The Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes several hundred square kilometres of various architectural structures surrounded by a forested territory, represents the remains of the Khmer Empire, dating back to the 9th until the 15th century. Once being the largest pre-industrial city in the world – with a population of around one million inhabitants (sic!) -  since 1992 it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and nowadays an important destination in South East Asia to visit.

To have enough time to explore this huge area with its different temples, we decided to buy a three day ticket and discover the park mainly by bicycle. Due to the hot weather it was a quite demanding sightseeing trip but definitely worth it. It is one of the most impressive architectural places we have seen so far. The combination of massive structures and detailed stone carvings makes this place a special experience…

Angkor Wat

Tower at Angkor Wat

Architecture at Angkor Wat

Decorative wall - Angkor Wat

Anna at Angkor Wat

Angkor at its best time was a huge metropolis. However, only the religious buildings were made of stone – all the rest, including the Royal Palace was wooden. Unfortunately most of it either burned or rot as the time passed…

Small sculptures - Angkor Wat

Stone sculptures - Angkor Wat

Made out of stone - Angkor Wat

getting nowhere sightseeing at Angkor Wat

Stone face tower - Angkor Wat

Mat exploring Angkor Wat

Stone faces - Angkor Wat

Stone face profile - Angkor Wat

We were so lucky to have our bikes with us – the best way to explore the site!

getting_nowhere at Angkor Wat

Stone towers - Angkor Wat

Stone architecture - Angkor Wat

Ania wandering around Angkor Wat

Damaged sculpture - Angkor Wat

Carvings in stone - Angkor Wat

Decorative walls - Angkor Wat

Wall carving - Angkor Wat

Carved in stone - Angkor Wat

We had a great time visiting the temples, especially because we did not try to see EVERYTHING but instead cycled and wandered around the sites with curiosity and a good sense of humour…

They look quite similar..

Two guards - Angkor Wat

Ania exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat

Sculptures at Angkor Wat

Ania and an elephant sculpture

View from above - Angkor Wat

Cycling trough Angkor Wat

Stone carving detail - Angkor Wat

Stone carvings - Angkor Wat

gettingnowhere having fun at Angkor Wat

The archaeological park is one of the main tourist attractions in Cambodia which means that on almost every step you have people around you, who try to sell you some drinks, snacks or any kind of souvenirs. Unfortunately this also includes a lot of children working as vendors, trying to make some money with kitsch that nobody really needs.

Cambodian girl trying to sell souvenirs - Angkor Wat

One of our favourite sites was Ta Phrom, where most of the architecture is overgrown by huge trees. Due to the massive roots which spread in all directions, some parts of the temple are damaged and have to be stabilized by special constructions. This place is a fantastic opportunity to realize how strong and beautiful nature can be…

Us at Angkor Wat

Tree roots growing on the wall - Angkor Wat

Trees growing over the buildings - Angkor Wat

Roots destroying the architecture

We really had a lot of fun and could not resist to shoot some self portraits:

Us and gigantic tree roots

Tree roots growing into the architecture

Huge tree roots invading

Mat and Ania on the tree roots

Anna having a rest on tree roots

Stone carvings hidden in the tree

Mat climbing the tree roots

Mat climbing at Angkor Wat

Huge trees at Angkor Wat

Gigantic tree roots

Mat sitting on the tree roots - Angkor Wat

From above at Angkor Wat

For some of the local people the park offers a perfect scenery to take their wedding pictures:

Couple at Angkor Wat

Brides at Angkor Wat

At the evenings when the temperatures finally dropped some degrees and the light changed it was even more spectacular to explore the temples…

Elephant terraces - Angkor Wat

Sunset - Angkor Wat

Damaged architecture - Angkor Wat

…one of the recommended tips for tourists is to watch the sunset at Pre Rup. Enjoying the sun setting, which is normally supposed to be relaxed or romantic, at this place seemed like a massive invasion:

Tourists waiting for sunset - Angkor Wat

Even though it is a place full of tourists it was still possible to avoid this huge groups, by simply visiting the sites in a different order than the guides advise.

Tourist group at Angkor Wat

Tourists taking pictures - Angkor Wat

Unfortunately some people seem to forget that there are visiting a place where they should act in a respectful way by wearing appropriate clothes, covering their shoulders and knees…

Tourists at Angkor Wat…some others treat local children as living sculptures and tend to be intrusive by taking close up pictures of them:

Cambodian girl and an intrusive tourist

Since it was so hot, visiting Angkor was a pretty exhausting experience. We were not the only ones that suffered from the heat, though…

Policeman having a nap - Angkor Wat

Three days full of impressions – tired but happy!