Sun rise at Angkor Wat
I have lots to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving day.
I am very thankful to be spending Thanksgiving with my brother, my sister-in-law and good friends. I’m thankful to be able to travel to beautiful places like Thailand and now, here in Siem Reap. Early this morning, I watched an incredible sun rise over Angkor Wat — which is also so incredible. I am thankful to be able to explore the Ancient Angkor — one of the World Heritage sites.
I am also thankful to have lots of supportive friends and family back home. Again, lots to be thankful for.
Like I said, we started out our day very early in the morning — 5:30 a.m. at Angkor Wat. We were here the day before for the sunset for a quick visit before dinner. But, it’s nothing like watching the sun rise. I thought we were getting to Angkor Wat pretty early. But when we got here, there were already hundreds of other tourists here. They too had the same idea of watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat.
After the spectacular sun rise, we went about exploring Angkor Wat. So much history behind just one temple/site. We didn’t have a tour guide. But, I would sneak a listen to some of the guides who spoke english to other tourists.
According to legend, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra to act as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea in the 12th century. Originally a Hindu place of worship, toward the end of the 12th century, the site was slowly converted into a Buddhism site — which it is still today.
By 7 a.m., we were done exploring Angkor Wat and ready for some breakfast. We asked our driver for a recommendation of one of several tiny restaurants by Angkor Wat. But, our driver suggested we go to one larger restaurant in the back of the other small restraurants for better food. We took him up on his suggestion.
Dora and Aom at Bayon.
It was pretty clean compared to the other outdoor food stalls. And, it looked like the local police officers liked dining there, too, as there were a number of officers eating while were were there.
Afterward, we continued on our tour of the Ancient Angkors. Next stop, Bayon, one of the richly decorated temples.
Faces on the towers of Bayon
They say that this temple, built in the late 12th century, is one of the most complex of the Angkor temples. Originally, they think there were from 49 to 54 towers. Today, only 37 are left standing. Each of these towers are carved with four faces. There are also guardian lions at the site.
By mid-morning, after touring Bayon, our group decided to explore one more temple site. We choose to visit Ta Prohm. The temple is popular due to its site being used in the film, “Lara Craft: Tomb Raider.”
Randy and Aom at Ta Prohm.
The trees growing out of the ruins are perhaps the most distinctive feature of Ta Prohm. But it is also the cause of some of the destruction of the temple.
We figured out why so many tourists start the day of exploring the Ancient Angkor so early in the morning. By late morning, the heat and humidity were getting to us.
After Ta Prohm, we were done walking the Ancient Angkor sites and were ready to head back to Siem Reap.
With the afternoon clear of activities, I decided to go for a relaxing massage. I opted to just stay at our hotel and get the 90-minute traditional Khumer massage.
My massage was so relaxing that I think I fell asleep during part of my massage. It’s like a regular massage back in the states, but you don’t get fully undressed. Rather, you change into very loose clothing so they can massage you.
After my massage, I got a much needed nap before group dinner at 5 p.m.
This was our Thanksgiving meal. Our dinner consisted of Khumar-style food: Curries and amok, plus a Cambodian taco (more like an omlette), sauteed veggies, coconut and mango shakes, iced coffee drinks and beer. Draft beer: 50 cents. Dishes range from $2 to $4. Total cost of our Thanksgiving feast for six people: Under $40.
The rest of the night was again more walking and site seeing, shopping and a stop for a night cap before heading back to the hotel.
Tomorrow, a day of relaxing/site-seeing before we head back to Bangkok.