Angkor Cambodia

Angkor Wat

As you wander around the jungle-covered ruins of Angkor Wat at dawn the piercing sound of cicadas breaks the silence as the first rays of the sun appear and create a silhouette of the temple.  Angkor Wat is a World Heritage Site and was built in the 12th century by the Khmer king, Suryavarman II, as his mausoleum and with its galleries, towers and moat is the biggest religious monument in the world.  It remained undiscovered for over 600 years since the collapse of the Khmer Empire until the 19th Century. 

January and February have the lowest rainfall.  Temperatures are consistently high throughout the year and the rainy season is between May and October.  People visit despite the rain and in the tropics it can be just part of the experience.

The morning light sets off the bas-reliefs of the mythical battles and epic Hindu scenes.  The incredible detail on over 1,800 carved asparas (a female spirit of the clouds and water) can be admired as you climb towards the central sanctuary.

You can visit Tonle Sap nearby which has over 100 bird species and over 300 types of fish.  Over 40,000 families make a living fishing on the lake.  You can take a boat trip to really experience the wildlife and enjoy the views.

There are other temples in the area, such as Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei.  From Phnom Bakheng you get distant views of the towers of Angkor Wat and, if you are lucky, you may see the bats as the light fades.