My first glimpse of Angkor Wat was in Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movie. Since then, I have dreamt of one day being in Siem Reap and being in one of the most marvelous religious complexes of the ancient world. I got to realize my dream in June 2013. I went to the land of the great ruler Suryavarman II with 3 of my closest girl friends.
We had booked a flight to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia and then took a bus to Siem Reap. Although Phnom Penh is the capital city, it is not as popular as Siem Reap and it only often serves as a transit point for tourists who want to see Angkor Wat. You can read more of my Phnom Penh travel adventure here.
Angkor Wat has a pomp and luxury which can rival the most recognizable structures in the world which were built for Shahs, kings and pharaohs. It is located about 6 kilometers north of Siem Reap and it can only be accessed through its west gate.
Built in the first half of the 12th century, it is estimated that the construction time of the entire complex took 30 years. The temple complex was built for the god Vishnu. It is generally accepted by historians that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II.
Tourists from countries all over the world flock to Angkor Wat to witness its magnificence and it is estimated that an average of 2 million tourists visit the temple annually. We were not at all surprised to hear people speaking in different tongues when everyone gathered in a crowd to see the sun rise over the complex. I could hear Spanish, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, English and other languages in the background.
We woke up at 4.30am just to be in the temple by 5am. We were lucky that our hostel was located nearby the complex so we did not have to travel far. It was a bit cloudy that day and the sun rising over Angkor Wat would have looked more breathtaking minus the clouds. Anyway, as soon as the sun rose the crowds dispersed and everyone went on their own little adventure of discovering the beauty of Angkor Wat.
Here are some of my favorite travel pictures taken in Angkor Wat.