Angkor Wat: City of Temples

When I was younger, Disneyland was my place to be!  But as I was maturing, I desired to visit exotic places in Asia so I started out with timeless charm Vietnam, amazing Thailand, and just recently, kingdom of wonder Cambodia.  Well that’s of course, after visiting the more modern and progressive Singapore and Hong Kong.  And with all these places, with all due respect to my first love SG, I really, really, overly fell for Cambodia!  I just can’t get over with my “Angkor feels”, just not yet.  So after sharing to you how Angkor Wat bewitched me in my previous post, let me take you to a quick tour around this spellbound temple!

angkor wat
To start with, Angkor Wat covers a vast expanse of land.  At first, I thought it was smaller than Disneyland Hong Kong but it’s not.  Disneyland just appears to be bigger since it’s colorful, eventful, and not monotonous as the Angkor.  I also thought that there is no greater park than Ocean Park Hong Kong only to find out that Angkor is much vaster than it.  With a land area of 49.9 hectares for Disney and 91.5 hectares for Ocean Park, that’s incomparable to Angkor’s total area of 162.6 hectares!  Yes, 162.6 hectares.  That’s equivalent to 402 acres which is equivalent to 1,626,000 square meters!  Don’t cha worry, guys.  I’m not gonna let you do the maths here ‘coz there’s always Google to the rescue.  Hehe…… (Source:  wikipedia.com)  So, can you now imagine how immense Angkor Wat is?!  Then why did it appear small to me?
 3angkor wat
To answer that question, I guess I couldn’t just get enough of the place.  The one-day pass was just so bitin!  We only spent two days in Cambodia which I truly regret.  Because to tell you the truth, visiting its ancient temples deserves your one whole week, your one whole month even!  If you’re not into history and archaeology, you’ll surely end up loving these social sciences after immersing yourself into these Cambodian temples.  These are the country’s gems, enthralling tourists from all over the world, boosting the country’s economy.  So how did we get around Angkor Wat?
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Before entering the Angkor complex, we queued for tix as early as three quarters past 4 AM so we could experience the must-watch and must-experience Angkor Wat sunrise.  (Please do click here to see how we enjoyed attaining our travel goal.)  The ticket building (it’s not just a booth to cater approximately 6,500 tourists per day) is a good 8-10 minutes tuktuk ride away from the complex.  Yes, it’s that far and I couldn’t contain my excitement during the ride!  With a pounding heart, all that I always thought was sunrise, sunrise, sunrise!
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1-day pass is $20 USD, 3-day is $40 USD, and 7-day is $60 USD.  Free for Cambodian citizens or if you are related to a Cambodian.
Then we passed by the main entrance gate, tickets checked, traveled another quiet distance, and I saw the moat!  So I exclaimed, “Here we are, ladies!”  And slowly, the towers became visible to my eyes one by one and I could jump right out from the tuktuk!  When our driver, Mr. Khien decelerated and finally came to a stop, I hopped right away and almost ran to step into the Angkor grounds!  There were already tourists camping before the moat with cameras ready and picnic breakfast.  Upon another ticket check, one of the guards joked us, “Do you also want to see the moonset?”, gesturing at the setting full moon up behind us.  We had a good laugh with the same guard telling us, “Sunrise on your left.”  So we hurried past them.
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While getting inside, we were flustered on what to take photos first.  Left and right, up and down, everything demands your attention!  Just as I’ve said the Angkor is only stone (which by science is classified as dead matter), it seemed like it was poking me and whispering to my ear, “Hey, look at me!”, “Hey, how about this carving?”, “Oh, com’on!  This one’s gonna get you a photography award”.  However, I ain’t no photography buff.  I appreciate photography, yes but I can’t play with my camera as the others do.  Though my photos here are no equal to the others, I’m still proud to show ’em to you.  Hehe…..
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I was beyond amazed by the artworks engraved on the walls, by the sculptures way up high in the ceilings, and by the other bas-reliefs intricately decorated all over the place.  If you’re gonna be dissecting Angkor Wat, you’ll surely become a master of Hindu mythology with its symbolism, deities, heavenly nymphs, and seven-headed mythical serpents!  As we passed by the outer wall through the avenue, two libraries in both sides materialized.  We haven’t checked it out for what we had in mind was the sunrise.
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So off we went to the lake with the other tourists, waiting for Mr. Sun to reveal himself.  And when he surfaced, oh, what a sight!  Do click here, click here for you to see the time of our single lives!
cambodia sunrise
As the sun rises, more tourists arrived so we headed to the Central Complex.  This is a three-story building with interlinked galleries, one of which is the Hall of a Thousand Gods.  In this inner chamber, I suddenly experienced my God as I’ve shared to you in my previous post.  This is where I felt the jolt of my so-called “Angkor feels”!
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And speaking of gods, the five lotus-bud towers represent the five peaks of Mt. Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology.  The tallest of these towers which is at the center is the Bakan Sanctuary.  Dressing modestly is required here.  You have to cover up so sleeveless and short pants/skirts are not allowed.  This is the holy of holies where the statue of Vishnu is enshrined and many more Buddhas.
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However, getting to the top was no easy task.  The stairs were so steep (symbolizing that if you want to go to heaven, you have to work for it), making my feet quiver as I’m thinking about it at the moment of writing this.  But we conquered it!  Though I’m still acrophobic, I enjoyed looking down, relishing the moment of just being there, and taking in the sight of the sun setting.  Yes, we absolutely chased sunrise and sunset in Cambodia!  That’s a bonus to our squad goal!  Hehe…..
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Oh, I could just do anything to zap me up right now there!  Atsi Ann said that if you’ve been to a certain place, the best time to come back will be after five years.  Will my “Angkor feels” stay the same by that time?  Oh, I hope Angkor Wat will still stand the test of times.  As I’ve observed, Buddhas were already broken without heads due to looting in the past years.  Balustrades were already incomplete and stones from stupas already crumbled down due to earthquakes.  However, the Cambodian government already took steps in preserving their national treasure, the world’s largest religious monument which is a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Continue to be magical through the years, Angkor Wat!
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Credits to all tourists whom we bumped into for taking our photos especially these two very tall Europeans and lonesome Japanese cutie!  Sorry, I’m bad at remembering names but from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you!  The world is not that big enough for us not to bump into each other again in the future! 🙂
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There are still two other temples that I’m going to share with you, guys so stay tuned only here on The Other Side of Mae! #tosomtravels
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They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” 
– Acts 16:31
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

-Ephesians 2:8

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