It was 4am and we were sitting in a tuk-tuk riding to the grounds of the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire. I rubbed my eyes wondering if this was actually worth it. It was just another sunrise, just another temple. We pulled up to the grounds and we were deposited to a ticket stand. I felt like I was going into an amusement park, purchasing my ticket and going through the ticket slots. We followed like sleepy zombies along with the other tourists, walking through the grounds to Angkor Wat. The sky was getting brighter and I could make out the rounded tips of the three towers of the ancient temple. I sat down on the ground and glaced around at the crowds of tourist, cameras ready. It was then I placed my camera down and decided to just sit, in this moment, in this time, and watch. Just as I did, the sun began to slowly peak above the temple, casting shadows on the pond in front, and turning the building completely black. A chill went down my spine as I realized, this was all worth the 4am tuk-tuk ride and sleepy walk. This was what people talked about.
The grounds of Angkor are made up of several temples which are spread out. Taking a tuk-tuk or even an elephant, is the best mode of transportation to swiftly get around.
Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm are the two most famous temples of Angkor. Ta Prohm is where they filmed Laura Croft's Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones Temple of Doom.
How to Visit: Siem Reap is the closet city to Angkor. You can fly into Siem Reap or take a bus from locations throughout Cambodia, Thailand or Laos. Once in Siem Reap you just have to find a tuk-tuk to take you in the early morning. I recommend arranging a pick up the night before. The time spent at Angkor depends on you. I have heard people say they could have spent days at Angkor, others say at least a full day. If you are like me, I went for the sunrise, saw the three main temples, and then was ready to head back to town. We spent a total of five hours making it back to Siem Reap in time for lunch. You must decide yourself how long you need.