To be honest with you, before this trip the only thing I really knew about Cambodia was that Angelina Jolie had visited and then adopted her first child from this place. I suppose that’s what I get for reading trashy magazines rather than geography and history text books.
Ricky had blabbered on about being excited to see some temples and I was less than convinced. After a quick TripAdvisor search I was dismayed to discover that the temples were actually the main, no make that, (almost) only, attraction that draws tourists to this part of Cambodia. I was even more hesitant when I saw the recent price hike of entry tickets. But I could see that Ricky wasn’t going to back down on this one. And then our tuk tuk driver mentioned that Tomb Raider was filmed in one of the many temples and I suddenly found myself agreeing to a 4.30am start of what was going to be a long day of temple viewing. Hey, if it’s good enough for Ms. Jolie then I suppose I can make an exception… So I had a date with the temples.
#1 If the price of the date had me reconsidering my need to visit, then I’m probably not that into you.
A single day ticket to the Angkor Archaeological Park used to cost $20 USD. This admission price included entry to the famous Angkor Wat and a host of other ruins / temples. None of which I really wanted to see but I guess $20 USD per adult was okay. It’s an acceptable price and one I had been agreeable enough to part with for this sight seeing adventure. That was until further research indicated that a price increase as of 1 February 2017 meant the ticket cost was now $37 USD. Hold up! That’s almost double the original ticket price. What the? How could they? I was ready to say no right then and there, pleading with Ricky to reconsider for the sake of the budget (as an accountant sometimes this seems to be the only language he understands!), but even this wasn’t swaying his decision. The 4 am alarm was damn well set.
#2 If the highlight of the date was the food, then I’m probably not that into you.
Seriously the fresh juicy pineapple and delicious potato and coleslaw toasted sandwich were amazing in both price and taste, and had me wishing I could drive out to Angkor Wat just for breakfast every day. Yup, that was my parting thought after viewing the temple complex for a ridiculous three hours.
#3 If I find myself dreading the rest of the date and wishing I could head back ‘home’, then I’m probably not that into you.
Temple after temple, competing for air with the same people in tight spaces and seeing similar rocks over and over again had me begging for the end of the day. It was too hot for this crap and I just wasn’t interested. These photo’s may make it look like we were idyllically exploring these ancient sites solo, but I can assure you we were part of a tourist hoard that numbered into the thousands. Credit to my husband, the family photographer, for creating this illusion.
Eek that was a lot of temple bashing. I apologise if this is offensive. It is just my opinion and I still very much respect the huge amount of effort and thought that went into these amazingly intricate buildings. Honestly I’m just not that into temples… but after further contemplation and recovering from mild heatstroke there is a flip side… An exception to these rules…
#1 If I find myself pondering in awe of the beauty of the temples long after our date and if I find myself wishing my budget would allow me one more date with the temples, to appreciate their beauty properly this time. Perhaps I am kind of, maybe, into you?
Okay, here’s the thing. For the first hour I did kind of enjoy Angkor Wat with it’s maze of buildings and it’s magnificent scale. I also really loved watching the boys running around the stone labyrinths of not only Angkor Wat but also Bayon and Ta Prohm, as if they were in their own version of Temple Run or the Maze Runner. And I did find a lot of the history behind them all rather fascinating. I think it was just a case of diving in too quickly. This can be detrimental to most relationships I suppose…
If I was to do it again I think I would buy the three day pass. Do Angkor Wat on it’s own the first morning, then have a break, and do the other temples on the next evenings and mornings across the three days in order to beat temple overload, the heat and maybe eye up that tasty breakfast three days in a row. Appreciation for me comes from understanding and of course it helps when the kids aren’t whinging about being too hot and tired also.
So temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park, I have come to the conclusion that you are the exception to my rules but that we just need to take it slow from now on. To build up an understanding of each other in small regular doses rather than one long hit. I’m sure Angelina Jolie took longer than a single day to explore your intricacies, and as we can gather from this post I quite like stalking those ladies footsteps. Maybe I am into you after all temples, so until next time, I will think of you fondly.
xx Travelling Fresh