“Timeless yet timeworn, grand but intimate, oblivious to the passing centuries even as the jungle devours its huge stone walls, Angkor Wat and the scores of temples that surround it hint at eternity, only to remind us that nothing is eternal.” – Seth Mydans, NYT
Angkor Wat (nickname City of Temples).
A 12th century temple built by King Suryavarman II. The height of classical Khmer architecture. A symbol of Cambodia, appearing on her national flag.
Extensive bas-reliefs and devatas (divine nymphs; celestial dancing girls) adorning its wall. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers.
Forming a rectangle area of about 1,500 by 1,300 metres, covers an area – including its 190 metre wide moats – of nearly 200 hectares. The quincunx of towers rising 65 m from the ground. Water moat surrounding the temple has a perimeter of 5.5 km.
Take several days. If you only have one day, it’s a must to visit Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Angkor Temple map. Credit to Tourism Cambodia
We stayed at Mekong Angkor Palace (RM80 for a room inclusive of air-conditioning, wifi, hot shower, complimentary breakfast and pickup from bus station) and hired Mr. San Borin as our tuk-tuk driver who customised the day tour for us. San Borin’s price of $20 for a day was a steal for the four of us. You may contact him here, according to him the website was setup by a passenger who admires his friendly service.
The best time to visit Angkor Wat is perhaps sunrise, the sun rises over the ancient temple.
He picked us before dawn, at 5 a.m., to shuttle us to the entry gate to buy the 1-Day ticket ($20) and came prepared with a cooler filled with bottles of ice-cold water to keep us hydrated and wet tissue.
The Naga (a semi-deity, a serpent-god of the waters, depicted with several heads) greeted us at the entrance.
Pick up any guide book, read any online resources, any visitors recommendation on Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor, and your head will be spinning. Thankfully San Borin suggested us a route for us to conquer the significant sites and enjoy our day in Angkor.
The Angkor Wat Temple Complex for Sunrise
* Breakfast and a cup of Cambodian coffee
The “Great City” of Angkor Thom for Morning
(including Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Terrace of Elephants, and Preah Palilay)
* Water, cap, small change for donations
Thommanon, Chao Say Tevada, and Ta Prohm for the Afternoon
* Lunch break and beer, water
Angkor Wat again for the Evening
* Plastic raincoat and umbrella
Aerial view of Angkor Wat, showing the moat and causeway and the central tower surrounded by four smaller towers. Credit to Shutterstock @ Alexey Stiop.