Cambodia: Angkor Wat

13.4125° N, 103.8667° E


Our return to the states lay close ahead and we had agreed early on to strategically end our three month stint in Cambodia in the city of Siem Reap. We all wanted to experience the famed temples of Angkor Wat. After such a long journey of learning we decided to keep it short and sweet with our adventures and opted into a one day exploration hitting the two most popular temples, Angkor Wat & Ta Prohm, with a little added time tossed in there when we stumbled upon the Banyon temple.

Angkor Wat itself was an epic illustration of craftsmanship and dedication with it's long hallways and gigantic stone pillars. Even with the guide book in hand spelling out the process through which the temples were raised, I stood in disbelief that this was a product of human ingenuity. We are such incredible creatures.

The sprawling city drew me into my imagination: what would it have been like to have been born in a time when these massive structures stood tall and proud, free of the boards of reconstruction and renovation? Every stone seemed to tell it's own story. Each one having witnessed the ages and fallen victim to the ever shifting currents of human belief. I slipped quietly away from my team, ducking in an out of the pillars that held high ceilings who once gave way to thousands upon thousands of prayers to the Hindu God Vishnu and later to Buddhist mantras, not wanting to miss a moment of quiet in this ancient and beautiful place.

Being a lover of shameless-kick-assery and action-packed adventure films had me excited to leave behind Angkor Wat and head to Ta Prohm, the shoot-location of both Tomb Raider & Indiana Jones. The giant trees with their roots woven through the walls, now a part of the temples just as much as the originally laid stone, had always been something I'd desired to see, and it didn't disappoint. The forest had laid claim to the temple, just about swallowing it whole. Honestly, it just made the experience that much more magical. It felt wild.

The day complete, and feeling satisfied we headed out but not without making an unplanned pit stop at the Banyon temple on the way out. We simply couldn't pass up all those giant faces made of a multitude of individual stones. I mean, Look how beautiful and intricate they are!

With that, enjoy the photos, and seriously-- mark this spot on your "to go" list because you don't wanna miss this adventure.