Solo travelling is something I have yet to try. Although, I am more comfortable being with someone else in an unfamiliar place, I know that there are times a person needs to step back and have some time alone.
I went to Siem Reap, Cambodia with fourteen colleagues for three days of volunteer work. It was the first time I went on a trip with a big group so I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t get the chance to experience the Angkor temples on my own. While we spent a lot of time exploring the ruins as a group, we also had some time apart, a chance to be by ourselves.
Angkor Wat is probably the most popular among all the temples in Siem Reap. The sunrise tour to this place may seem overrated but I would highly recommend this to start off the trip. Just like any other tourist attraction, I had to share the beautiful view with a big crowd but it was a scene I’d say was worth the hassle. The change of colors behind the old structure as I awaited the sun to come into full view was truly captivating.
Even though I tried to capture a few different images of the sunrise at this temple (just so I didnt end up with the same photos as the rest of the crowd) the best side was still the lake area where one gets a reflected image of the Angkor Wat. If you come early, you can easily find a spot among the crowd.
It was like being lost in a huge maze of history but instead of being overwhelmed I felt calm and relaxed.
Angkor Thom: South Gate
The smiling Buddha faces! I’m pretty sure no one bothered to count how many there were. I am Catholic but I find nothing wrong with being in temples etc. I think it is a good thing to go to these places with an open mind and look past the differences in religion. I came with some Buddhist friends and it was of course a different experience for them. I came as a spectator of this historical place, and I was simply captivated by its beauty.
I got these yellow and red bracelets in Bayon. The girl gave a humble prayer for health, love and family as she tied the strings on my arm. I don’t want to believe in lucky ornaments but I guess it doesn’t hurt to think positively about these things.
This is one of the lesser known temples in Angkor. By this time, some of the people were already getting the ‘too-many-temples syndrome’. I was still up and excited for the next few ones. Maybe, I was simply a history/architecture fan or something! The interesting thing about this temple was the view from the top and the steep steps to reach that peak. Be careful!
Terrace of the Elephants
The temple I found most fascinating would have to be Ta Phrom. It is a temple engulfed by trees. Well, that’s how I’d put it. Apparently, it’s best known for being featured in one of the Tomb Raider films. The guide mentioned which particular trunk was seen etc, I didn’t really pay attention. It need not be in any film to be famous. It was a sight to behold.
The last stop for our temple tour was Pre Rup. We had to go about some other minor temples (I didn’t include the photos) and struggle to keep off the local kids selling souvenirs (I bought 2 bags from one persistent girl just so she would leave me alone) while we waited for the right time to go to this temple.
Who doesn’t fancy a beautiful sunset? There were two sunset points among the temples of Angkor, but the other one (I can’t recall the name) was made available to a limited number of people so we opted for Pre Rup to make sure we had a good spot. It took an hour of waiting but the view was worth it!
I have yet to travel solo but if ever I push through with the idea I’d surely consider going to solemn places similar to the temples of Angkor.
I was very much impressed by the rich history and culture in Siem Reap. Visiting these temples is must-do if you’re visiting Cambodia!
Have you been to the Temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia? What did you think of the place? Let us know.