"Temple Day" started very early; I arranged for the driver to pick me up at 5:00 am, early enough as in winter the sunrise is a bit later than usual.
The road leading to Angkor Wat was teeming with tuk tuks, motos, vans and buses. We reached there just before 5:30 am and they were already a good 300 plus tourists there, can you believe it. All sitting facing the Wat, waiting in the dark. And I thought I was early :P
They were already there at 5:20 am.
There will be vendors offering you hot coffee or tea for USD1, with a free plastic chair. Got a coffee for myself and sat there waiting too. The kind coffeeboy chatted with me and shared some information about the temple and seasons, helpful really.
Coffee boy, speaks reasonably good English.
The crowd grew bigger and bigger, I think by the time the sun rose, it had reached a good thousand - scattered around, some at the edge of the lake diagonally across on the temple's left, some on the small library building further back, some on the walkways and some even right inside. It was a cacophony of words and conversations. The one thing that's common? Everyone was clicking away, in awe of the ancient towers that were slowly revealing themselves in the morning light.
Most of my pics were too dark. This is one of the better ones. Taken as the skies start taking on a warm glow.
This was at about a quarter to seven.
The more the merrier.
Once the morning was bright enough I proceeded to venture inside the actual building complex.
And I saw for real what I have seen before in so many pictures and documentaries. Yes, it was my dream-come-true moment :) Cheesy eh?
This entrance is closed for restoration works till mid 2010 if I recall correctly.
More pictures as I traipsed around :
Feeling templed-out yet? :) After absorbing Angkor Wat that morning, I moved on to Banteay Srey, which took almost an hour to reach by moto. 'The Citadel of the Women', that's what the name means.
Banteay Srey's carvings are more delicate and intricate, that's how I can describe it. And its reddish-pinkish shades and smaller size make it stand out from other temples. A simple gallery within the complex has many pictures and information on the restoration works done in Banteay Srey.
I just remembered I have more pics in my handphone but I don't have my cable here with me. Later then. After Banteay Srey I headed back towards Ta Prohm; images from Tomb Raider filled my head. Haha.