We have had such an incredible time wandering through the many ruins in the Angkor region of Cambodia. Leanne felt like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and I felt like Indiana Jones as we explored them. In one of the larger complexes we had the place to ourselves and purposefully went in opposite directions to have the wonder of being alone through the crumbling long corridors and many rooms. We saw snakes, spiders big enough to eat birds, as well as numerous bugs including a massive poisonous millipede in our path. There are around 16 major ruin sites within Angkor of varying sizes some have been restored and some have been preserved the way they were found with the jungle taking over the ruins. We managed to see most of them over the days we were here. It would impossible to do the site justice with a single day visit. It boggles my mind how this all would have looked in its prime. They are truly impressive and incredibly ornate. Every section of wall was carved with artwork.
Our days consisted of waking up in the dark to make our way to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We’d spend the early morning around the ruins before retiring back to the hotel through the mid-day heat and returning again in the afternoon until sunset. It was a perfect way to explore and remarkably, with the notable exception of Angkor Wat, we avoided the tourists in the ruins. It was an incredible way to see them and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We had met such a great, friendly, tuk-tuk driver (Sam) on our first day that we hired him exclusively for the remainder of our time here. You can get a tuk-tuk and driver for about $15 USD a day! For a break from the temples we also had a little tour through Siem Reap and visited a memorial that contained many of the skeletons of those massacred in their dark days when one to three million people were killed under the Khmer Rouge regime.
The highlight of our visit was the sunrise we witnessed behind Angkor Wat on our second day. The clouds were perfectly positioned and as the sun rose it set the sky on fire and the colours were remarkable. As much as I tried to capture it on camera, events like these just can’t be reproduced. I was much more impressed with the area than I expected to be. I can’t believe we were able to climb all over the ruins. They are talking about roping it off to preserve the ruins from the erosion by the tourists. I am so happy I got to visit here before this was done. It has left us with wonderful, happy memories.
Photos are posted at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=133170&id=673382190&l=ea2b72f447