When we were in the very early planning stages of our trip, we knew that we definitely, absolutely had to make the trip to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Archaeological Park. The temples at Angkor are among the oldest in the world, and Angkor Wat is actually the largest religious building in the world.
Angkor means 'city' in the Khmer language, and the famous tourist attraction that exists today is the site of the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire.
Apparently, Angkor was the world's largest city before the Industrial Revolution and had a population of over 1 million people at a time when London was inhabited by 50,000 people.
These are all pretty amazing facts, but nothing could have prepared us for just how massive and intriguing this ancient city is.
We began our first day at Angkor at around 8am, when our tuk tuk driver picked us up from our guesthouse. Taking a tuk tuk is the best way to get around the park, as it really is a huge area, and it also provides you with shelter from the hot sun.
After we bought our tickets, our first stop of the day was Srah Srang, which is a big water reservoir. There is a platform above the top of the reservoir which is flanked by naga serpents and guardian lions. As you approach the steps to the platform, the lake appears almost like a surprise, as it remains hidden by the terrace. This lake is apparently a very popular spot to watch the sunrise.
Nearby to Ta Keo is Chau Say Tevoda temple and Thommanon Temple which we visited next. The two temples were built in similar styles, with Buddhist and Hindu carvings.
Our lunch spot
Near our lunch spot was an abandoned ruin of a temple, where we stopped to take some pictures. Nathan found a shedded snake skin there, but alas (!) he did not find a snake.
Cheeky monkeys outside the temple
One funny thing that happened just before we entered the temple was watching the monkeys climbing in the trees outside. We watched one monkey jump down from a tree to snatch a bag of bananas from a poor unsuspecting woman! It was quite funny to watch.
Angkor Wat at sunset
Day two blog post is coming up soon :)
Thanks for reading,