Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Now is probably the best time to visit Angkor Wat. Tourism hasn’t fully picked up in Cambodia, and as a result, you can get a buy one-day and get the second day free ticket right now. Less crowding makes the visit more pleasant.

Less tourists also mean you get front row seats to watch sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Siem Reap is a short 2-hr flight from Kuala Lumpur. The cab fare from the the airport to our hotel also appears to have dropped in price due to the lower demand. In fact our entire trip (flights, transportation, visas, tickets, and meals) cost us less than $400. Hotel was “free” using points. Lower demand netted us a 750-sq ft suite upgrade at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap.

Bedroom
Bathroom

Our early morning arrival into Siem Reap meant we could hit the ground running. After breakfast at the hotel, we grabbed our tuk tuk and were off to explore Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat is probably a good place to have a guidebook as there were absolutely no onsite information plaques to tell you what you’re looking at. Unfortunately, we had no guidebook. So we just had to stroll through the sites first, and brush up on the history afterwards.

Angkor Wat is just one temple complex out of 72 within the city of Angkor. To see everything in the area will require at least 2 days, which is how much time we had (thank you Air Asia for cutting our time short).

The Angkor Wat complex sits on 400 acres of land, which translates to 302 football fields. The stone temple is situated within an outer wall that is surrounded by a moat. Built by the Khmer empire in the early 12th century, it is the largest religious monument in the world. Originally a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, Angkor Wat was later converted to a Buddhist temple towards the late 12th century.

The restored 7-headed half human and half serpent Naga sits next to the unrestored lion at the head of the bridge across the moat. Naga is often associated with bodies of water, which would explain its presence on all the bridges in Angkor.
Looking like a boss sitting on the other side of the bridge.
Within the outer wall is this giant statue. At first I thought I was looking at a Buddha statue, but the eight arms suggest that this is a statue of Vishnu (or Shiva, or Durga, all of who are reported to have eight arms). This is when a guidebook in hand (pun intended) would have been helpful.
Bas-reliefs adorn all the temples in Angkor.
Stone path leading to the temple
Restored bas-reliefs with satues’ breasts having been rubbed over time. We’ve seen this rubbing of statue breasts behavior in other parts of the world as well. What’s up with that?
Inner courtyard of the temple
An unrestored spire
Steep stone steps leading up to the upper sanctum of the temple
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Luckily wooden steps have been constructed to allow tourists up to the upper levels
Inner courtyard of the central spire.
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Within the central spire, Buddha in various poses can be found in each of the 4 alcoves. This one is a Naga Buddha statue depicting the king of the serpents, Mucilanda, sheltering Buddha against the elements while he is attaining enlightenment.
Looking down towards the grounds and outer wall.

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