Exploring Angkor Wat (with 200k of our closest friends)
(Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Angkor Wat has been on our list for a while. We’d planned it a few times when we lived in the US. Even bought a guidebook at one point. We sold the guidebook as part of the purge before moving to Australia, so of course we finally go there a year later.
Our day of travel from Bagan to Angkor Wat began with getting stuck in a monk parade and barely making our flight. We had about an hour to make our connection in Yangon, which included retrieving our luggage, and walking to another terminal, but we made it. The next stop was Ho Chi Minh, where we had an expensive, gross meal in the aiport. We finally arrived in Angkor Wat around 9pm – the crowds in the airport were a bit of a shock after Bagan.
We stayed at the Angkor Village Hotel, in a water view room. Our room was very private and had a nice view of the pond and restaurant area. We ate two meals in the hotel – had the same thing both times because it was good and cheap (spring rolls and chicken rice – YUM). The only of the hotel downside was an INSANELY noisy club one night (but it was quiet by 11pm).
We spent a great day with Photo Cambodia. Eric picked us up at 5am, which we thought was a tad early based on the sunrise time. Then we saw the crowds. Holy Moly ! Eric took us to a much less crowded area where we were able to get a nice reflection of the temple at sunrise. Next, we headed to Preah Khan, and then to Preah Pithu for a photoshoot with some monks. They didn’t really speak English, but one kept saying “blah, blah, blah” – it was freaking hilarious. After that we walked around the Terrace of the Leopard King, Banteay Kdai, and Bayon. We got some GREAT shots and learned a lot about proper exposure to get accurate colour and details in the temples.
We spend one day exploring on our own. We started with sunrise at Angkor Wat, then walked from East to West at Ta Prom, climbed Pre Rup, and went inside Angkor Wat temple to see the Vishnu Statue. A good tuk tuk driver is key to efficient sightseeing, because they can drop you off at one end, and pick you up at the other to avoid unnecessary backtracking in the heat.
We also went on a night tour of Siem Reap with Angkor Wat Photo Tours. We started along the river shooting reflections of the neon lights, then worked on some light trails at a traffic roundabout, and then practiced panning on tuk tuks an motorbikes.