkor Wat from the outside.

Angkor Wat Statue

Angkor Wat art
This was some of the art along the walls of the Wat.

Angkor Wat Hallway
Hallway of Angkor Wat.

Sitting on the steps leading up to one of the rooms.

The whole place was filled with beautiful architecture.

A view from the top looking down back towards the entrance.  

Monkey
The wildlife are also welcome to hang out.
Once we finished up with Angkor Wat, we headed back out towards our bikes. About this time, the heat made it known that the rest of the day would be very hot.  The best way to see the other temples we deemed was with a giant loop along the path that would typically be completed over three days.  Along the way as we rode to the next Wat, we noticed many children dressed up on their way to school. One girl was very friendly and talked with us while we rode to the next destination. Her English was amazing, she learned only by talking to people as she went to and from class. We didn’t have much time to get into conversation before we arrived and she continued on to school.
Cambodian Girl
My friend and the Cambodian girl talking.
Stay tuned for Part II.
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