The most rewarding “touristy” adventure I went on was seeing the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Angkor Wat is more than this one iconic temple. It is actually a plethora of temples ranging all across Siem Reap, though the most notable are within biking distance of each other.
Mania and I bought 3 day passes ($40 each). The first day, we grabbed bicycles from the Bou Savy Guesthouse and set out in the wee hours of the morning to catch the sunrise at Ta Prohm – the temple of Tomb Raider fame, and less touristy than Angkor Wat itself, which is the most popular site for catching the sun rise and set.
While biking for 1/2hr in the pre-morning black was a bit intimidating, it was well worth the effort. Arriving at one of the most over-taken, crumbling down temples and seeing the light slowly bring the temple and forest to life was magical. We were the only ones there, and I immediately went bounding into roped off zones to take in as much of this beautiful, tree covered temple as possible.
Here’s a video (forgive the poor quality). Just listen to that birdsong. I can’t believe I was actually here!
It was awe-inspiring to see how nature has endured and over-taken the workings of man. I’m not sure why, but it filled me with such joy to see the prowess of man crumble before the strength of the earth.