By Catherine Kurmelovs
For many years now Angkor Wat has been on my ‘bucket list’ and to have the opportunity to finally see this majestic temple and its surrounds was truly a dream come true.
Angkor is the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire and is home to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat as well as many other surrounding temples and monuments, all of which were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Angkor was abandoned in the 15th century only to be rediscovered in 1861. Since the time of its discovery, many tourists have come to Siem Reap to see this archaeological and historical masterpiece.
The Angkor complex is situated just 15 minutes’ drive from the heart of Siem Reap town where you will find the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the best preserved of the temples in the Angkor complex and even appears on Cambodia’s national flag.
Entering the Angkor complex you go through gates which are surrounded by a picturesque moat and set deep in the lush jungle. It was actually surreal driving through the complex grounds as I felt very much like I was on the set of an Indiana Jones film! As we crossed the lake and walked over the bridge toward Angkor Wat, my finger became ‘snap happy’ so much so that I took countless photos of this magnificent structure. We spent hours exploring the temple and listening to stories of how the ancient Khmer Empire existed. Just sitting in silence in the Temple’s courtyard, simply taking in the moment was incredible.
Our plan was to see Angkor Wat on the first day of our tour however parts of Angkor Wat had been closed off as Hollywood Productions had taken over some of the site. The rumours were that Angelina Jolie and the WWE Superstar John Cena were filming their latest project, ‘The Great Khmer Empire’. Being a fan of WWE and John Cena straight away I was on celebrity watch! My travelling companions were well aware of my excitement of being in the same city as John Cena and even asked a rather tall, muscular man if his name was John… turns out it wasn’t John Cena but it was very amusing anyway! Well unfortunately I didn’t spot any celebrities or cross paths with John this time but it all added to my memories of Angkor and Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is a truly remarkable experience and a visit here will never be forgotten.
You can visit Angkor Wat on our popular small group tours of Cambodia. Click here for details.