Angkor Wat is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. It’s one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia containing well-preserved remains of the 12th century Khmer Empire that ruled over Cambodia. The main Angkor Wat temple is located only four miles north of Siem Reap and is $20 pp per day to enter. You can hire a tuk-tuk driver for the entire day for $15. Angkor Wat is one of the oldest religious temples in the world and one of the most amazing places we’ve visited on our trip to date.
It was constructed by Khmer Emperor Surayavarman in an effort to build a bigger, taller, more opulent temple and one-up all other temples built by previous leaders. What makes this temple cool is not only the sheer size, it’s absolutely massive, but how they built it. In my basic, non archeological voice… the land allotted for the temple was carved out from thick, tropical forest. The local-people dug a moat (yes, a moat) around a huge square piece of land. Rocks from far away hills were brought in to build the temple, Pyramid style. Hand-carved, and put into place without the use of any machinery. The Angkor Wat temple should be explored in three days. Once within the temple grounds, your tuk-tuk driver drops you off at the entrance of the moat. Once one crosses the moat, you enter a large grassy area before making your way to the main entrance. You can see the five pillars that make this place so memorable. There is an outer boundary with long hallways decorated with picture-carvings telling stories of Khmer times. Once you pass through the first halls, you enter another ‘square’ and soon find yourself in the middle of the temple, with the five massive pillars in front of you. Oh, and the entire temple is floating on water from the moat. One of the best parts of Angkor Wat is that you can climb on everything. There is no part of the temple off limits. Explore as you please. And boy, did we explore. We even arrived before sunrise one morning to see the sun rise above the temple. What an unreal experience.