By far the most impressive of ALL the Cambodia ruins we came across on our trip had to be Bayon in Angkor Thom. From the detailed rock-carvings within it to the strategic point where it was located within the city, this ancient monument to Khmer people sits alone as reminder to just how progressive their technology must have been in the 12th and 13th centuries.
I didn’t look at too many photos of Cambodian ruins prior to making this trip, and boy am I glad I didn’t! Rick and I honestly had no idea what to expect.
On the first day we ventured into the enormous ruins area from Siem Reap, we hired a tuk-tuk driver to take us in. We stopped at the ticket booth to purchase tickets, and it was $20 U.S. per person per day. I thought that was a bit steep and asked if they had any packages deals. They did, and even though we ended up purchasing a 3 day package, the price per day was still the same. The advantage to the package was that we wouldn’t have to stand in line a second or third day to purchase tickets, we could just enter the ruins area with our already purchased 3 day ticket. In the end in worked out since we were only planning on visiting the ruins 3 days in total.
We came upon Bayon in the end of the first day of exploring. That day we had got a late start since that was also the day we arrived in Siem Reap and checked into our hostel. In the middle of the afternoon we arrived at Angkor Wat, but didn’t enter it because of how massive the entrance way is. We did some filming, and the sun was beginning to set.
We asked our tuk-tuk if theire was anything else he could take us too in a reasonable amount of time. The park closes at 6pm except to locals, and since it was February, that also around the time the sun sets. It was nearly 5:30 when we headed towards Bayon. We had no idea what it looked like or how long it would take to get there from Angkor Wat.
We pulled up on Bayon about 10 minutes later, and clearly Bayon was impressive! Mr. tuk-tuk driver reminded us of the local rules of the park closing soon. Rick immediately pulled out the tri pod and began filming fron the center of the entrance. She made about a 4 minute shot of stills, pans, zoom ins and a few others. We walked around a bit. You could see many tuk-tuks heading in both directions, Bayon sits at the center of the road, and is enveloped by a large circular road with a main road continuing at the front and rear of the main set of bayon ruins. Locals were making their way into the complex in drives, and tourists in tuk-tuks were on the way out. The light of the day was eclipsing, and it was time to leave.
We returned to Bayon on day 3 and spent the entire afternoon there. It was amazing, and as you can see in the video, we got a really good look at it. It was my favorite part of the Khmer ruins to experience. I love it!