Pack Light, Travel Often travel blog

Without a beach or river to offer a cooling breeze, Siem Reap is a whole different kind of hot. Even after midnight the temperature is above 30° and the humidity is ridiculous. We arrive late due to a lot of unscheduled pick ups on the bus and a flat tyre. But our hotel still welcomes us with refrigerated wet towels and lemongrass juice. We get a room with air conditioning so we spoil ourselves with a lie in the next day.

Having been told that there was very little to do here, we were pleasantly surprised by the wide choice of restaurants and bars on Pub Street, as well as the bargain buys we find at the markets. We get lunch and spend the afternoon shopping, before collapsing into sweaty heaps back at our hotel room.

Up at 4am the next day, we ride to Angkor Wat for sunrise. This remarkable place has been on my travel wishlist for a while so I was pleased to be heading there early. I wanted to see as much as possible before being burnt out by the sun. Sunrise around the lake is beautiful, as the iconic image of Angkor Wat is reflected in the water. The temple itself is a wonder. The detail of the stonework and the scale of the buildings is astonishing.

We visit Bayon Temple, Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the Elephants. But my personal favourite has to be Ta Prohm, where nature has started to reclaim its space in the jungle. Trees entwine with stone, as branches push through rooftops and roots wind through windows. There is a very ethereal feeling to it all.

The size of this place leaves my mind reeling. It seems impossible to explore it all. But I feel ecstatic to have seen even some of it. What a remarkable place. Dehydrated and delirious we return to our hotel, giggling at nothing and smiling at our day.

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