Personally, I feel that calling this beautiful place the “Tomb Raider Temple” is rather embarrassing and degrading.
I loved how the trees grow over the temple, stretching their roots across the walls, a union between nature and man-made structure.
This column particularly impressed me because, our guide told us that these holes originally contained diamonds! One can only imagine how beautiful the reflection of the hundreds of precious stones must have been when sunlight filtered in on a day like this.
The exploration of this temple took a memorable turn, when we were brought on an “adventure” by our guide, away from the crowds, across boulders and narrow passageways, to reach areas seemingly untainted by the presence of other humans. Thanks to him, we were able to experience quiet corners of the temple, otherwise though to be inaccessible. It made the muscle aches I experienced later on worth it ;p
As we made our way to Angkor Wat, bathed in the dim early-morning light, I thought: This is it. This is the reason why we came here in the first place – to experience the wondrous Temples of Angkor. Angkor Wat.
Waking up at 4AM and leaving the hotel at 5AM was totally worth it. Though we did not get the ideal sunrise, we managed to beat the crowds which started coming in hoards after 8AM.
I loved the freshness of the early morning air, the slanted sun’s rays through the ancient pillars, and just the general feeling of mystery and secrecy, while walking around the temple grounds, admiring stories and sights from long ago, hidden within the temple walls. If only all the temples we visited had remained like that – quiet and pensive, without tourists spoiling the atmosphere with camera clicks (ok I’m guilty of that too), extravagant poses, and louder-than-necessary voices.
I miss you, Angkor Wat, and if there was a reason why I’d want to visit Siem Reap again, it would be YOU!