and pretending to be Indiana Jones!
04.03.2013 - 04.03.2013
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
4.30am - not a reasonable time for an alarm to be going off! But nevertheless, off it went and up we got! Andy was ready and waiting downstairs and we were soon joining all the other traffic on its way to Angkor Wat. We pulled up outside the moat and then proceeded to stumble our way blindly towards the lake in front of the temple in the pitch black, mildly amused by all the people that kept falling into the puddles left from the night before! We managed to find a spot just behind some guy having a photography lesson and waited for the sun to come up, snapping pictures over his guides shoulder as best we could.
By the time we had been sat there for an hour, the sky was light but there was no sign of the sun and we were bored, so we wandered inside Angkor Wat to have a look around before the crowds descended. It was blissfully quiet. Compared to the temples we saw the other day, Angkor Wat was still in amazing condition, presumably thanks to its near constant use in one form or another since it's construction. It was an incredible building, but after all the hype we'd heard on our way towards Siem Reap, as well as the lack of information we'd found about the site, we were a little underwhelmed. Not to say that it wasn't worth the visit of course! We saw sun rise inside the temple and then headed back out to our tuk tuk driver after snapping a final few pics of Angkor Wat.
Next up, Angkor Thom - the largest of the temple complexes and once the capital city of the Khmer empire. Inside we saw the Bayon with its 216 stone faces - very impressive. Also the Baphuon, centre of the city, a pyramid in ruins which the French are trying to piece back together one stone at a time - a giant jigsaw puzzle. The pyramid is meant to represent the mythical Mt Meru. It was a long way to the top (and back down!) up a very steep flight of wooden stairs! The trip down was a little nerve racking, especially when we heard that a few weeks ago a tourist had fallen down them and broken their leg - eeekk! We came away unharmed however! After a few more sites at Angkor Thom we headed into the crowds of tuk tuks in search of Andy.
We couldn't find him! Luckily we had his number so we rang him and were soon reunited. After a few more small temples (all very impressive!) we came to the much anticipated Ta Prohm, otherwise known as the Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider temple. Despite the THOUSANDS of tourists (in the midst of whom, Tam and I got separated early on!), and the cranes located round and about for the restoration work, we loved it! The place had an amazing atmosphere. As we read somewhere prior to our visit, it is amazing to see a building that was so rapidly constructed by man being slowly destroyed and reclaimed by nature. It was definitely one of our favourite temples, along with Preah Khan that we saw the other day.
It would have been a fantastic way to end our time at Angkor Wat, except Andy had other ideas and dropped us at yet another temple after this one. It only took us a few minutes once inside to realise that we'd been there before - we passed his test and clearly we've been taking more in than we realised!
We were homeward bound after that. The rest of the day was spent trying not to fall asleep and culminated in the lowest low point of our trip so far - a tuk tuk ride to KFC to get a take away to eat in front of an awful film about diamond theives! What can I say? We're tired!
We've decided to do sunrise again tomorrow and actually stick it out until we can see the sun this time! So it's early to bed here! Night all!