I didn’t plan to come to Cambodia; it was a last minute decision. Some amazingly traveled people suggested it, so I hopped a plane. I had visions of ruins, but to be honest, I don’t think I’m much of a ruins person. Like I’m not much a museum person. Not really a history buff.
Once you’ve seen one ruins, you’ve seen them all
Is kind of what I thought…. but, actually I think they’re all unique and fascinating. I surprised myself. My first day of ruins touring, I was joined by a lovely young British Opera singer, Katie. She has been traveling for five months. We both sat to watch the sunrise, her with her headphones in and me alone and happy with my thoughts. The sun didn’t actually rise! The sky just lightened up like a shirt dipped in bleach – slowly and seeping in. After about twenty minutes of seepage, I told Katie I’d see her back at our Tuk Tuk for the day, and headed on my way. Our driver had suggested three hours, and I wondered what I would do for three hours!
I decided not to go through the gates that everybody else was going through, but instead headed far to the right. It was an ethereally quiet entrance, straight ahead through the monstrously large gateway doors was a long gravel road, spider webs hung, a cold and ancient smell permeated my nostrils, and shivers ran up my backbone. I was alone on a property that had been around for centuries; thousands of people were on the property as well, but there was not a sign, sight or smell of them. I decided I liked it, and smiled contentedly to myself, snapping a few photos, marveling at the Hindu and Buddhist statues and the massive grounds I had just entered. I learned later that the statues are dressed and undressed daily by dedicated monks. The monks lived in a small building just off the grounds.
I wandered around the grounds and tried to snap shots where there weren’t people. It was difficult. This site gets over 2 million visitors a year. Plus there are alot of locals that spend time on the site. Angkor Wat is beautiful. The symbol of Cambodia, it is even on their flag.
This site was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. It has been a site of worship for Hindus and Buddhists in the past.
Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th Century by King Suryavarmanthe II, of the Khmer Empire.
It is certainly an awe-inspiring site, and I did end up noticing that 2.5 hours raced by…. I took my time, played with photography and wondered about the ancient peoples who had worshiped in Angkor Wat, and often sat peacefully and just was present. I am privileged to have gotten here, and it made my decision to come to Cambodia the right one!