Cambodia Travel Notes - Part 5 (Scenic Photos: Angkor Wat)
Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group in Siem Reap. It is approached crossing a causeway across a moat. After passing through the portal at the end of the causeway, there comes a view of a vast courtyard at the end of which is the temple (wat). As vast as the courtyard is, chances are that the walkway is heavily peopled by tourists.
The temple consists of a number of levels. The third level contains five towers -- a central tower and smaller ones at the four corners. The central tower stands 65 meters (213 feet) above the ground.
There are numerous bas-reliefs of apsaras ("celestial dancers") on the walls. At first, when seen from afar, they look repetitious. Upon closer inspection, these apsaras are in fact unique. The tour guides seem to make it a point to say that visitors always touch these figures to the point that parts of their bodies have become smooth and shiny over the years. Guess which are the favorite body parts?
The first time of day to visit Angkor Wat is in the evening as the temple faces west. Access to the top level is through a set of steps. Although not high, the steps are steep (75 degrees grade) and will intimidate the faint of heart. The reward is a magnificent sunset view.