On the 2nd day, we got up at 4:30am to watch sunrise over Angkor Wat. We got there around 5am and waited for sunrise with a quite few other early risers. It was hard to describe in words, but just really amazing when the sun came up over this biggest religious architecture in the world. It even creates holy-like atmosphere. It was also good to start early so that it was not busy with tourists and we enjoyed quiet time inside the Wat. This temple is 1.5 km² x 1.3km and built by Suryavarman ІІ and is considered the biggest Asian pyramid. It is 65m high and divided in several layers. The central part has on the four corners four towers in the shape of a lotus flower. Unfortunately due to a collapse, we weren’t able to enter the central tower, but it was breathtaking just to see it from the bottom. The inner walls of outer gallery bear a series of large-scale stone-carved images, which is one of the main causes for its fame. Walking along the wall and watching these you are actually reading stories of Angkor history. You could just spend a whole day there.
After our busy morning roaming through Angkor we decided to give ourselves the rest of the day off and relax in our resort. We spent a bit of time by the pool, Lexi enjoyed 3-hour spa treatment as a surprise gift from Hiro (on SPG points though...), and we enjoyed great dinner in the resort garden watching traditional Cambodian dance show. Their dance was very smooth and relaxed, but it is actually very physical to perform as they were standing on their toes with knee bent. Dinner was 4 course Khmer set menu and was amazing. Khmer food is closely related to her neighbouring countries Vietnam, Laos and Thai, but it is not so spicy. We had juicy caramel beef soup to start with, and then spring roll, noodles, papaya salad, fish, pork with rice, finished off with caramelised banana and basil sorbet. They were all so yummy.
On 3rd day, we left the main Angkor area, and took a tuk-tuk to further temples. Highlight of the day was Banteay Srei, which is nearly 1-hour ride from Siem Reap, but it was absolutely worthy to visit. The soft colours of the sand stones and the beautiful reliefs make this temple a typical example for the Khmer culture. It’s well preserved and most of its decorations are 3D, including delicate women carrying lotus flowers, and epic scenes.
Well we just loved temples of Angkor so much, it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It is not even hyperbolic to say that it was life-changing experience.
Now we are off to the capital of Cambodia, Phonm Penh on the bus!!