Temples of Angkor - 3:45 am and the alarm goes off, a very bleary eyed and tired me wonders if this Cycling to catch the sunrise was a good idea, maybe we should get another half hour and go in a tuk-tuk?? No, we're up and by 4am out of our room and taking to the roads in our rented $1 bicycles, a nice ride and not to difficult to find - you just follow the seemingly endless stream of tuk-tuks making the same journey! 40 minutes later and after a small stop at the ticket booth along the way, we arrive at Angkor Wat. The first thing that strikes you is the size of the moat! So wide, can't imagine a European castle can even nearly compete! After parking our bikes we walk across the bridge and through the outer gate, the first glimpse of the magnificent temples is something you could never forget, I'm know I won't! We gathered near the outer pool to watch the sunrise, absolutely magical views. We moved into the main temple complex before the hoards of tourists could, it was so peaceful as most people stopped for breakfast outside, the architecture and scale was amazing and after a good look round completely alone we stopped for some breakfast.
After breakfast we hopped onto our bikes and began the journey to some of the outer temples, next up was to be Ta Prohm, the 'Tomb Raider' temple. Here nature really has run riot, huge tree roots are strangling the temple walls, me and D both noted it almost didn't look real, we took so many photos and wandered around for an age in awe of what we were seeing! Somehow we managed to pull ourselves away. Next stop was the walled 'city' of Angkor Thom, the former capital of Kampuchea (Cambodias former name) the temples are Kilometres apart and by now we had already cycled 15-18k and were pretty tired, inside we passed the terrace of the elephants en route to Bayon, completely different again to the temples we had seen previously. There are 54 Pillars each with 4 identical faces on top staring down at you! At most points you can see these 216 faces peering at you! Built by King Jayavarman VII the faces allegedly bare resemblance to the king himself! We stopped and explored Angkor Thom a little more before cycling the 12km back to town, as our route took us back past Angkor Wat we did stop again just to take in that initial view you get when walking through the outer gate! Still unbelievable! Without doubt the best sight/experience of the whole trip for me, I would recommend it to anyone as a must see. A slow cycle back was followed by an ice cold shower apiece and a mid afternoon nap! We had a night out to get ready for after all.