Hey everyone, today I’m back with my third blog post about my Cambodia tour back in September. This was our second full day in Cambodia but it was technically my fourth day of the trip and one of the most challenging for me as it was a very early start and the day itself was really long and physically tiring for me. We got up at four in the morning in order to travel to Angkor Wat before the sunrise. I remember not being able to get to sleep very easily the night before as I was still adjusting to the time so I only got about six hours of sleep which definitely wasn’t enough.
We took a tuk-tuk to the national park where Angkor Wat and the other temples were. It was about a forty-five-minute drive from our hostel to the ticket location as we needed to pick up a day ticket to visit all of the temples before we could enter. The visit to the temples was included in our tour package so I didn’t have to pay any extra except any food that we would eat during the day. The ticket that you get is sort of like a mini passport as it has a photo of you on it and then information about the ticket itself. You can get a day ticket or a three-day ticket if you want to have more time to explore more temples as the national park is huge. Once you get your ticket to enter the national park it’s about another fifteen-minute ride in the tuk-tuk before you reach the drop-off point. You then need to walk about 10 minutes in the pitch black before you get to the water bridge which is at the entrance of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and measures around 163 hectares. In the beginning, Angkor Wat was constructed as a Hindu temple, however, during the 12th Century, it was transformed into a Buddhist temple. To get to Angkor Wat you first have to cross a water bridge which isn’t the easiest thing to do at 5:15 am in the pitch black. Once you get into the site itself you have to walk a bit until you reach the best viewpoint to see the sunrise. Unfortunately, it was raining when we got there which wasn’t the best experience however, it did brighten up later on in the day which made up for it.
Seeing the sunrise over Angkor Wat was a bit underwhelming at first as it was raining and also cloudy which meant that we couldn’t see the sunrise. Luckily the clouds started to move and the rain started to stop as the sun rose which meant that we got the chance to get some pretty good photos in front of the temple. As it was the low season (Monsoon season) in Cambodia which runs from July to September when it’s the most humid in Cambodia Angkor Wat wasn’t as crowded as it can get. There were still a lot of people who were there to watch the sunrise as well however, our tour guide said that during peak season it’s very crowded and hard to take any good photos.
Once we had all taken photos we headed inside the temple, which is full of history and culture. Our tour guide had so much knowledge so we were really lucky to have him show us around the temples. It was really fascinating to see the inside of the temple as on the temple walls there were many different stories carved on the walls. The detail in the temple was just amazing as you could see where the original stonework as well as where it had been maintained as well. We spent a few hours looking around Angkor Wat as it was huge, we even had the chance to have a water blessing by a Monk which was really special.
After we visited Angkor Wat we headed to another temple which was a Buddhist temple as a lot of the statues had the face of Buddha on all four sides of the statue. The last temple we visited is probably the second most famous one after Angkor Wat. The last temple is the temple of Ta Prohm which is more commonly known as The Tomb Rader temple as it’s where the movie was shot. I won’t lie I have never seen the movie however, I definitely recognised the landmark and it was really cool to be there and see it in real life. This temple was really interesting to look at as a lot of the trees there had started to grow into the temple itself which meant that a lot of the structure had to be held up with metal beams to make sure that it didn’t collapse.
By the time we had finished the third temple it was already around 1:00 pm which meant that it had already been a long day considering we had been awake since 4:00 am. We headed back to the hostel where I took a nap and then caught up with some family and friends as the UK is six hours ahead so it was a reasonable time back home to speak with everyone. Looking back on it now I remember how important it was to stay in touch with friends & family especially as I was sort of traveling alone but also because it helped me mentally.
The whole day was a mixture of being completely overwhelmed by the wonder of the temples and also being completely overwhelmed in general. It was a really challenging day for me both mentally and physically as we woke up at 4:00 am to leave at 4:30 am for the sunrise at 6:00 am. I remember waking up from my nap feeling exhausted and also really anxious of which I hadn’t felt at all during the trip so far. One thing people never tell you about group tour is how mentally & physically draining they are as you are always on the go all the time. We went out for dinner that night however, I knew I didn’t feel right at all and I ended up having a mild panic attack which I hadn’t had for a few years. Panic attacks always completely wipe me out so I decided to head back to the hostel to have an early night.
Looking back I am so glad that I made this decision as when I got back to the hotel, I took a shower, watched some YouTube, and then tried to get an earlyish night by this point I think it was 10:00 pm. I am going to do an overall trip overview once I have written up all my holiday blog posts with all of my tips, tricks, and experiences for going on a group tour.