Cambodia Day 2 – An Afternoon at Angkor Wat & Sunset at Phnom Bahkeng

The recommended place after lunch is Angkor wat, the premier time for coming out of Angkor Wat is about 2-3pm, when the light for pictures will be PERFECT and you’ll get the picture postcard of Angkor reflected in the lake in front of the temple.

Angkor Wat of course is THE most famous temple in the Angkor Complex, and probably, THE most famous temple in the world. You can easily spend 2-3 hours just wondering around, studying the Bas Reliefs and just sitting atop the temple, peacefully staring over the kilometeres of untouched jungle.

Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre–first Hindu, then Buddhist–since its foundation.

It is breathtaking, honestly you can even imagine how tremendous it is, until you stand in front of it, in awe.

  • You can see it on TV
  • You can read about it in books
  • You can see endless pictures

But REALLY it’s not the same as standing in front of it. I mean the freaking moat is 180m wide, YEAH THATS RIGHT BITCH 180 FRIGGIN METRES. Makes our European moats look like trickles of piss in the sand.

Angkor Wat Moat

It is of course a world heritage site.

Angkor Wat World Heritage

There’s still plenty of reminants of the Khmer regime with bullet holes all over the place, and some damage from heavy ordinance too, pretty sad to see how people can disrespect the ancient culture like that.

Angkor Wat Bullet Holes

There are, of course, beautiful Apsara everywhere again.

Angkor Wat Apsara

There’s nothing like walking up the paved way to Angkor Wat.

First view of Angkor Wat

The Bas Relief are very long and VERY detailed telling epic stories on each of the 4 sides of the main complex.

Bas-relief is a method of sculpting which entails carving or etching away the surface of a flat piece of stone or metal. The word is derived from the Italian basso rilievo, the literal translation meaning raised contrast. To explain simply it is a sculpture portrayed as a picture. The portrayed image is raised above the background flat surface.

Bas relief

Angkor Wat Bas Relief

With fascinating Hindu legends such as the demons and the gods uniting bound together by the snake Naga to churn the Sea of Milk for the elixir of immortality.

Churning the Sea of Milk

On the eastern gallery is one of the most celebrated scenes, the Churning of the Sea of Milk, showing 92 asuras and 88 devas using the serpent Vasuki to churn the sea under Vishnu’s direction (Mannikka counts only 91 asuras, and explains the asymmetrical numbers as representing the number of days from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, and from the equinox to the summer solstice).[32] It is followed by Vishnu defeating asuras (a 16th-century addition).

It’s a pretty steep climb up to the top, but it’s worth it, 100%.

Angkor Wat Steps

I sat here for quite some time, just taking in the peace of ancient feeling of the place, and admiring the view of the untouched jungles.

On top of Angkor Wat

My Mom of course, totally LOVED it.

Mom at Angkor

This is the famous Angkor Wat postcard picture, this is one of my favourite pictures of the trip.

Angkor Wat Postcard

And yeah, just to prove I was there and I didn’t steal the pictures 😛

ShaolinTiger at Angkor Wat

It’s pretty tiring, and a lot of walking and huge steps involved.

After Angkor Wat, we headed up to Phnom Bahkeng for the sunset over the grand lake Tonle Sap, it’s the most famous place for the Sunset in the Angkor complex.

The rulers of Angkor constructed many temple mountains, but Phnom Bakeng is all natural stone. The temple on the summit was built in the late 9th or early 10th century by Jacawarman I (or Yasovarman I). At the top of the hillock are 5 successive rows of 12 sanctuaries each. Here the Royal Linga – phallic symbol of the King in his divine state – was placed.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat is supposed to be spectacular aswell.

It’s quite a steep path up to Phnom Bahkeng, so be prepared.

Path to Phnom Bahkeng

You can see Angkor Wat from the top too, the steps are huge though, so it’s more of a crawl to get to the top of the temple.

Unfortunately it’s become ‘the’ stopping place for the sunset especially on huge group package tours *sigh*, luckily our guide is smart, and took us there very early, around 4pm, before anyone was there, sunset was at 5.45pm.

So we had a good hour of peace before the unwashed masses started arriving.

Phnom Bahkeng

As you can see by the crowds, not a good place to be, so I left before the sunset.

Phnom Bahkeng Crowds

I did manage to get a fantastic picture anyway, which is my new wallpaper.

Phnom Bahkeng Sunset

Make sure you have loads of insect repellant on if you stick around for the sunset, mozzie heaven! Oh yah, you’re supposed to take Malaria tablets before you go too, so check with your local doctor for what’s best for you.

After that was back to the Guesthouse for a nice shower, write down the days adventures, check out the pictures and a similar dinner as last night (With beer of course!)

Tommorow, guess what? MORE TEMPLES!


Cambodia Day 1 – Leaving on a Jet Plane to Siem Reap
Cambodia Day 2 – Itinerary – Morning in Angkor Thom and Bayon




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8 Responses to Cambodia Day 2 – An Afternoon at Angkor Wat & Sunset at Phnom Bahkeng

  1. Fireangel February 24, 2006 at 10:50 am #

    so pwetttttty!

  2. moo_t February 24, 2006 at 11:13 am #

    the premier time for coming out of Angkor Wat is about 2-3pm, when the light for pictures will be PERFECT.

    Tiger, you forget the daylight saving times rules apply here : Sun will rise at different time when country locate further from equotor.

  3. foodcrazee February 24, 2006 at 2:09 pm #

    whata sight and pic…

  4. HOCKEEY February 24, 2006 at 8:39 pm #


  5. Cheryl February 25, 2006 at 9:50 am #


    what a refreshing change…. been reading other blogs, all repeating more or less the same mundane news/events. I’ve learned about the Angkor Wat and the carvings; have seen the pictures. Now I wanna go see it myself.

    more…more!! 😀

    ps: Great shot of mum with the fan 🙂 *movie star*

  6. ShaolinTiger February 25, 2006 at 6:08 pm #

    moo_t: Yah it is fairly near the equator though, so from the guidebooks the time is fairly much the same all year around.

    HOCKEEY: My pleasure. Yes I typed correctly the flight was $9.99 during an Air Asia promotion, as they had just started flying to Siem Reap, I was very fortunate.

    Cheryl: I agree most blogs are rather boring nowdays, all repeating the same things.

  7. Emily February 26, 2006 at 2:03 am #

    Looking forward to your next entry on the temples!

  8. zbjernak February 27, 2006 at 1:55 pm #

    tht is really really nice…

    love the sunset…and of course the oh-so-famous lake reflections postcard picture….