Angkor Wat Third Day: Sunrise at Angkor and Floating Village

On our third and final day in Cambodia, we woke up VERY early, caught the tuk-tuk at 5:45 AM and headed to Angkor Wat. The idea was to experience a calm peaceful, solitary sunrise, but we were amazed that many busloads of tourists (most of whom were Japanese) had beat us there and were setting up their camera tripods in front of the temple and were noisily waiting for the sun to appear.

We quickly walked past the tourists and up to the very top of Angkor. Even there, a few people had gathered, but everyone was quiet and respectful. The sunrise was quite amazing -- not so much the way the sun looked as it rose above the horizon, for I have seen many sunrises and sunsets before. But instead it was more of a spiritual feeling this time with my back propped up against this amazing ancient temple, looking out over the trees, listening to the birds calling to each other and watching the yellow light dancing on the grey carved sandstone.

The afternoon of the third day was spent at the floating village on the great lake called Tonle Sap. When Mark and I visited last time during the rainy season, Tonle Sap was much wider, and the floating village was closer to the main road. But now in the dry season the village is out on the lake. We hired a boat for $10 each to get a closer look at the floating houses and restaurants. I recognized a few of the same buildings (like a Christian Church) but it was funny to see them in a different location.

So all in all, it was another great trip. The temple ruins of Angkor are still as impressive as they were to me three years ago. This time around I knew a little bit more about the context of SE Asian history, which made the experience all the more richer. Unfortunately, though, the tourist bubble of Siem Reap don't allow one to learn much about modern Cambodian culture, but perhaps I can explore the country a bit on my own at some later date.

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This page contains a single entry by Stuart published on February 9, 2006 6:22 PM.

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