© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Angkor Wat Cambodia

Cambodia – Angkor Wat – 8th February

We got up at 4.30am and would have been ready to leave by 5am if Helen hadn’t contracted a pretty bad tummy bug over-night, hmmm we weren’t sure if she’d get through the day so in went the Imodium and a re-hydration sachet and we hoped that it wouldn’t spoil things too much. Deciding to take it a little more leisurely than the night before we arrived at Angkor Wat at 5.45am and made our way into the temple site. It was already rammed with tourists all lined up along the front walls, smaller shrines and the lake at the front of the Wat. There must have been at least a thousand people there already, we hung around there for a bit and then decided to go into the temple itself and took in the warmth of the light on the buildings as the sun came up. There weren’t many people inside the grounds of the temple so it was very peaceful and away from the mass of tourists at the front. We walked around the grounds for about an hour and then went back to the front to find that most people had left and were missing the beautiful sight of the sun starting to peep over the huge pagodas in the middle, very strange!

After a croissant or two (for Dave) we rode the 13km journey back to Ta Prohm, this time we were able to get into the temple site. There were quite a few tour groups there but didn’t seem too busy when we walked around the site. This is the one you’ll see in all the photos…the one with the tree routes entangled around the old temple ruins. WOW! It really is an amazing site, they are leaving it to allow the trees and nature make their impressive marks, although there is some construction work going on. We managed to avouch the tour groups by going off in other directions. We ended up spending over an hour at this site and loved it.

Moving on from Ta Prohm we cycled along the route to Ta Keo this time climbing up the steep steps on the side of the temple up towards a tower that takes you 50 metes in height. There are wonderful views from the top and we managed to find ourselves a spot in the shade on the side of one of the towers where we people watched.

Following the route along we cycled through The Victory Gate and parked up at the north-east side of the central area of Angkor Thom taking in the Terrace of Elephants, The Terrace of the Leper King and Phimeanakas. All impressive and in the heat of the midday sun again seemingly missing the tour groups and main bulk of visitors. Following on from this we cycled only a little further to Bayon where we spent around an hour taking in the 216 enormous grinning faces built by the King of the God Kings; Jayavarman VII around the 13th century. It’s hard to imagine these enormous temples being built and the amount of effort t must have taken, each bettering the other it seems impossible that man was able to create these temples one after the other.

Our last stop on the route back to Angkor Wat was Phnom Bakheng and took less than 5 minutes from Bayon. There is a path up a small hill to this temple but as it is the highest temple on the site when we reached the top we were rewarded with fine views across the forests over other temple sites and Angkor Wat was creeping above the tree tops. This would be an ideal place to see the sunrise or set over the area as there are good views from both sides, the only downside being that nearly all tour groups will head there at around 4.30pm to get a good spot for the sunset. It’s not a huge temple either so we imagine it would be very cramped and difficult to get a good spot, so we left at just after 4pm and already the buses were starting to park up and the food stalls were waiting in anticipation.

On our way back we stopped off at Angkor Wat one last time and pestered some tourists into taking some photos of ourselves as all day either one of us was photographing the other and we had none together. We stayed for a short while and then decided to head back to Siem Reap, it had been a long day and we’d managed much more than we thought we would have been able to, Helen was also ready for some rest.

Back in Siem Reap we once again ventured to the Blue Pumpkin to stock up on breakfast, ate out with Doug and Emma and then walked around the very contrived, tourist night market before going back to get ready for the next off. We did enjoy Siem Reap with our main reason being that Angkor Wat is a very impressive and amazing site to visit, Siem Reap itself though very much felt like a Greek holiday Island resort. The market was almost too clean, the night-market appeared to be made from some kind of film set and most restaurants charge a lot for the pleasure. We were happy to be moving on.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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  1. Posted 12 Mar ’11 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Great photos! You really capture what you were seeing along with the emotions. Love all of the ones with people in them doing various things.

  2. Posted 16 Mar ’11 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, really love so many of these!
    the almost symmetrical shot of the tourists sitting on the steps against that intense blue sky
    the three yellow hardhats against that beautiful old stone
    the doorways!! (there’s one of those shots that I definitely NEED!!!)
    the boy jumping into the water
    the two stone heads (they work brilliantly on opposite pages as on here – the space between them is perfect!!)
    Hope I’m not boring you!!
    Oh and that shot of the red bus with the red speed sign looks like an old 1970s postcard!!!
    Looks like you’re having THE most amazing and fascinating time xx

    • Posted 20 Mar ’11 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      Hello Sandie. Thank You for all the comments. Really makes our day to read the nice things that you say on here. Glad you are liking the photos and our adventures. Regards David and Helen xx

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