Arriving at Angkor Wat for sunrise was a little more complex than we had hoped for. We had overslept and were running drastically late. It was 5.15AM and while we were awake at 4.30AM in preparation for the day, we had not anticipated the lengthy ticket queues at the Angkor Wat Ticketing Centre. To say that this place tests your patience would be a huge understatement. However, we managed to purchase our tickets, hightail it to our rented tuk tuk, and zip our way through the traffic to the entrance of the Angkor Wat National Park.
The sky was starting to lighten as we strolled up to the water’s edge. As we found our space in the crowds of people, we had managed to score a seat to what has been hailed ‘the most spectacular show of nature’.
I was giddy with excitement. I love sunrises, and in my lengthy travels I have seen some spectacular ones. Though, every traveller I have spoken to has always mentioned Angkor Wat as one of the best.
As the sun began to rise, the cool blues of the night began to melt away and the fire of the day ignited the sparse clouds that were aimlessly drifting. As the light increased the silhouette of Angkor Wat came in to view. I waited with baited breath. The anticipation was palpable in the crowd.
Cameras snapped relentlessly as the sun painted the sky a different shade of orange. I remained poised. I kept waiting for the moment when the evening sky succumbs to the sunrise and becomes a vision reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting...... but it never came. The orange haze coated the sky and bathed the brickwork of the UNESCO Heritiage site in beauty, but the rainbow of colours did not appear.
My friend and I decided at this moment to appreciate the moment for what it was, abandon the crowds and explore some of the Temple before the crowds of tourists dominated the space. We weaved our way through the corridors, taking advantage of the vacant rooms and obstruction free doorways. Then we arrived at the courtyard surrounding the central spire. It was here where Mother Nature put on a show.
The sun had strategically positioned itself between the towers leaving the sky to transform into a palette of purple.
It was truly a site to behold. Regretting my decision to leave my post was difficult to do when you are presented with a majestic sight like this.