Our day began with a hearty complimentary breakfast at the hotel courtyard by which time our smiling tuk-tuk guy arrived. We were off for the most exciting part of our adventure: to see the Angkor Wat!
First there are tickets to be bought, 20$ per day, 30$ for 3 days and 60$ for a weekly ticket. We were planning on two days so we bought the 30$ pass which had our instantly-clicked-photos on them for identification. This is crucial and needs to be kept handy at all times when within the Angkor Archaeological Park. Before entering each temple, visitors are asked to show this i.d. failure of which results in an immediate 100$ fine.
Our first stop was the Angkor Wat, of course. Just the sight was enough to evoke a goose-flesh moment. We were here!
It is an architectural marvel, yes! It has stood the test of centuries, yes! It is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, yes! But what no one tells you is that conquering Angkor Wat requires huge reserves of strength and stamina. Just the walk from the car-park to the temple itself is easily over a kilometre. In the blazing sun, which did not spare us even in October, we were drenched in perspiration within 10 minutes. The temple is in most parts the best preserved of all the temples that we saw in our two day tour but it requires constant alertness about where you step as the steps of stone are eroded with time and uneven.