4 am, the unholy hour and of our awakening. Today was the big day for Angkor Wat, interesting fact about Angkor is that no other building in town is allowed to be higher than Angkor Wat which is about 5-6 floors high. One of the main Angkor experiences is getting up early and going to the temple to see the sun rise. We were walking in pure darkness on our way to the temple we had a guide named bunny to guide us there in the sea of cellphone flashlights illuminating our path. The guide brought us to a nice not too busy spot and he then brought us some hot chocolate and coffee. Rarely drinking coffee, I split one with my roommate, Ben. It was the best coffee I had ever had, I think it was made with sweetened milk in traditional Cambodian style. As it begun to brighten up, we could see the magnificent Angkor shade, it’s sheer size was breathtaking and awe inspiring.
We were sitting next to a little pond with lily pads and pink lotus’.The pictures I was able to get of the temple, flowers and reflection of the temple on the water are out of this world, truly a surreal feeling. When the sun finally came up bunny made us all back up to be able to get better pictures. I left the group at this point and climbed onto one of the mini temples for a better view. This was the “Shot” of Angkor, this is when you truly feel the presence and greatness of this temple. It’s not a feeling I can explain, one that can only be felt in these magical places of the world, last time I felt it was Machu Picchu. It was nice to relapse into the mystique.
After about an hour we headed back to the hotel for breakfast and another little power nap before we headed back out to the temple. Bunny first brought us to the jungle temple, which was currently being restored like the rest of the Siem Reap temples. It’s a major Cambodian and Indian investment project. 15 million dollars have currently been put into
the re-construction and conservation of Angkor Wat and surrounding temples. India is hugely involved with this project because their culture and Cambodian culture are very similar. The jungle temple was a lot smaller than Angkor but it had it’s own sense of wonder being perfectly blended into the trees and roots of the area. There was a cool room where a deep voice and hum could echo but no other sound could, so after a bit of practice I was able to do it, thanks to my projecting voice. We explored the jungle temple for 1 hour and headed to Angkor after that.
On the approach to Angkor we saw a lot of monkeys. My first time seeing this many monkeys I was quite excited but bunny calmed me down quickly by explaining how aggressive they were and were threatened if we ever smiled at them. Whenever
monkeys fight they show their teeth trying to show off how damaging and big their teeth are. So by smiling at them and showing our teeth, we would be challenging them to a biting contest. Not something I wanted to get into. Walking through the jungle for 10-15 minutes, we finally caught a glimpse of Angkor Wat. I was again marveled by the sheer size of the temple, revibing back into the mystique of it all, we explored the inner ruins and central tower to get an amazing view from the inside of this solid fortress.
We left Angkor and went back to the hotel for a 20 minute break where we could squeeze in another re-energification session, AKA Power nap. We had to wake up for 4:30pm to
go on a quad trip around the local farms of the area. I hadn’t driven a quad in a while so it was nice to do it again. Becca and I decided to split on the cost of the tour by pairing up, she hadn’t driven a quad very often so she let me drive for the tour. I got quite lucky! We stopped, it was in the middle of a rice field where there were random bulls and oxes, which I got to ride.
There were several Cambodians laboring in the fields while the red sun was setting, one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever felt. It looked a little like the prairies of Saskatchewan, flat with the most beautiful skies you had ever seen. The whole day was unbelievable and was able to feel the true beauty of Cambodia, it couldn’t have been any better.
Stay awesome and follow your dreams.