They told us that we simply couldn’t miss sunrise at Angkor Wat. So we woke up at four and trekked through the ruins in the dark only to find about twenty million tourists with cameras at the ready who seemed to have little interest in the spiritual experience that I had been promised by a friendly Aussie. Matt kindly captured a few pictures for us too so here is one for your enjoyment.
Despite the very real beauty of the sunrise and the world’s largest religious building, I couldn’t help feeling sad that we live in an era when, despite the fact that many (privileged) people are able to travel, capturing beauty seems to hold more value than experiencing it.
Days later we found ourselves cycling around the temples and exploring the surprisingly untouched jungles that surround them. We were told that it was possible to cycle on top of the epic old city walls so we pushed our bikes up to explore.
What we found was a lost world of grandeur and power and nature and life. On our left was the steep drop of the ancient wall, the stunning, overgrown moat and almost at eye level, the canopy of trees that have sprung up beside and within the wall. On our right, the jungle sloped gently down from the wall. Squirrels jumped through the canopies, hundreds of butterflies danced through the tree trunks and a chorus of thousands of birds filled the air.
It. Took. My. Breath. Away.
I love people. Especially when we’re sharing something magical. But this time, the company of the forest was the best by far.
Incidentally, we don’t have many pictures of the most beautiful place we visited. Which isn’t really surprising.
Next Stop: Phnom Penh — at Angkor Wat, Seam Reap.