Angkor Wat & Siem Reap
When I finally tore myself away from Hoi An, I was planning on continuing south on another 14 hour overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City, which was then to be followed by a 9-12 hour bus ride to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I expected to do this over the course of 4-5 days, depending on what I found along the way and where I might want to stop. But I was really not looking forward to this leg of the trip. Not even a little bit.
The day before I was planning to start this adventure, I found a ticket from Danang right into Siem Reap for $80. So instead of a 4-5 day trip, I decided to have a leisurely breakfast in Hoi An, take the quick 70 minute flight, and by mid-afternoon, I was 800km away staring at the entrance of Angkor Wat that same afternoon. What an awesome decision.
Angkor Wat is the culmination of competition between the God-Kings of the Khmer Empire, each trying to better their predecessor in size, scale, and symmetry of their creations. It is actually only a small (yet very impressive) part of the Angkor complex stretching across 400 square kilometers. Built between the 9th and 14th centuries the area is one one of the most important archaeological sites in the world consisting of over one thousand temples as well as hydrolic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) and communication routes. The temples are the heart and soul of Cambodia and artistic masterpieces of the Khmer genius.
A few years ago, I don’t think I even knew what Angkor Wat was, but after getting into photography and traveliong, it was hard not to recognize it everywhere across the interwebs, especially after researching my first trip to Southeast Asia last year. Since then, Angkor Wat was definitely put on my destinations list list to get to, sooner than later. But that also worried me – had I built it up so much in my mind that I had romanticized that too? Had I set my expectations too high? And was I going to leave with more of a feeling of disappointment than satisfaction and wonderment?
Angkor was absolutely as impressive as I expected and hoped. I ended up spending an entire seven nights in Siem Reap and many of those days were spent sunrise to sunset, seeing and photographing what I could while barely scratching the surface of the site.
For this blog, I’m essentially going to be skipping Angkor Wat and Siem Reap… for now. When I can find some time, I have bigger plans for the pictures and travels I did throughout the area. I took somewhere just south of 7,000 [bracketed] pictures on top of I don’t even know how many timelapse images and video. I think that deserves more attention than some hastily thrown together posts to keep the “chronological” blog theme going.
So for now, I’ll leave it at ‘Angkor Wat was amazing.‘ Now on to Phnom Pehn…