We have had this feeling in a handful of places around the world. The buzzing feeling of standing in a place wrapped in profound history, mystique and natural beauty. Exploring Angkor Wat gave us that sense of how special of a place it is.
We originally didn't realize that Angkor Wat is actually just one part of a larger complex serving as the capital of the ancient Khmer empire. There are dozens of sights, the most famous being Bayon, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. It would be easy to spend up to a week exploring the entire complex. We decided we probably didn't have the stamina to do such intensive exploration due to the sweltering heat, making for a very full day of sensory overload. The temples of Angkor are completely mysterious looking. The carved faces, symbols and script in the stones are endless. Each of the intricate carvings seem to have it's own personality and a story behind it, tempting you to wonder what life may have been like nearly a thousand years ago.
The stone structures have a way of standing in harmony wi
th their surroundings and in some cases living as one. Ta Prohm, is famous for the tree roots that are almost consuming the stone structure like carnivorous plants. We chose to explore the main temple of Angkor Wat at midday to avoid the masses at sunrise and sunset. This turned out to be a pretty good decision because it rained that evening, sunrise is too early and there were just a dozen other people crazy enough to see the temple at high noon. The downside to our decision was that we probably could have used a few more gallons of Gatorade and sunscreen. It was exactly one million degrees in the direct sunlight.
The towering stones, steep steps and long corridors make for not only a beautiful sight, but the world's largest religious building. Unfortunately, we didn't get a good overall shot of Angkor Wat, they seem to be doing pretty extensive restoration, most of the front of the temple is covered in scaffolding and netting. Many of the local Cambodians will have wedding ceremonies or photos taken at the sight. It was fun to see a bride and wedding party dressed in hot pink carrying bright yellow umbrellas, definitely a picturesque wedding!
A very full day resulted in a few hundred photos, sunburns, a 20% loss of water weight and lifetime experience of visiting a wonder of the world. Angkor Wat really tempts you to want to learn more, we'd love to come back again… maybe when it's rainy season.
- In 2008 we (Meggan and Beau) set out to see the world and start a business. Since then we have visited 48 countries and we’re just getting started. Travel and design go hand in hand. Whether we’re on the other side of the planet, or down the street we always find things to inspire us.