Today was a big day – LITERALLY. We got up at 3:30 AM and got ready within half an hour for the most awaited Grand circuit tour of Angkor. As expected, Sam was on time and quickly got us to Angkor Wat. Since we purchased the tickets yesterday evening, we headed directly to Angkor Wat.
By the way, the staff at the eOCambo hotel were kind enough to give us a packed breakfast of fruits, sandwiches and some orange juice.
Temples of Angkor
The grand daddy of them all and the biggest temple in the Angkor Complex. It’s also the most well preserved. A huge moat surrounds the temple on all sides. Sam told us where he would be meeting us post the temple visit and gave directions to the best place to watch the sunrise from.
100’s had gathered hoping for a spectacular sunrise. In fact, we were lucky to be standing directly in front of the small lake/moat in which we could capture the reflection of the sunrise. But God had other plans. The darkness of the clouds was replacing the darkness of the night.
And then it came pouring down. We had not predicted this. We all waited for sometime for the rain to go away, but to no avail. The rainfall was so heavy, I bought a disposable raincoat for $1. Not a good start to the day for sure.
We were genuinely heart-broken and disappointed. But there was no point in feeling bad about something that we couldn’t control.
I made a quick call to continue with the Grand Circuit tour of Angkor but in reverse. This would help us beat the crowds and if lucky, we could see Angkor Wat in a sunny state. This proved to be a brilliant decision, since almost all the temples we visited, hardly had any crowds.
We went back to the Tuk-tuk, had our breakfast while it was still pouring outside. Once the rain got a little lighter, we got down at our 2nd temple – Prasat Kravan.
This temple has the Bas-reliefs of Vishnu and Laxmi in the brick form. The only example of brick reliefs in the Angkor Complex.
Buddhist temple known as the Citadel of the Monks. It was built using sandstone and is in quite a ruinous state today.
The kingdom of the Trees. Ta Prohm has been left untouched except for the clearing of the path for visitors and structural strengthening. It was built around mid 12th to early 13th century.
Its also the most famous temple in the group after Angkor Wat (due to the popularity of Tomb Raider movies/games).
Since we already had visited Pre Rup yesterday evening for the sunset, we decided to skip it for the day. We lost some precious time due to the rains earlier today, so we had to make up for the lost time as well.
Srah Srang is a Baray (artificial water reservoir) at Angkor Wat. Its about 700 by 350 meters in size. The landing stage opposite Banteay Kdei is a popular sunrise spot.
Ta Som is a single tower temple enclosed by 3 walls. It’s mostly left unrestored with trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins.
This temple is dedicated to the Hindu God – Shiva and has 3 level decorated by elephants and lions. On the highest level there are 5 towers.
This is a small temple constructed in the middle of the last baray (Preah Khan baray). The temple sits in the middle of a lotus surrounded by 8 pools. Neak Pean means Coiled Serpants, which encircled the temple.
Lunch & Power Nap
We were half way through now and the weather was getting better. The sun was out and that energised us big time. We decided to stop for lunch at a restaurant opposite Neak Pean temple. The food was delicious and we were hungry. We quickly finished off the ordered Khmer shrimp and Khmer chicken curry with rice.
According to the documents, this temple/city acted as a battle place between Khmer and Cham regime.
The Bayon is also known as the temple of the faces. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom. It’s impressive and known for its Buddha faces on all the temple towers.
Angkor Thom is an almost square city, surrounded by 8 meter high walls a little over 12 kms long. It has five impressive gopura gates providing access to the city. The city’s name translates to large city or great city.
Back at Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is an enormous Buddhist temple complex located in northern Cambodia. It was originally built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and spreads across 400 acres.
Its name, translates to Temple city. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century.
It was 5:30 PM by the time we were done with Angkor Wat. Sam asked us if we would like to wait till the sunset. But we were tired, famished and almost dead after all the walking in the rain & the sun. We asked Sam to drop us back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, I gathered last of my reserves and jumped into the pool for a quick dip. After a tiring day the pool water had a therapeutic effect. Thereafter, got a quick shower and we headed back to the Pub street for some dinner, drinks & last minute shopping.
Dinner at Pub Street
Even though this is a happening place, we had a long day today. So we had dinner, some ice-cream and did some last minute shopping at the night market near Pub Street. After walking back to the hotel just crashed into the bed.
Total Distance Covered
That’s approximately 24 kms. And if you look carefully its only till 6:30 PM. It doesn’t even include the walking from the hotel to Pub Street and back as my smart-watch ran out of battery.
I guess it’s safe to add another 3 kms. So a personal best of around 27 kms in a day.
Grand Circuit tour of Angkor – Video
Day 3 – Catching the flight back home
Sam dropped us at the airport. He was a pleasure to be with. I would highly recommend his services, if travelling to Siem Reap. Here’s his whatsapp no for reference.
Thats all from Cambodia, see you soon is some other country. Till then, keep safe and keep travelling.
Read about some of my other travel journeys: