After getting entrance ticket, we reached Angkor Wat, where our vehicle dropped us just before the entrance gate. It was still dark and thus, we had to use our mobile torch light to find out the path to the temple, but what surprised me was the number of visitors already present there and heading towards the temple. There was no adequate arrangement of street lights on the way to the main arena, so we took extra care with torch lights on, to walk to the temple premises. Soon, we also became part of the countless heads which were present to witness the sunrise at the temple. I was not expecting the large number of visitors, but after seeing big flow of visitors, made me little cautious. Few minutes back, I was happy to arrive before time at the venue, because of time management but suddenly realized that we were late, after seeing the number of tourists already present there.
We crossed the plastic floating bridge in the dim light of mobile phone and there was no light in the surroundings, so we could not see and imagine about the water body, we were just walking in a straight direction like other visitors.
Our ticket was checked just before the entrance of the main arena and than we followed the crowd.
It was walk of 15 minutes from the parking to the main temple area and after we crossed the first gate, we could see the structure of the magnificent temple but it was still dark so only outline was visible and moving ahead we found that nearly hundreds of visitors were standing on the edge of a small pond, with cameras ready to capture the first glimpse of sunrise.
This was my first experience, when I had made an effort to watch sunrise from a temple, so I had no idea on how its looks. I had seen sunrise from mountains, beaches, flights. but for the first time I was witnessing sunrise from a temple.
I followed the other tourists and luckily, I got my space in the crowd and just in front of the pond, all this was possible due to early arrival. My wife and parents also got the comfortable space to witness the scenery, which is the hot topic of the town.
Soon, first rays of sun were visible and the temple structure was now visible in front and its replica on the water surface.
The first glimpse excited all the tourists and there was non-stop clicking of the cameras. The light started to brighten and the temple’s figures started taking the shape.
The temple was getting brighter and brighter as the brightness of sun was increasing. With every passing second, the nature was changing color and so too the temple. I kept my position still, because I found that the space around lake has become overcrowded and nearly three sides of pond were surrounded with visitors.
Let’s take a tour of the temple sunrise moments-
It was around 6:15 AM when the entire episode was over, but the sun was still behind the temple and nothing could be seen.
The temple was open for visitors, so, we decided to move towards the temple and most of the visitors had already left the pond area, but we saved those moments by taking selfie.
But, what was the takeaway, after so much effort??
- I felt that the call to visitors to witness sunrise from Angkor Wat is over hyped, off course it was a unique and beautiful experience but it is not so appealing to visit again for similar experience.
- Sunrise was only limited to the brightness of light but the sun was not visible at all, I heard local people talking about this being a magnificent scenery, but it was not so.
- If visiting for this tour, camera quality needs to be very good like SLR, DSLR, as simple cameras won’t take good pictures in the dark.
- Arrive early so that to reserve place near the pond and to avoid the rushing crowd.
- Pond is not maintained at all inspite of the fact, the high entrance fees is charged from tourists, the pond water was not clean and no proper place to sit near the pond.
In nutshell, i would rate this experience 3 out of 5.