Thursday, March 22, 2012

Angkor Wat's off the bucket list

 1st March 2012

Angkor Wat has now been struck off our bucket list. This, the largest pre-industrial urban development,  once connected by a hydraulic network of canals and dams, is for some people, their only reason for visiting Siem Reap. Opting to fly in and fly out in one we were told. It's a pity, because Siem Reap itself is a well worth a few days stay.

Our one day pass to Angkor Wat...OK, we look a trifle dishevelled, but hey, it was stifling hot, already!

Standing at the front entrance of Angkor Wat, I'm starting to appreciate why the women behind me are dressed the way they are. 

The enormity of the complex can be more appreciated from the top of the central tower which can be accessed by climbing stairs, or should I say, ladder with a railing. All well and good on the way up because one doesn't have to look down, but descending, for someone who has a fear of falling (stay one step below me Stray!!!! and NO, you can't stop to take a photo of me) it's not an easy task. The extent to which I had clenched my quadriceps on the way down became evident as soon as I'd set foot on the ground. Three days, and many little steps later, I was back to normal.
You might be able to make out a small ball in the sky (above)? A giant yellow helium balloon. It's anchored to terra firma, and had I known how inexpensive it was, I would have liked to have taken a bird's eye view.  

Thought bubble - Springing a leak might be a problem though? What happens? Does it go whizzing around in the sky uncontrollably making raspberry sounds? Do the passengers talk like Alvin the chipmunk for a few days?
No, these are not 'the' stairs
I did feel sorry for some visitors being refused entry to the heart of the Wat, due to their lack of clothing. Such a long way to travel to be so disappointed. Having visited more temples than I can remember, I knew to take shirt to cover my shoulders and there's no way you'd catch me in something too short, these days.

It made me wonder why they're weren't hiring out or offering suitable attire, like they do at Bangkok's Royal Palaces.

Stray and I opted to visit only 3 out of the 4 temples on our tour. Our tuk tuk driver suggested that one of them was boring. Second on our itinerary was Angkor Thom.

To be continued.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, for our 2 days we got 3 day passes and by the second day they were threatening to fall apart. The guide had to get special permission to continue using one because it was pretty much sogged into 2 (not mine ;-)

This year our trip just happened to coincide with a holy day so the stairs were off limits. I was fine with that. Totally. I can do up but I'm not good at down.

The balloon was cheap? Darn it. Darn darn darn it...

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine Not a hot air balloon, but yes, cheap by western standards. According to the link, US$15 for 10 minutes, 200 metres up in the air.

Ticket! Our hotel didn't know how to relay to us that our ticket was a 24 hour pass and we could have seen the sunset or sunrise over the wat, long story...oh well.

Peter_M said... Best Blogger Tips

I have not been to Angkor Wat, but I can certainly relate to those 'clenched quadriceps' moments at Ayutthaya and Wat Arun. It is such fun to fearlessly and boldly ascend those steep steps, then you get to to the top and revel in the magnificent views, but at the same time have that 'wtf' moment as you realize you have to get back down again. At the end of the day, safely back at ground level, with a beer in hand, it was all a magnificent Indiana Jones adventure :-)

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

"fearlessly and boldly ascend those steep steps, then you get to to the top and revel in the magnificent views, but at the same time have that 'wtf' moment as you realize you have to get back down again"

Agreed, I was thinking about the &*^%$(@ descent on the way up!

Maybe I should have taken a beer or two with me ;)

I never encountered any steep stairs at the Ayutthaya ruins, but we were only there for an hour or so, and have only seen Wat Arun from the river a few times. I must stop off there one day, it looks quite grand.

Peter_M said... Best Blogger Tips

Ayuttahya does have a few prangs, not tall like Wat Arun, and maybe not high by most peoples standards, but when you are at the top of one of them looking down a vertical staircase believe me they are high ;-)

Snap,>Wat Arun

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Peter_M Those steps in your photo of Wat Aurn look plenty steep to me. Thanks for the link.