The Sunrise of a Lifetime: At Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Lotus Pond Reflects Angkor WatAs our feet walk across the ancient stone pathway, our flashlights save us from tripping while we climb into the temple.  It is pitch dark and all we see are specks of light from other flashlights in the invisible crowd.  We can’t see the other people, but we hear their footsteps and whispers.  I look to my husband Josh and say “wow, I feel like I’m in Tomb Raider or an Indiana Jones Movie.  It feels like we are discovering these temples for the first time.”  The experience is purely exhilarating!

You Must See Angkor Wat at Sunrise – So Get Up EARLY!

It was our first full day in Siem Reap, Cambodia and we hired a private tuk-tuk driver to pick us up bright and early – 5 am!  The goal was to get out to to was the sunrise at Angkor Wat temple.  We weren’t the only ones with this plan; in fact, it is a must if you are in this area.

Even with all the other travelers making the trek into the temple, the darkness around us still makes it feel as though we are one of just a few who are about the enjoy this experience.  Honestly having never seen the temples in person yet, walking through the temple on this chilly morning with only our flashlight to light our path is a pretty amazing way to be introduced to such a wonder.

Being such a large complex, there are plenty of areas to get away from the crowds.  We locate a large grassy area in front of the main building, and find a seat on some fallen temple stones.  There is a smoky haze in the sky, likely fields burning in the distance, which enhances the glow of the slowly rising sun.  The silence around us is actually surprising, it seems that all the other visitors are embracing the same reverent spirit toward the monument.  We continue to sit in the peacefulness until well after 6 am.

You Can Breakfast at Angkor Wat After Sunrise

Even though it is so early, we realize that we have been up for hours already…and we are hungry!  It is going to be a long day exploring the many temples in the historic complex, so we need our energy.  Lucky for us, there are actually a set of makeshift restaurants that are set back in some trees from the main temple.  Talk about a convenient location with amazing views!

We walk toward the tents with plastic tables and chairs under them, and suddenly children are all around us – each of them are trying to get us to sit at their table.  We finally agree to sit at the “Angelina Jolie” table (each table was technically a different restaurant with their own servers and cooks).  We laughed as we saw other tables that were named “Tiger Woods,” “Harry Potter,” “Lady Gaga,” “Rambo,” etc.

We enjoy some much needed coffee and order pancakes; mine with fresh pineapple, and Josh’s with banana.  While we wait for our food, we pull out the guidebook and review our plan for the day.  Angkor is a huge complex, so it is critical that you plan out what you want to see.  That’s why we’ve hired the tuk-tuk, he will take us wherever we want to go all day – and wait for us while we are exploring.  Then, breakfast is delivered to our table and we drizzle some local honey on top.  With the first bite we are in heaven!  The pancakes are slightly different than here in the states, they taste as if they have some kind of cornmeal in them…and so yummy!!!

Sunrise at Angkor Wat & Breakfast With a View – a Great Way to Spend the Morning!

After we’ve both cleaned our plates and our bellies are content, the two of us sit back for a few minutes to savor the views and take in the atmosphere around us. What an amazing way to spend our first morning in Cambodia, words hardly do the experience justice!  These are the moments that make travel worthwhile.  After a bit, we realize that it is time to move on.  We are anxious for the day of exploring that is ahead of us; a bit of mystery, history, and lots of adventure!

See some of our other favorite photos below and watch our Sunrise at Angkor Wat Video blog post!

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