Today is the last day of our trip. Ten days in southeast Asia are slowly coming to an end. Now, there is only one thing left to see. That is the temple that many consider to be the crown jewel of not only Cambodia but most of the Eastern world. The temple’s name is Angkor Wat. The temple was built during the culmination of the power of the Khmer rule and has survived multiple catastrophes. For some hundreds of years, people even forgot about the existence of the temple! Uncertainty turned into speculation and speculation into legend. Then, during French colonization times, some French explorers were able to discover the long-forgotten temple. Multiple governments helped in its restoration so that the temple can look as it does today.
We were told that the sunrise tour of the temple is the best way of experiencing Angkor Wat. So, we woke up around 5 am and headed towards the site. Surprisingly enough, the site contains multiple different temples all equally mesmerizing yet built in different time periods. Angkor Wat is by far the most important temple of those. During sun rise we witnessed one of the most beautiful views we had ever seen. We were sitting in front of a pond and the temple was located right behind it. Once the sun started emerging from the horizon, we could see the temple’s majestic reflection on the water while a pink-yellow color was filling the background. Multiple photos were taken and then we proceeded to tour the temple. Thankfully, there were not as many tourists so we were able to move around quite freely. Our guide explained to us the hidden stories and legends behind the inscriptions on the walls of the temple. Many of those stories are taken from the Bhagavad Gita. What is interesting about the temple is that it was utilized both as a Buddhist and as a Hindu sight during different times in history. The temple also has tall towers you can visit. The steps are extremely steep but the view from up there is totally worth it!
After visiting the Angkor Wat, we had a small snack break. We found a little street vendor who sold some of the most delicious lychee we had ever tried! Then we went on to tour the rest of the temples. Each temple had its own unique elements. One of them, for example, had not been reconstructed yet so it had an even more mysterious vibe surrounding it. It was interesting because the temple looked almost familiar when we walked inside. That is when we remembered that a Tomb Raider movie was shot in there and it suddenly made sense.
The Angkor park is by far on of the greatest tourist attractions I have ever visited. There is so much mystery and history hidden in those temples that is impossible to describe in words.