Famous for a Reason-Angkor Wat

Angkor wat, siem reap

One place we just couldn’t miss while visiting Siem Reap was Angkor Wat. By far the most famous of all the temple complexes, it’s also the most visited.

Storms over Angkor Wat

TIP: we bought our tickets for the temples the day before we wanted to go at 4:40pm when they were first available for purchase. This allowed us to enter the temple complex that night until close at around 6:30. We used this time to visit Angkor Wat and therefore saving the whole next day for the rest of the temples.

Carvings at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

We were actually planning to go to Angkor for sunset but the weather had other plans. Ominous clouds loomed over the complex as Jeremy ran to get some shots. These are not the typical rose colored shots that you typically see people capture of the temple but they have their own charm.

Silhouette at Angkor Wat

After capturing shots outside, we ran inside just in time to watch the downpour from the protection of the large stone structure. As the rain pounded outside and we wandered the inner passageways we couldn’t help but wonder what it looked like in its prime. Intricate cavings covered every wall detailing traditional Cambodian apsara dancers, headless statues decapitated during the rise of the Khmer Rouge lined the darkened hallways and the smell of incense from the many offerings wafted through the air. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe meandering through such a historic site as this.

Quick history lesson: built in 802 and taking 30 years to complete from the work of 5,000 artisans and 50,000 laborers, this 500 acre temple complex is one of the largest ever built. Originally built by a king as a temple for the Hindu god Vishnu, the complex and city around it flourished until the 1400’s when present day Thailand invaded and the temple was abandoned only to be rediscovered in the 1800’s.

Scripture at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
The actual architecture of Angkor has significant meaning as well. The peaks in the middle of the complex are supposed to signify Mount Meru, the mountain where the Hindu gods are said to dwell at the center of the universe. The five peaks of Meru are represented by the sprouting lotus bud like towers in the middle. The surrounding walls stand for mountains and the moat stands for the ocean.
Angkor wat, siem reap
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00096235019545240777 Allie Leow

    I personally enjoyed Angkor Thom more than Angkor Wat. For me, angkor wat was too overrated and crowded. Angkor Thom however was serene with that tint of “mysteriousity” :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14654096304189464625 Kaity

    this observation completely downplays the beauty and the significance of this site, but I’ve always thought Angkor Wat looked like a hive or something that insects built.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10888956203263380230 Susannah

    Angkor Wat is definitely on my travel bucket list!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02277056535139881326 Z

    All of these photos are gorgeous – I love how everything is in focus! incredible!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07238434752028472905 Jenna

    Stunning photos! While Angkor Wat wasn’t my favorite either… it was still incredible :) I love all of the ‘little tour guides’ walking around too :) xxx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18255015430958927483 Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    This is such a dream destination for me!!! Your pics are gorgeous!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02913265997617945920 Esther Ju*Lee

    Love that silhouette shot of you in the window!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13960779899701551823 Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats

    Looks great, even in the rain. Look forward to seeing it for myself!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13102172304221199163 Aryn Hill

    I like that you guys didn’t get the ‘typical’ shot. These moody pictures are lovely too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04953214506719119690 Quyen Nguyen

    I can’t wait to go one day! It looks astoundingly beautiful! I hope they do something to limit or reduce the affects on having so many visitors each day. I would hate for Angkor Wat to not remain as pristine as it is!

  • http://themovetoamerica.wordpress.com/ themovetoamerica

    This looks so awesome – a real ‘must visit’ place!

    Molly xo

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11549638575724507778 Kendra

    I love the shot of you in the window! What gorgeous pictures to capture such a beautiful place!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10425016951944242428 Melyssa Griffin

    Beautiful pics! I went to Angkor Wat last year and recognize all of these places which makes me a special kind of happy! It wasn’t my favorite either though — I’m excited to see which one was yours!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07177081269343759076 Treasure Tromp

    wow, this looks gorgeous, Chelsea. oh I want to go!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09473864297662164393 Mallory @ Sweet Smores

    Definitely one of the top places I want to visit! I need to somehow plan a trip there, especially when I’m a lot closer here than home! Angkor Wat is such a beautiful place. It was crazy how it was hidden for such a long time underneath a forest until someone stumbled upon it by accident.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826015816996127842 Georgina

    Oh my goodness, these pictures are stunning. I like that they’re so moody and dramatic. I’m planning a trip to Cambodia around this time next year and after seeing these I’m trying to figure out a way to go sooner!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00712843681109803204 Henry Linn

    Gorgeous photos! Amazing how far they’ve come, and the stories they hold within their walls! I love the mysterious places.

    Trip advisor

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06237012309371404166 Hanna

    I love the mysterious atmosphere of these photos, Angkor Wat is definitely one of the many places I want to visit!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06720694596549999667 Caroline

    My God, structures like these just stun me. Amazing how far they’ve come, and the stories they hold within their walls! Very dramatic photos, I like! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14647707557228625706 Amanda

    It’s absolutely stunning looking! My best friend just visited this summer and between your and her photos it is somewhere I think I must see. xx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03481775343584575260 Casey Martin

    I am getting so excited for Cambodia after seeing your posts! I’m still going to sending you an email when I finally get a moment to do some research on all the temples! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08797568345510218583 Megan C. Stroup

    Gorgeous photos! And thanks for the brief history lesson. I enjoy learning about places almost as much as I enjoy visiting them. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01840314026818615727 Asia Reynolds

    it’s beautiful I really want to see it for myself


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09543581308363689982 Chantal

    So beautiful!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12090735810562146009 M and L

    that picture of you is stunning. this all looks so dreamy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06324919732483734094 Christy

    That rain looks so much better than the 107 degree weather we had when we were there! Great pics!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01462804060646159589 Rachel Murphree

    I only recently learned about Angkor Wat, and it’s quickly rising higher on my list of places to go…