Looking back at our time in Cambodia and as I am writing these recaps, I have a hard time describing my feelings on our time there. On one hand the temples were amazing and totally worth seeing and experiencing, the food was some of our best on the whole trip and we had some very lovely and memorable experiences while there. On the other hand, the heat and humidity really got to me and made it so unbearable at times that it was hard to focus on the positives, our hotel was somewhat problematic (which I’ll touch on in the hotel review when I get to it) and I was also sick at that point in our trip, which didn’t make things any easier. In all honesty, we did really like Cambodia the longer we were there, though I’m not sure it’s a place I’d go back to in the near future, which totally threw me for a loop, because after hearing so many amazing things about it, I thought I’d love it. And maybe that was the issue, maybe my expectations were too high and maybe the combination of that and all of the things mentioned above just got the better of me. I’m still not quite sure how I felt about Cambodia and I think it will take me a while longer to work out exactly how I feel about the country and our time there. Exploring the area of Siem Reap though was really a unique experience, especially seeing the most popular ruins at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm.
Our last full day in Siem Reap started early at 4 in the morning as we left the hotel to make our way to Angkor Wat to get a place to watch the sunset. This was something Nick had really wanted to do to get a photo of the famous sunrise, and after 2.5 hours of sitting in the dirt crowded by people on all sides, the sun rose and we were somewhat disappointed with a less than spectacular show. Honestly, though, it was interesting to experience, I would recommend going to one of the other temples to see the sun rise, the crowd at Angkor was somewhat overwhelming and I got really claustrophobic toward the end as I was in the very front, with the water at my feet and there was literally about 10 rows of people behind me all crowded in. I finally got up and went back to where there was more space while Nick finished up. I’d recommend seeing Bayon or Ta Prohm at sunrise, something I wish we would have done.
Anyways, we then wandered around Angkor Wat a little more, then headed over to Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is famous for many of the scenes in Tomb Raider and is overgrown by trees. I wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was, which kind of threw me off and there is a lot of construction going on there currently to restore it, which kind of ruined the “intimate feel” that you envision. However, it was really interesting to see and walk around because it has such a different feel than the other major temples.
By mid morning it was so warm and humid, and we were exhausted from being up so early, that we retreated back to our hotel, had breakfast and then spent a few hours in our room, just cooling off and resting for a while in the air conditioning.
Another tip if you’re planning on visiting Angkor Wat, we hired a guide for the sunrise visit thinking that he might have some special places to show us and instead, he wasn’t really any help for us that we couldn’t do ourselves and we felt like it was a waste of money in the end. I would recommend just taking in the temples by yourselves and exploring on your own, which we ended up doing later this day (post coming tomorrow) at Bayon and really enjoyed it so much more.
Traveling to Cambodia?
See all of my posts on the country!