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Angkor Wat

10/2023 A visit to Angkor Wat, Cambodia

We finished up in Europe and headed to Cambodia by way of Doha and Bangkok. The stop in Doha at midnight was to change planes with a 2 AM departure. The Doha airport is hopping at midnight! We checked out the Qatar Air lounge – nice! Then we flew to Bangkok to spend the day and night, not wanting to worry about making the connection to Siem Reap when we arrived or having to hang out for 6 hours in the airport after an overnight flight.

This bear is in the center of the Doha airport.

The next day we flew to Siem Reap’s very nice, clean, small, organized airport to start the Angkor Wat sightseeing. We got our Cambodian visa ahead of time online so no line at immigration.

Siem Reap is the hub for visiting Angkor Wat. We’ve been here before where we used a tour guide for 2 days of hearing about many kings and rulers and wars. This time we just hired a tuk-tuk driver to take us to various temples we wanted to see again. We started every day at 7 AM to TRY to hit the coolest part of the day. It was still REALLY hot and humid and we gave up on the temples by noon every day, retreating to our Temple Hotel in the middle of Siem Reap for A/C and a cool pool. Beer was only $1 so that helped, too.
Angkor Wat temple complex is HUGE with dozens of ruined temples. The main temple of Angkor Wat was the only temple that was crowded. We wandered around the others almost on our own. Quite clearly, tourism has not returned to pre-COVID levels here although it’s the tail end of the rainy season and should have been busier.

This guide was waiting for his group. This was an example of how unbusy the temples were.
Another temple to wander around at 7:30 AM alone.
The trees and moss grow everywhere.
We think this was the tree that is featured in the Angelina Jolie movie.
These carvings all tell a story of some battle or another.
They’ve added a “Visit” route for the temple but not much info about where you are going when you get to a “Opportunities for Visit” sign with arrows pointing 2 different ways. We didn’t see any pamphlets or even QR codes to guide the visit.
I’m not sure which goddess this is.
How hot was it? At one point the temperatures were in the high 80’s with 80 per cent humidity. My glasses fogged up in the air (not even the A/C) and we both had sweat rolling down our face, neck, head and a few other unmentionable places.

We saved Angkor Wat for the last day not knowing this was a Buddhist worship day for the ½ moon. The temple area was the most crowded of any temple so far with Asian tour groups and Cambodians coming to worship. Many were dressed in special clothing and carrying flowers. The top level of the temple was closed to everyone. We read that they use timed tickets to access that level now but even that was not going on today. The Korean tour groups were out in mass! The Japanese tour groups were so polite when they blocked the way – the others, not so much!
Drivers drop off people at foot of long walk up to the pools, turn right for ticket check, and then cross the pontoon bridge to get to Angkor Wat – all in the direct sun, of course! Mark walked up a few flights of steps that Susan passed on – too hot and no rails! We saw a NZ couple and he said “welcome to the sun” as we came out of the temple.

Angkor Wat in the haze.
The long approach to Angkor Wat and this was after a walk along a sunny road.
These women were cleaning plants out of the lake surrounding the temple.
He looked very grouchy and hissed at anyone who walked by.