Angkor Wat. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the temples that make up the complex of temples have been in existence for over a millenium. There’s very little that is more awe-inspiring than seeing the temples stand another day during sunrise, in the light of day and at sunset.

The following photos taken by Kiwi show Angkor Wat over the course of two days, which allowed us to schedule a day to wake up early for sunrise, and another to go back and re-explore.

In order to get a prime viewing spot for sunrise at Angkor Wat, our tuk-tuk driver picked us up from our hotel at 4:30 a.m. The complex was located about 20 minutes away, but we needed to line up to buy our pass (which requires a headshot).

We arrived to the outer entrance of Angkor Wat at about 5:30 a.m. As we walked along the entrance, we could see a steady stream of tuk-tuks and buses parading in. We walked through the gates and ended up on a lawn and pond on the left side of the wat, a recommendation by a cafe worker who offered to bring coffee (for a price) to where we were standing. It wasn’t a bad location rec, judging from the first couple of photos.

Angkor Wat at sunrise. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Angkor Wat in early morning. Photo by Warwick Meade.

We went back a couple of days later, as part of the steady stream going in during the late morning. What was great about having the chance to return was that we were familiar with how the wat was laid out, now we could spend more time slowly exploring and focusing on the intricate details:

Angkor Wat in the morning. Photo by Warwick Meade.

East side of Angkor Wat. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Angkor Wat. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Angkor Wat. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Angkor Wat. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Admittedly, this post is thin on details on Angkor Wat itself, because I’m still overwhelmed by the size, the history and the details of the architecture, the art (the walls are covered in bas reliefs), and its role in religion. You could easily just take a book and hang out in a corner of Angkor Wat and relax amongst something much, much bigger than you or I.

One thing I think we wished we did was hire a docent or guide to show us around. The tourists who hired their own guides had an opportunity to ask questions about whatever interested them the most, be it the art or religion or Khmer culture.

Angkor Wat is arguably the most well known wat in the complex, and there’s many, many other wats to explore. I will have a blog post up in the next couple of days about Angkor Thom, a city of temples that we explored after Angkor Wat on the first day. That is arguably a cooler area to explore.

All photos by Kiwi.