A couple days after I booked our return flight to Los Angeles from Bangkok, I had a crazy idea: what if we went to Angkor Wat for a day from Bangkok?
Oh, thank you vast interweb for providing the answers to my somewhat crazed notion. Within a couple a clicks, I found a travel group in Siem Reap that specialized in that kind of excursion. They’ll pick you up in Bangkok, help you cross the border to Cambodia, drive you to Angkor Wat for a full day tour of the temples and grounds, then take you back to Bangkok.
Our day started at 2AM. The drive to the Thai-Cambodia border was about three hours, but the crossing wasn’t too bad. From the border, it was another two hours to Siem Reap where we met our local guide at a hotel. We had a filling breakfast outside Angkor Wat before entering.
We walked across a floating dock over the moat towards this ancient, sprawling ruin with other tourists from all over the world.
The temples and ruins of this ancient capital city and palace were vast, and I felt honored to touch its walls and walk its corridors like those hundreds of years before me. I wore trainers, but what I should have worn were hiking boots as we walked over uneven stone, up steps of varying heights, and steep stairs with only rope as a guide.
Our guide talked rapidly in semi-broken English about the history, art, and architecture There was so much to take in. We didn’t even stop for a lunch break, fearing we wouldn’t be able to see everything before sundown.
So, can Angkor Wat be done in a day? It can be, it’s possible. But should you?*
I’ll keep that last question in mind should I get any more ideas for excursions.
*The answer is no.