I’ve heard from several sources that you should see Angkor Wat at sunrise, so this morning we forced ourselves out of our comfortable bed at four o’clock. Our Tuk Tuk driver picked us up and we set off into the cold, starry night.
When we arrived at the temple there were already some people waiting but we managed to claim a spot right at the edge of the pool facing the temple. Soon there was a veritable crowd, three rows deep lining the edge of the pool, we were lucky to be so early. After a while we started seeing the contours of the temple against the night sky. After that the sun started to rise for real, the sky changing from dark blue to pale yellow to orange as the sun rose over the top of the temple, with the silhouette of the temple reflected in the still surface of the pool. It’s quite a sight, definitely worth losing a bit of sleep for.
While the crowds flocked into Angkor Wat we had some breakfast and then, wanting to save the best for last, headed to the next temple.
Banteay Srei is rather far from the other temples, about 30 kilometers from the city but it was supposed to be very beautiful and since we had the time we decided to go there. Perhaps Tuk Tuk wasn’t the best option for that kind of distance but I think it’s much more fun than some kind of mini bus. The temple is indeed very beautiful, it is built in red sand stone and is covered in some very well preserved, extremely intricate carvings. We were a bit unlucky though because we arrived at the same time as three bus loads of Chinese tourists so the place was crowded.
On the way back we stopped at the much less well known, and therefore comparatively empty, Banteay Samre. It used to be a kind of fortress temple so it doesn’t really have any windows to the outside. I think that’s pretty cool, but the best part about it is the fact that we were nearly alone inside.
Our driver offered to take us to one more temple but we were too tired after our early morning so we went back to the hotel. After resting a couple of hours we went out to the nearby market to go shopping for handicrafts. We finished the day with dinner at a restaurant called Marum.