Angkor Wat

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Sunrise at Angkor Wat is very popular and we were recommended to arrive at an excessively early time to catch the first glimpse of the sun pass above the horizon.

We weren't alone. Plenty of other tourists have made the early trip here.

We positioned in front of the little pool of water that reflected Angkor Wat's towers. This is the world's largest religious monument. Patterned after the Hindu universe, it dates from the early 12th century.

The 350m-long causeway is decorated with naga serpent balustrades. To the left and right was the original city.

The bas-reliefs in the temple extend some 600m and depict various Hindu epics and even an Angkor military procession.

The cruciform cloister connects the galleries on two levels. Stairs to the upper gallery rise on either side.

The uppermost level of the temple consists of 5 towers. Reachable via a steep staircase, a number of covered galleries with great views of the surrounding forests await.

Many tour groups left Angkor Wat for breakfast after the sunrise. That meant the crowds thinned a bit. We took advantage of this break to explore Angkor Wat in detail. By the time we got to the top level, we were fairly tired. We were not alone with this feeling.

We crossed a few layers of enclosures to exit the east end of Angkor Wat.

The east end of Angkor Wat is deserted, but offers a wonderful perspective of the temple's grandeur.

Our driver was waiting for us in the west exit, so we headed back the way we came in.

We crossed the moat to leave Angkor Wat and continue with our temple hopping.

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