31 January 2012
I'm well aware that my tolerance level for temples and ruins can be rather low. Ruined temples? Yep, turns out similar. I chose to get the one day ticket for the Angkor Archeological Park, and it was the right decision.
The one day ticket allows access after 5pm the evening before, the idea being you get to see the sunset at Angkor Wat. Unfortunately, on the evening I was there, the sun wasn't playing ball and all I saw was the moody onset of darkness rather than layered cloud sky sun pyrotechnics.
My full day I headed out early, to cycle around the complex in the cool of the morning. I confess I wasn't early enough for sunrise, but the light of the low sun was enough. I stopped first at Banteay Kdei, then at Ta Prohm, then to fix a flat tyre, then at Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Som. I swung past Angkor Wat again to wrap up the day. Ta Prohm was probably the highlight.
I found myself preferring the view of the ruins from outside or while cycling past to the slightly claustrophobic clambering around inside surrounded by tour groups.
The sights and sounds of 'restoration' were a little disconcerting too. Part of the allure of the place is the decrepitude: piles of fallen stones, tree roots and trunks slithering over and through walls, the reminder that everything man-made will be destroyed, and that eschatology concerns us all. Masonry drills and chisels make me think the place is being rebuilt.
Across the evening and subsequent day, stats are as follows:
66km, 18.2km/h, 3hr38min, 5169km