It was 4:30 am when my alarm went off. I stumble out of bed. My body was exhausted but my mind was awake and ready for a day of exploring and adventure.
Today, I was finally off to see the famous temples of Angkor which are known as the largest religious monument in the world. I was going to explore some of the main temples. Of course, I was heading there for the sunrise, a must do for Angkor Wat. I went downstairs where I was greeted by a young gentleman who was going to be my tuk-tuk driver for the day. A bargain for a mere $15 a day. He was going to take me around the huge park, from temple to temple. I can’t remember his name. He spoke a tiny bit of English, but he didn’t try to spam me despite the tales you hear of Cambodia. In fact, he was very friendly with a kind smile on his face which was great as I was alone and had put all my faith and trust into this complete stranger.
I sat in the back of the tuk-tuk anticipating the day ahead, the morning chill hitting me sharply in the face as we sped down the empty roads of Siem Reap.
Arriving at the main entrance, I discovered hundreds of other early morning risers. I joined the line of very tired looking people to buy my ticket. I stood behind a couple from Brazil. The lady was quite aggressive towards the staff because she didn’t want to have her photo taken for the pass, which is a requirement for your entry inside the complex.
The ticket costs $20 for a day pass, which is the one I purchased. If you want to explore longer you can get a 3 day pass $40 or a 7 day pass $60. It was completely worth the money, and I think they are great bargains for anyone on a budget, especially when travelling in Cambodia, as everything is very cheap there anyways.
My tuk-tuk driver drove me as close to Angkor Wat as he could. I had to walk the rest of the way by myself in a massive crowd of people. The people made it easier to follow the path as everyone was going the same way. It was still dark outside, but there were no lights to guide me except the shine from the moon in the distance and a small amount of light from torches that people had brought with them.
I waited at the viewpoint, I had scored myself a great spot, right at the front to witness that “must see sunrise over the ancient temple of Angkor Wat”. They say go for sunrise to beat the crowds but you don’t beat them. Everyone has clicked on to this old trick in the book now. There are still so many people there. There is a way to beat the crowds though, that is to sneak away from the crowds and go to explore in and around the temple. There are so many identical photos of the sunrise you can take and you will find that you will have the temple to yourself. You will always be one step ahead of all the other people there, whilst they are still snapping away for that perfect sunrise photo that you are getting more of a chance to take the unique photos as you can explore to your heart’s desire and at your own speed.