Sunrise Over Angkor Wat

Tuesday, February 2

Today was by far are earliest of days during vacation, but holy moly was it worth it! We found a tuk-tuk driver Monday night that agreed to pick us up at our hotel at 5:00 {yes you read that right...my 4:30am alarm was not a welcome sound!} We agreed to $7 a person for Tina and I to your us around some of the fourth out temples, off the main circuit, starting with sunrise at Angkor Wat.

We arrived to Angkor Wat a little after 5:30 in the morning and were honestly surprised at the number of other crazies that were out there with us chasing the sunrise (it may not have helped that the previous 2 mornings apparently had poopy/cloudy sunrises so some people came back in hope of a good show!) I'll be honest, there aren't really words to describe what we saw. Sunrises are always an amazing spectacle to watch, but when you have the opportunity to watch the sun rising over a 1,000+ year old structure and you begin thinking about how many sunrises this place has seen and that more than likely the men who built this temple 1,000 years ago sat in the same spot watching the same sunrise...you can't help but getting goosebumps while realizing how amazing our world truly is that we live! It reminded me so much of my time 5 years earlier watching the same sun come up behind the pyramids in Egypt...sometimes life is surreal!


After the sunrise we spent a little time exploring Angkor Wat a second time and then made stops to some further out & less touristy temples (off the main route the drivers take) including Preah Khan, Neat Pean, Prerup, and Ta Prohm. These temples, although not as well kept as the "main ones" were fascinating in their own rights and allowed us to truly explore the temple and imagine what it may have once looked like in  its former glory.



We had every intention of having our driver with us until noon, but around 10am we started to feel the pull of our eye lids and we had him drop us off around 11 with just enough time to nap, pack up the rest of our belongings, and check out of our hostel.


Our afternoon was filled with lunch (umm hello spicy papaya salad where have you been my whole life?!) walking through the local markets, stocking up on last minute souvenirs (including a painting that I cannot wait to hang up!) sight seeing within the main town (including some stops at much newer and active temples) and finally grabbing a late night dinner and grabbing a tuktuk to the airport. A relaxing afternoon was well deserved!


So I could stop there, but what's the fun in leaving out a little action in our day. I said we grabbed a tuktuk to the airport, but nothing runs that smoothly when your traveling!! We got to our hostel and planned on walking our luggage down the dirt road until we ran into a tuktuk that would take us for a reasonable price. We get into eye sight of the hostel though and I see a guest leaving the hostel and loading his belongings into an already almost fill tuktuk...he had to be going to the airport, I just knew it! So of course being the shy quite person I am {hehe} hollered the guy and asked where he was going...BINGO...the airport! I asked if he cared if he had company and of course because of my charming personality {or because he thought I was crazy!} he said yes!

To say the 3 of us AND all our luggage was a tight squeeze in the tuktuk is an understatement; I'm not sure I could see poor Tina's eyes for the first 10 minutes of the drive! We were piled in though and out of town, maybe 15 or 20 minutes into our 25 minute drive, when all of a sudden we hear this horrible sound, followed by our tuktuck making a sharp turn, we feel some big bumps, and then we crash. Umm...what just happened?? Turns out we may have been a tad over capacity for the speed we were going and the poor guy we shared the ride with, his bag fell off the front of the tuktuk with no one noticing, the tuktuk then proceeded to "run over" the bag the best it could, although that just resulted in the bag getting stuck in the tuktuk's wheels. Needless to say that was enough to put our cart off balance and threw the whole thing into a nearby light post on the side of the highway....luckily we were all fine, the bag had some new wear and tear and the tuktuk a crack on the front, but we were fine! Obviously though, getting to the airport a couple minutes later was a welcome relief as we checked in and boarded our plane, headed for Bangkok!