Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, has always been on my travel bucket list and I am so happy that I decided to hop over to Cambodia during my three week trip exploring Vietnam.
As a South African traveller, I opted for the most reasonable option. My private tuk tuk driver picked me up at 5am sharp at my hotel, Golden Mango Inn; which I highly recommend. He drove me to the Angkor Wat ticket sales centre to purchase my ticket for the day. It’s important to note that they do try sell you a three day pass for US$40 but if you walk through to the other side, you can purchase a one day pass for US$20 which is more than enough time to explore the temples.
As I arrived at the nearby parking lot outside Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, it was still quite dark so I didn’t even realise I was there.
The sun slowly greeted the day and outlined the iconic silhouette of Angkor Wat. As tourists flooded in, I knew I should move quickly to explore the temples in peace so I moved away from the selfie-stick crowd.
After much bargaining, I purchased a guide book from a local for US$5 and read different sections to find out more information about each temple. In my third week of travelling around; I had grown tired of guided tours so I made the right decision to do it on my own.
I strolled through the different sections of Angkor Wat and it took my breath away. I’m not a religious person but I was physically and spiritually moved – in a calming, serene, goosebumps kind of way.
I shared my initial experience on Instagram:
Angkor Wat at sunrise: The sound of monks chanting, birds tweeting as the sun gently rises…it’s no surprise that it took my breath away and moved me.
If you’re considering a visit to Cambodia, do yourself a favour and visit Angkor Wat at sunrise. It was an experience that I will never forget.