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During the sunrise is a magical time of day to visit Angkor Wat. Tourists crowd the reflecting pond for photos and monkeys start coming out of the surrounding trees to join visitors at the temple. Absolutely stunning and a must see, even with crowds.
This massive temple takes more time to explore inside and out. Covering 10 square kilometers you will find yourself wandering Angkor Thom for at least an hour and half, if not longer. The impressive south gate is worth a few pictures alone depicting the epic story of the churning of the sea of milk. Where demons and gods had to pull the Naga (5 headed snake god) rope for a thousand years to try and get the elixir of youth. Make sure you spend an ample amount of time in the Bayon with heads looking at you from every direction. Don’t forget the Elephant and Lepur King Terraces as well.
Located inside Angkor Thom is one of the most recognized and mesmerizing temples of Angkor. Walking around you will see face after face carved into all sides of the temple. Spend time here to explore and climb a little to see different perspectives.
Ta Keo is a quick stop as it is a smaller, unfinished temple. While it is still unknown to why the temple wasn’t completed, it is still worth taking a peek.
Ta Prohm has to be on the top of our list as this majestic temple looks like it was swallowed by the jungle and enormous trees. Unique from the other temples of Angkor you will easily recognize this place if you are a fan of Tomb Raider. You feel like you’re in a lost world and after about 200 pictures and at least an hour later you may catch yourself walking back through for more.
Banteay Kdei & Sra Srang
These are less crowded and worth a visit if you need a peaceful break from the crowds. Although, this temple is less preserved than the others you can still find yourself lost in the ancient beauty of the architecture. This is also the only other current option to see at a sunrise in Angkor. Not bad if you would like a more private start to your morning.
Neak Pean * Scott’s Favorite
This was an unexpected gem for us and easily became one of our favorites. You enter the temple by walking on a long, narrow, wooden bridge over water and a gorgeous backdrop of reflections and petrified trees on either side. There are landmine survivors that play traditional Khmer music to add to the atmosphere. Once you reach the temple you will notice how unique this is compared to the rest. Situated between pools of water Neak Pean is unlike anything else you’ve seen in Angkor.
Banteay Srei is a bit of a hike on a tuk-tuk from the rest of the Angkor temples. Situated about 20 kilometers further than the rest, but worth a visit. The temple itself is smaller in size, but the beauty and detail make it worthwhile. The bas reliefs are in the best condition of all the temples. Get close and admire the detail and craftsmanship into each square inch of this place.
Again, Kbal Spean is a hop and skip away via tuk tuk from the rest of the temples. Worth a visit if you are making your way to Banteay Srei. Hike through the jungle to find the River of a Thousand Lingas and beautiful waterfall. Don’t wander off the path here as there are still active landmines known to be present in the area.
*make sure you have clothing/footwear suitable for a small hike.
Day 1: took us around 9 hours
Sunrise at Angkor Wat, then breakfast after outside the temple
Angkor Thom & Bayon
Lunch or Snack Time
Banteay Kdei & Sras Srang
Day 2: Took us around 6 hours
Kbal Spean (1.5 hour away from Siem Reap via tuk tuk)
This place is absolutely massive and we recommend soaking it up. Personally we think two days is too fast and that it should be enjoyed and just soak up the fact that you are walking through one of the most amazing places to have ever existed. But hey, we know you got places to be and people to see. We know we definitely want to come back to see more and are sure you will to.
Be sure to enjoy your time in Siem Reap as well, check out 10 meaningful things to do in Siem Reap!
*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of Bobo&ChiChi. Please do not use them without our permission. If you want to use one of them please contact us to ask first because we’d be absolutely flattered and would love to share. Thanks!
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