Our second day in Siem Reap started in the wee hours of the morning. To catch sunrise at 6:18am and to get an unobstructed shot of the temple reflected off the Northern pond, we needed to leave the hotel at 4:40am to get to the Angkor Wat gate at opening at 5am. For those lucky ones who didn’t really care about getting the shot, and just want to be at the Wat at sunrise, they got to sleep in for an extra hour.
By the time we’d had enough, we decided to make a quick trip back to the hotel for breakfast before continuing on our day. By 9:30am, we were back at the park.
Tonle Ohm Gate, the southern gate leading into Angkor Thom.
Baphuon Temple, built in the late 11th century by Udayadityavarman II, is a 3- tiered temple mountain. It follows the Khmer architectural layout with a central shrine, a courtyard, an enclosing wall, and a moat. With it built on sandy terrain, the temple was never on stable ground. By the 20th century, the temple had largely collapsed. It took 51 years for the entire anastylosis – process of deconstructing and reconstructing the temple, to be completed. The “largest 3D jigsaw puzzle in the world” was finally open to public in 2011.
Preah Khan Temple was built in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII dedicated to his father. Unlike his Hindu predecessors, Jayavarman VII was a Buddhist, and had Buddha carvings throughout. These were later destroyed by his son Jayavarman VIII who reverted back to Hinduism.
Neak Poan built during the time of Jayavarman VII sits in the middle of a lake.
Ta Som, another temple built by Jayavarman VII in honor of his father.
East Mebon, a 10th century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, stands out with it 4 stone guarding elephants.
Pre Rup, another Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva built in the 10th century, is a combination brick, laterite, and sandstone structure.
By the time we were done, we were hot, tired, and “templed out”. Would a four-day itinerary have been better? Perhaps, but I think we did the best we could have given the circumstances that were out of our control. With that said, Angkor Wat was definitely the highlight of our brief South East Asia trip.