Arrive in Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, and a city filled with both vibrant life and quiet pockets of cultural charm. The city boasts modern luxuries but maintains a connection to the tradition, especially with its vibrant night market that fills Psar Chaa with the aromas of fresh noodles and simmering onions. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and takes you to your hotel. A tuk tuk arrives at the hotel to guide you through the exceptional expanse of the Angkor complex, beginning with the iconic symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat. En route you notice the vibrant forest trees and can make out the outline of the Siem Reap River floating by.
When you come to the entrance at the west gate you feel both excitement and intimidation. The stone brick bridge carries you over the vast moat. Lions stand guard on either side of the pathway. Their mouths are open in a rocky snarl and their eyes are wide. On the other side of the gate you come to a grassy plaza. The temple is reflected in a large pond. Lilies float on the water’s surface. The 12th century temple was constructed with five towers to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, home to the gods in Hindu mythology.
The late afternoon sun continues to drift across the sky. The scent of sandalwood incense emanates from the temple interior. Enter the magnificent edifice and find the elegant reliefs that tell the ancient stories of Hinduism. Above the central gallery you can see the tower that rises 213 feet from floor to tip. The cavernous halls connect each gateway to the main shrine. You find a silent niche in the grand space of the temple. The sunset brings a depth of saffron and ochre to the sky. The light shines over the reliefs and you see an endless row of Apsaras, the female spirit of clouds and water.