This is a long one, so apologies! 14 photos with no PP (apart from the pano stitching)
For anyone that hasn't heard of Angkor Wat, it is the largest religious building in the world, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site (Angkor) in Cambodia, comprising a series of temple complexes.
The scale of the place is incredible, with a moat surrounding the outer walls which is 190 metres across. The outer walls themselves are 1000 metres long each, forming a square following the cardinal points. It is unusual for temples in the region in that it faces west which mean it is a favourite for sunrise photographers.
1. View over the causeway and moat to the west gate
2. Walking across the outer moat to the main west gate
3. A view south from the outside of the main gate
Moving inside the main gate takes you along a causeway leading to the main temple building. In perfect symmetry there is a library on each side of the causeway, leading to the cruciform terrace by the gate to the main temple.
4. Pano from the north library, overlooking the causeway and main temple
5. Walking towards the northwest corner of the main temple
The main temple building comprises 3 levels. Unfortunately during my visit the top level has been closed for renovations, but it is good to see the international community making sure that the building can be enjoyed for future generations.
On the first level, around the four outer walls, there are corridors which are decorated end to end with bas relief carvings. End to end means 200 metres of carvings - on each wall!
6. Bas relief carvings
7. Bas relief carvings stretching out into the distance
Moving up some steep stairs takes you onto the second level of the temple, a courtyard surrounding the top tier with its 5 lotus towers. Again, intricate carvings decorate all the walls and pillars.
8. Afternoon light steaming through the windows in a corridor on the second level
9. Through a window to a central library
10. Carvings on the courtyard wall on the second level
11. The lotus towers of the third tier
Even though it was low season when I visited, there were still a lot of tourists in the early morning or later afternoon. However arriving at lunchtime means you have the place pretty much to yourself. Incredible!
12. View from main temple towards the west main gate
Getting up early in the morning before sunrise is a must. There are two reflecting pools by the main temple and the locals will provide you with chairs, breakfast and coffee (for a dollar of two!). I managed 3 sunrises, two of which were cloudy but luckily the last was not. It is a beautiful sight, with the background noise of the jungle insects and music from the nearby Buddhist temple adding to the occasion.
13. Cloudy sunrise, north reflecting pool
14. Only a few clouds at last, south reflecting pool
I have loads more but don't want to bore you too much! My pictures really don't do the place justice but I've got the bug and am revisitng next year. A very moving and surreal location, and highly recommended!