Cycling around Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is actually a complex of temples, which includes the temple known as Angkor Wat, dating from 1125.  It is the largest religious complex in the world.  There used to be a city there but since only holy buildings were made of stone, these are the only ones that remain. We decided to buy a 3 day pass and were so glad that we did, as it meant that we could take our time and have a rest day in the middle (the 3 days don’t have to be consecutive).  You can hire a tuk tuk and driver to go around them, or you can bike around them – we decided to bike as we were feeling cheap but it turned out to be a great way to get exercise and to be able to see the temples at our own pace (as well as saving us nearly $50 USD).  It was also a hot and sweaty way to see them – over the 3 days we cycled about 75km with one of those days covering 40km…we were very grateful for the cold jacuzzis on the roof of our guesthouse!

With our awesome bikes
With our awesome bikes

 

On our first day we visited five temples – we started with the tiny and steep Prasat Baksei Chamkrong, which had no other tourists there but made us feel a bit like Tomb Raiders with its steep overgrown steps.

Prasat Baksei Chamkrong
Prasat Baksei Chamkrong

 

Our next visit was the fantastic Bayon temple with its repeating pattern of the King’s face – this temple was one of our favourites.

There were hundreds of faces
There were hundreds of faces

 

The King's Face
The King’s Face

 

The Bayon
The Bayon

 

Temple explorers
Temple explorers

 

We followed this up with a visit to the Baphuon, which is also known as the jigsaw temple as it has been reassembled and its parts put back together – this was only finished in 2011.  Our next visit was to the Elephant and Leper King terraces, where we loved seeing the carved elephants.  Our last stop for the day was Phimeanakas, which is back in the jungle – we had this one all to ourselves.

Baphuon
Baphuon

 

Elephant Terraces
Elephant Terrace

 

Phimeanakas
Phimeanakas

 

Sunset
Sunset

 

On our second day we cycled around the Grand Circuit, visiting 9 different temples.   Our first stop was Prasant Kravan, where Hindu images can still be seen (Cambodia was originally a Hindu country).

Praasat Kravan
Prasant Kravan

Next, we visited Prasat Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang and the beautiful Ta Prohm, seen in the movie Tomb Raider.  Ta Prohm is famous for its tree roots that entwine themselves with the temple itself – this is one of the most popular temples to visit, and we could see why.

Detailing at Prasat Banteay Kdei
Detailing at Prasat Banteay Kdei

 

The royal bathing pond Srah Srang
The royal bathing pond Srah Srang
Reubs at Tah Prohm
Reubs at Tah Prohm

 

The trees and temple are interwoven
The trees and temple are interwoven

 

Us at Tah Prohm
Us at Tah Prohm

 

We had lunch at a roadside cafe, where we learned that they had two different English menus, one with prices for low season and one with prices for high season!  Next stop was Pre Roup, Eastern Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Pean and Preah Khan.  We thought we might feel templed out but they were all so different that it was easy to stay interested.

Pre Roup
Pre Roup

 

Eastern Mebon
Eastern Mebon

 

Reubs at Eastern Mebon
Reubs at Eastern Mebon

 

Ta Som
Ta Som

 

Reubs on the walkway to Neak Pean
Reubs on the walkway to Neak Pean

 

Preah Khan
Preah Khan

 

On our last day, we visited Angkor Wat itself.  We decided to skip the crowds of people visiting at sunrise and went instead at the middle of the day, which was fantastic as there were not many people there and at times we were by ourselves in the temple.  Angkor Wat was stunning, but probably not our favourite of the temples – we couldn’t have missed it though!

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

 

Climbing to the top
Climbing to the top

 

Murals inside
Murals inside

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Aunty Moira says:

    What an amazing place, great idea to bike around it !

    Like

  2. Kate says:

    You guys are like Indiana Jones – very cool!

    Like

  3. Mum Bunn says:

    So many temples!! You were very intrepid doing your explorations by bike.

    Like

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