Sunrise at Angkor Wat temple complex
Excerpts from my entertaining emails home to family and friends.
Here is Day Two of my visit to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat in December 2009.
It was an early start this morning. Up at 0430 to catch the tuk tuk to
see the sunrise from one of the temples in the Angkor Wat complex. It
turned out that our hotel manager ( who calls himself Mr Bean as he
does bare an uncanny “asian” resemblance to the character) gave us
some excellent advice. He said that hundreds of tourists descend on a
particular temple each morning to watch the sunrise and that jostling
for a good position to get that all-important photo opportunity and view
actually detracts you from what should be a serene, beautiful experience. He
recommended that we go to another temple further away that he thought
was just as good. Well, it was brilliant ! We were the only people
there bar 2 others !
After sunrise at 6 am we returned to our hotel
for breakfast before continuing our 1 day tour of the Angkor Wat
complex. There were 9 of us on 3 tuk tuks and we shared 1 guide. He was
lovely but I didn’t think his English was good enough. I really
struggled to understand half of what he said. So if any of you come
here remember to ensure that your guide speaks good English.
We visited about 8 temples today. I felt really crook after breakfast with
“gut rot” and on our way to the first temple I really wondered if I
could get through the day feeling that awful. I took some anti-nausea and
anti-diarrhoeal medication and thank God it settled things down and I was soon fine.
Visiting the temples all in one day involves a bit of walking and
quite a lot of climbing.
It was a beautiful sunny day -I presume about
32 degrees so we were soon sweaty and sticky as usual. It would be a
real struggle in the hot season. Yes, there are many steep steps on the
way to the top of some temples and I did get the jelly leg shakes at
Apparently there were 2 million people living in the Angkor
Wat complex at the height of the empire. The temples were built by various Hindu and
Buddist kings from about 200 AD to the 17th century.
One temple,Phimeanakas, has an ancient approx. 175 metre swimming pool next to it
which was for the king’s concubines. He had a relatively small pool
My favorite temple is Ta Prohm. When all the temples were
rediscovered the jungle had reclaimed them and the roots of large
trees were tangled in the stonework. Ta Prohm is the only temple where
the trees/roots have not been removed. The result looks like something
out on a fairytale. Awesome photos.
The last temple we visited was
Angkor Wat. In the afterrnoon you get a lovely reflection of the
temple in the two man-made lakes in front of it.
There are a number of large man-made lakes within the whole complex.
I can’t begin to imagine the man-hours involved it digging them out.
It was a big day and I must have easily taken 200 photos!
I forgot to mention that my medical charity boss has
arranged for me to lecture dental or medical students at the
International University ( Phnom Penh) on Monday afternoons while I am
in Cambodia. There are quite a few universities in Phnom Penh but our
charity is involved with this one which has medical, dental and pharmacy faculties.
I did my first teaching session there a few days ago.
The university building looks to be only a few years old. I met up with about
twenty 3rd year dental students in a very hot stuffy room. I struggle without air-con and
I was sweating like crazy. I taught them how to take a blood
pressure and then about CPR. We had a St John’s DVD to watch and then
5 mini “Resus-Annie” dummies to practice on. After that I taught them to take blood of eachother. It was
quite fun to do a bit teaching.
Chow for now,