Day 19: Angkor Wat

Today we made our way to Angkor Wat! Contrary to what I said yesterday, Angkor Wat actually isn’t one of the Seven Wonders of the World! It was considered for the list, but is actually known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” (Thanks, Nick!). I really don’t know much about this place, and we didn’t pay for a guide during our walk through, so if you want to know more, you will have to Google it ūüôā All I know is that it is the largest religious monument in the world currently, and it was the largest city in the world during the twelfth century (Thanks, Beth!). It was really cool to see even though we didn’t know what we were seeing.

We decided to just hire a driver for a half-day because we know from experience that after a while, temples just become temples. Plus, we don’t have the best track record with being outside in the heat. Angkor Wat is just one temple within a larger complex, so in a half-day we saw the Angkor Wat temple and the Bayon temple. It was more than enough for us! It was very hot again today, so we walked around for about four hours, literally dripping in sweat. We barely made it to noon, so we are not sure how people can walk around all day in these countries! We all are really looking forward to not sweating 24/7 when we get back!

Angkor Wat has a really cool moat surrounding it! No cars are allowed over the moat, so we got to walk across. It was very dramatic. Even though it was a temple, it was reminiscent of a castle.

Before you get to see the actual temple, you go through a pretty legit enterance. The bright blue sky provided an awesome backdrop for the temples and our photos.

We are so glad that we decided to come! After all, it is the reason we decided to come to Cambodia. That and to get another stamp in our passports. It has been nice that we have had so many fun experiences here after going through so much hassle at the border.

Such a big complex!

The temple was mostly long corridors with many small rooms, most likely where the Buddhas sat, off to the sides. There were also a few larger openings in the middle of the temple.  The outside of the temple consisted of many many columns.  The temple was kind of the same thing, over and over again. If there was ever a column, there was 30 columns, or if there was a doorway, there was four doorways in a row. You should be able to see it in the pictures below.

One of the coolest parts of the temple was the fact that there was not one inch that was not well thought out. ¬†Every space on the wall and ceiling was filled with various designs or artwork. ¬†It was very intricate as well and each wall had a different design. I can’t imagine how long it took to complete this place!

There were not any open windows within the temple.  All of the openings had intricately designed spindles covering them. It was so cool! Many of the spindles were broken, however, so there were quite a few openings where we could see the outside of the windows.

We also had the opportunity to go up into a few of the really high temples. ¬†They have made wooden steps over the original rock steps with railings which was necessary because we were basically climbing straight up and down. ¬†There were many restoration projects in place and in progress. A lot of them were related to safety such as putting in wooden steps and mesh wiring on the ceiling to prevent rock from falling on people’s heads. We appreciated it. Being so high up was awesome because it allowed us to see the entire complex!

Straight up and down!

Still lots of detail everywhere!
The original steps..we were thankful for the wooden ones.

Trying not to touch eachothers sweaty bodies. Still so gross!

The two temples we visited were too far apart to walk between, so we hired a driver through our resort! We thought that they were just going to coordinate it for us, but one of the resort employees actually was our driver! He would see us leaving the temple and drive right up to us before getting out and opening our door. We are not used to such exceptional service! We were so exhausted and sweaty at the end that he asked us, “You okay?!”

Riding in style in our Mercedes- Benz van!

One of our least favorite parts of Thailand and Cambodia are the people that constantly heckle us to by things or services. Being a tourist means that you have money! ¬†We had to have been asked if we would like a tour guide or a guide book at least 10 times during our day. In Cambodia, the vendors have been way more aggressive when trying to get our business. ¬†If you walk in their general direction, they literally yell at you. “Cold drink, cold drink! You want elephant pant? 3 dollar, 3 dollar!” We will be glad to get back to America where we are poor college kids and nobody is asking us for money. We realized this is probably what it is like for the rich in America, but instead it is the government asking them to pay absurd amounts in tax money and charities asking for donations. If it is anything like it has been for us, we empathize with them.

No, we do not want a guide book. Or postcards. Or a guide.
I have never been yelled at by so many people at once in my life!

After grabbing some water from one of the aggressive vendors, we headed back to our chauffeur and made our way to the next temple. ¬†This one was a lot more “rustic” and had not been conserved like Angkor Wat had been. There were mostly just original stone steps and lots of crumbled rock everywhere. It was fun to be able to see both and compare.

This temple also had two levels, so we got to get up close and personal with the Buddha faces in the rock. These temples have so much texture and offer so much to look at! Laura, Paige and I climbed up into one of the openings on one of the higher parts of the temple, and awkwardly got trapped by a seniors tour group taking a group photo.

By the end of our stay, we were really draggin. Paige said it best when she said that for every minute we spent at this temple, we lost another body function. Our speech was slurred, we were stumbling, our hair was a mess, we were dripping with sweat. We were literally a hot mess! The funny thing is that our photos don’t show how tired or sweaty we were! We don’t mind:)

After spending a few hours by the pool and relaxing in the AC, we got to take advantage of our free dinner. It was actually a very nice four course meal that was very delicious! We were the only ones in the restaurnt which was actually really fun. Our poor waiter just waited for us to finish each course and had to listen to us laugh during the entire meal. We really need to work on how to be fancy. I accidentally forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin soup because I was too scared to try it and was gauging my travel partners’ reaction. It was actually very good! We even spoiled ourselves and go milkshakes. Life has been good here in Cambodia.

Tomorrow we will be flying back to Bangkok for the night. We will then be flying to Krabi on Saturday for 5 nights. We are so excited to hopefully experience paradise again, but this time on the beach! We will be flying back to America in 1 week! Time flies when you are having fun!


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