Angkor Wat Buddhist Temple – Siem Reap

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Angkor Wat Buddhist Temple

I first came to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, when I was travelling around Cambodia and Sri Lanka for 2 months and with very little idea about the area; other than it was supposed to be very interesting and that it is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

This post will be only for the main temple of Angkor wat as the whole site is a huge complex of 1.626.000m2 (Oh yes!) where I will be referring to a separate post. The main temple is our first and last stop on a 3 day trip to this historic area.

By the Cambodia history, in which “” the builder of Angkor Wat was a king named Suryavarman II. He came to power in his teenage years by killing his great uncle, Dharanindravarman I, while he was riding an elephant. An inscription says that Suryavarman killed the man “as Garuda (a mythical bird) on a mountain ledge would kill a serpent.”” Read more about the history,  this temple manages to win the heart of millions of visitors every year. 

Looking back over my notes, photos, videos from those days, I notice the shock and the exhatasy of my first view of the site. I meet with my new friend, named Malini and our Tuk Tuk driver and early in the morning at 5:00 am we arrive in the temple to watch the sunrise as it is the normal time of all the visitors who wish to enjoy it.

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

We are standing on the edge of a big lake of a long dusty pavement opposite the Temple. From here you can admire it’s breathtaking beauty as the sun starts to rise. Along the river front, more than a hundred people with all kind of cameras try to catch the movement of the golden sun. 

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

The first sunbeams it begins to appear and a magical picture like a postcard begins to reveal it’s beauty. This view is deeply touching. We sit quietly for a quite some time, amongst a group of tourists, like us, to admire the scenery. 

Angkor Wat Temple - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples- sunrise

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

We leave the main temple area, where we discover the other temples and on the 3rd day late afternoon, hot and humid we arrive back to the temple. 

Walking through a big path, and observed the entrance at the end, we enter the “gate” where we climb a few steps to enter in the towers area. Closer to the statues there are mendicants and monks praying. 

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

After passing through a series of small towers we come into the external area, where we notice a small queue. At least 20 people are here and it’s the queue for the main central tower. A written signage refers to a waiting time of an hour, during pick times, luckily not in our case. The main tower is at approximately 65 meters high, accessible through uneven, slippery steps.

The temple consists of small enclosure walls and it is surrounded by breathtaking views. I turn to gaze out over the view the edge of the balcony where a group of Japanese cluster around me for the same reason. We spent a good deal of time around the site and grow fond of its beauty, its atmosphere and the monks. Like many travellers, I was attracted by the serenity of the monks.

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

On the way down, I keep my eyes on the steps and my legs getting cramped…The steps are too steep and small. A lady starts shouting as she is really scared. We stuck for 5 minutes and I feel my heart cold, as I am not so fond of heights. Once I am down I feel relived.

With my mind still boggling over those steps we leave the site and we head for a coconut juice. Outside the main site area there are a numerous shops with food and drinks.

Continue on foot and we reach to our last stop, a mini lake. We see a photographer exercising his duty with two monks and lots of people posing for photos. Turning around in a beam of sunset, it comes to us that we rarely seen such a beauty! Our heart starts pounding and we stay speechless. Here you can see the panoramic area of the temple and it’s reflection on the lake. Some times dreams just stand out there, in front of you!

Even after leaving it behind, the picture of the last view kept returning to me like some haunting flash of life. I close my eyes and I feel my presence still there, to that last moment.

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Angkor Wat Temple - maninio.com - Cambodia - Travel - Asian temples

Things to consider:

  • Visit the main temple during sunrise or sunset. Trust me you will experience one of the best scenes ever and you will have magnificent photos. Besides that, in the middle of the day it’s very hot – during summer – and you will not be able to enjoy the Temples.
  • Opening hour is 5:00 am (the upper level though opens only at 7:30) and closes at 5:30pm.
  • Angkor Wat Temple is the largest of all the ones. We spent 2.5 hours in total.
  • Appropriate dressing is needed.
  • The price of a single-day ticket to the whole temple complex during 2016 was $20 but nowadays has been increased to to $37, a three-day pass was $40 and has been increased to $62 and a seven-day ticket was $60 and has been increased to $72. If you wanna see all the Temples take the three-day pass, which I highly recommend. If you have limited time just buy the single one and visit the Angkot Wat Temples and 1-2 other of main Temples. 
  • US dollar is the main currency.
  • Temples of Angkor are situated at 7km away from the town of Siem Reap.
  • It’s cheaper to hire a Tuk Tuk driver and buy the tickets than book a whole tour from travel agents. Even cheaper is to hire a bike and tour around but during summer I would not recommend it. Me and my travel friend Malini, which I met there, we hired Mr Keath as Tuk Tuk driver. Excellent service including cold water, very polite, cheerful, he speaks very well English, he bought our tickets to avoid the queue, he proposes places for the nicest photos and acts as Photographer also. 🙂 Highly recommended! You can find his services on his Facebook page here: Keath Sothea – Tuk Tuk Driver (Please note that it’s my personal opinion only and it’s not a sponsored post)
  • The weather is cooler from November to February but with a huge amount of tourists. 
  • You can find below a Temple map that I sourced from Canbypublications.com and I changed it a little bit, so you  have an idea of the area.

Angkor war Buddhist temple - maninio.com - temples -

  • You can have a look of the Temple on the following video. NOTE: Nothings prepares for the real thing. It’s even more spectacular of any photo or any video you watch, so put it on your bucket list. 🙂

     Happy Journey and I am waiting for any comments or requests you may have. 🙂

24 Comments

  1. I lost almost all my footage from my travels in South East Asia (esp Angkor Wat) so this is making me reminisce heaps! Also great tips – a lot of people were unaware of appropriate dressing while I was there so glad you mentioned it!
    Did you get a bracelet tied on by a monk too? I did back in 2015 and it’s still on my wrist (you’re not suppose to remove it from memory). 🙂 great post!

  2. meghanramsey1

    I love the pictures of the sunrise! Ankor Wat is somewhere I have to visit eventually. Will save this for when I do! 🙂

  3. Wow, this place is just stunning. I can’t die before visiting Angkor Wat, seriously. Every time I read about it I just got myself more and more fascinated! Thanks for sharing your experience

  4. Wow that’s huge! The vibrant colors of the monks’ robes really stood out against the walls. I’m quite surprised to hear that the entrance fees costs this much though.

    Btw I love your slogan! Hungreek, that’s really cute! =D

    • Hello Kristine!!!! Thank you for your message!! Hungreek = Hungry Greek hahahaha, as I am always hungry for food and new travels 🙂
      Oh yes! the Angkor wat is hugeeeee, its impossible to visit everything even within 3 days, but on the same time it’s the ideal place for photography and history.

      I checked your website and it’s fantastic!! I may need you in the future as I am thinking to redesign my website 🙂
      <3 🙂

  5. What an incredible place Angkor Wat is! We were really fortunate to visit in low season and my photographer other half spent ages taking those sunrise shots – so by the time we got around to seeing the actual temples it was a bit quieter! Need to get back there asap! 🙂

  6. I enjoyed this photo essay about the main temple of Angkor Wat, and I’m looking forward to seeing your post on the rest of the complex! The “things to consider” section was really helpful, so since it’s on my bucket list, I will save for reference. So interesting that USD is the main currency!

  7. Excellent photos! The sunrise over Angkor Wat is amazing, what a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing these.

  8. Those pictures are so beautiful, I can’t even imagine how it looks in real life!! Adding this to my bucket list 🙂

  9. I had no idea this place was so huge, I thought it was really about Angkor wat only and didn’t knew the place was actually a complex of many temples! Angkor wat have been on my wish list for long, seeing the sunrise there sounds like a remarkable experience.

  10. The only time I was in the area was a month long trip to Thailand – unfortunately I didn’t make it to Cambodia. But a lot of travelers I met shared their stories, and despite Angkor Wat being one of the main destinations, everyone agreed it was definitely worth a visit. Your photos prove that right, the one with the reflection and the monk is indeed incredible! I had no idea how big it was though, and that 3 days were a good time for a visit, wow. Looking forward to explore one day 🙂

  11. I love how you went for those sunrise photos! That’s true dedication! 🙂 Looks like it was well worth it though!

  12. I have been reading a lot about the Angkor buddhist temple but I have your post is one of my favorites 🙂

  13. this is one of my dream destinations. the sunrise over the temple is so gorgeous

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