We can all agree that waking up at 3am is not anybody’s idea of a great start of the day. Especially if you have to do it while on holidays!!
Well, I did it in Cambodia and I must say,.. Getting to see the sunrise at the Angkor Wat was one of the most amazing experiences in my life.
Morning started in the usual South East Asian chaos. Woke up (obviously) late, wrapped some clothes I thought I could use through the day and ran downstairs where there were about 20 different Tuk-tuks waiting for people who had the very same idea as us.
I lost 10 minutes until I could finally see who was going to be the driver for the rest of the day; we found him sleeping inside.. Who could blame him,..at those hours! We jumped in and ran to the ticket office where hundreds of people get together at that time, hoping to be able to get one of the first 50 tickets, drive to the temples and find a good spot to see the sunrise.
This moment become literally a tuk tuk race in the middle of Siem Riep, where you see hundreds of them coming out of all hotels, picking up people from bars and driving everyone to the ticket office. The road gets crowded with all tourists and drivers joking and shouting at each other to see who gets there first.
Our driver particularly, was extremely excited to reach in the first place and kept shouting in Cambodian to the driver behind us. Then, suddenly, in the middle of the road would turn around and shout at the 3 of us: “Now, when reach. You RUN!!! No worry about me, I wait but you run and be first!!!!!!!!” and then kept on driving faster and laughing. A pretty hilarious moment if you consider the actual time this was happening…
We got lucky and got our tickets pretty quick. It was only one crazy ride left until we could see one of the wonders of the worlds. I couldn’t have been more excited. I had been dreaming of visiting the Angkor Temples since I was a kid and saw my father reading about them. Well, the dream was coming true!!
I haven’t seen anything as magnificent as Angkor. Despite the overcrowd, watching the sun come up on the Temple of Angkor was something magical. I was there, standing in front of the largest religious monument in the world and I, for once, had no words. Thousands of years of history, you could almost sense the Hindu & Buddhist Ancestors that once habited the temple…
We went back to the tuk-tuk, driver was once again sleeping (Still nothing to blame, 10am and almost 50 degrees in the sun!) and moved on to the rest of the temples in the area.
The Bayon Temple, also known as Temple of the Faces, where you can feel a hundred eyes looking at you while exploring it. Getting lost in its corridors and terraces or the Baphuon, from which, after quite a lot of climbing, you get to admire the views of the Angkor Thom.
When you reach Ta Prohm, which will be crowded with Tomb Raider fans & Angelina’s, but absolutely stunned by the power of nature. Trees growing inside the temple, using its walls as a partner to hang on. Although half of the temple is now demolish and not in the best state, we could still appreciate its beauty.
It was one of the longest days I have ever lived but honestly, I can’t remember being any happier. I felt amazed every minute of the day since I woke up at 3am, until I could finally relax by the pool in the evening in our magnificent hotel in Siem Riep, The Claremont Hotel a total recommendation for everyone who visits the area!
I definitely wasn’t long enough in Cambodia and it’s in my “Go Back to” List. I was gladly surprised by the beauty of the country and the kindness of Cambodians. They always have a smile on them…something we have lost in the western part of the world..