People who know me are quite aware of the very reason why I wanted to see the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And like the immensity of the Angkor Complex, I could tell you a whole lot of reasons why one should not miss exploring this particular temple. I have at least 9 reasons why I wanted to see and explore this place:
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage site (I believe, the only one in Cambodia).
- If you are a movie buff like me, you know exactly that this magnificent monument plays a (very) symbolical role in Wong Kar Wai’s movies, In the Mood for Love and its sequel, 2046.
- Magnificent and well-known sunrise.
- The temple itself is enough reason.
- Angkor Wat is just one temple inside the whole Angkor Complex, meaning there’s more to explore and discover.
- It is a great opportunity for photography. A very challenging one, if I may say so.
- Stories and legends you’ll only hear straight from the locals.
- Angkor is a convergence, a meeting place of the most diverse people you will ever meet (or people you thought you will never meet).
- I am keeping a personal promise. :-)
The Angkor Wat before the break of dawn featuring the three classic towers which according to a Buddist Khmer tour guide, represent Vishnu (center), Shiva, and Rama. There are actually different interpretations. But this one is what I remembered the most.
I will not bore you with the hard facts of this temple as you would easily find them via Google. There are hundreds of literatures in the Internet about this site, so I will just share with my own experience.
On our way to the entrance, I spotted this lady who seem to be in a pondering mood. Love the way she looks over that moat. Can't resist not to take a shot.
We took the 3-day pass which is enough to explore the Angkor Archeological Park. You need to pay $40 for the whole visit. I personally think it is worth the fee and the effort. Some of you may get a stone burnt-out after the third day of seeing nothing but stone temples and ruins. As my friends would often joke, “Wah, bato na naman?” (Stone again?!) After awhile, they would all look the same.
A closer look at the three main towers. Sunrise time is over, we get a better detail of the temple, particularly the texture. But the sky is dull.
Out of the 9 reasons I listed, the only disappointment would be number 3. Yes, I failed to see the sunrise. A shame really. So, the set of photos I took in Angkor Wat was nothing compared to what Ferdz got. No kidding. I am not comparing my works with his' but to fully appreciate the number 3 reasons, I think you should re-visit his post which in my humble opinion is a collection of superb shots. Mine is a mediocre.
Main entrance of the temple proper as seen from the eastern end of the naga causeway. Angkor Wat is flocked by thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Visiting Angkor Wat during the month of November has its own disadvantages. One, it’s the cold/rainy season in Cambodia, meaning either we get the drizzle early in the morning and late afternoon or we get nothing but thick clouds covering the sky. Second, it is considered the peak season so obviously, the temple is flocked by thousands of tourists. They usually come in large groups carried by buses. It was (so) hard to take a decent shot of the temple without a tourist included in every frame, grrr! It’s frustrating.
Out of the many people walking on the main entrance of the temple, these two got my attention. They were in a bit of a hurry, still they hold hands going through the thick crowd.
We got up as early as 5 am just to catch the famous Angkor sunrise, waited for hours and didn’t get anything worthwhile. So the least we could do was to enjoy the place. The lighting condition was not good to take photos. Worst, it's a bit dark going inside the temple since there’s not enough light to work on. Using a flash is a big spoil.
One of the libraries upon entering the Angkor Wat.
We met a novice monk from Vietnam. We saw him again two or more times that day during our visits to the other temple. He asked for my e-mail so I could send him his photos. Smart guy.
Another interpretation is that, the temple was build according Brahman techniques to represent the entire universe. The central tower represents the sacred mountain situated at the centre of the universe. The 5 towers make the symbolism consistent with the 5 peaks of Mt. Meru.
Anyway, I did whisper my deepest secret in the holes of Angkor (which I’ve been acheing to do since I got there, hehe!). We also met a lot of great people along the way. One could use a lot of the extra time while waiting for the sun to rise. We met a nice couple from Reykjavic, Iceland who informed us about the status of Filipino migrants in Iceland. He said that Filipinos are third, next to Thailand. We also met a guy from The Netherlands who made a joke about us, inquiring “Are all Filipinos crazy?”. He was referring to my friends’ wacky poses of course, which he joined in eventually. And this novice monk from Vietnam whom we met three times during our whole visit to the Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples.
I didn't tell this to my friends, but given the chance, I want to visit Angkor Wat again. Maybe spend some more time and see the sunrise this time. I don't know if I can comeback, but who knows.