Originally constructed as a Hindu temple in honor of Vishnu, Angkor Wat was has always stood apart from other temples.
Located in Siem Reap Cambodia, Angkor Wat is the nation’s biggest draw for tourists from across the world. The Khmer people also take pride in Angkor Wat, proudly representing it on their flag.
Visiting Angkor Wat for myself, there’s really no way to describe it that can do it justice. It’s massive – unbelievably large! My brain whirled a little bit thinking about how much work it must have been to build it – and way back in the 12th century to boot!
Taking up 402 acres, it’s no surprise that standing in front of Angkor Wat invokes a sense of smallness and wonder in it’s 2.1 million annual visitors.
I am so happy that Angkor wasn’t destroyed while the Khmer Rogue was in power, as many temples, and their residing monks, were destroyed by the regime.
Fun Fact: A communist party known as the Khmer Rogues once ruled Cambodia, killing everyone who was not natively Khmer. An estimated 2 million Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and other non-native men, women, and children were killed during this time not so long ago (1975-1979). The U.S is happy to stick it’s fingers in other communist pies but did not step in to help Cambodia at all during it’s own little mini holocaust…hmm…
Like many other historical sites, Angkor Wat has typical operating hours – 5 am to 7pm. I recommend planning your visit through an agency or your hotel/hostel. This is because Angkor has a few different sites that you can visit, called “circuits”, and a tour allows you to have Tuk Tuk driver that will take you to them.
I had toyed with the idea of renting a motorbike and driving myself, but I’m so glad I opted for the guided tour. While all of the sites seem to be in the general vicinity of one another, there are many backroads / side roads / twisty roads involved. Don’t get my wrong, I enjoy getting lost sometimes…just not in a jungle full of monkeys.