The most famous of the two dozen or so temple complexes, Angkor Wat, is truly breathtaking-- though no more so than the smaller, gem-like temples in this sizeable area. The beauty is hard to describe.
We enjoyed visits over two days. At times it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
We hired a tuc-tuc driver to take us from the resort to the temples, approximately 15 minutes. A 3-day pass costs $40. There are basic restaurants and plenty of folks, some very young, eager to sell you bottled water and tee-shirts.
Chan Say Tavoda
This was very serene and largely desserted near the end of the day. The light was filtered through the leaves of the banyon trees.
Nature takes over
Abandoned temples have given way to nature, some more than others. It's reassuring to know that if we are all wiped out one day, nature will find a way to go on without our careful stewardship of the planet and its priceless, irreplaceable resources.
Watch out for elephants
A convincing salesgirl
Our tuc-tuc driver for two days, Jom Nam
Jom Nam was very friendly and reliable. His English was pretty good, however he didn't offer much in way of guideance to Angkor-- admittedly not his proper job, though some drivers are better than others.
He is married with two young daughters. His sister-in-law is also very good looking, and she runs a restaurant near Angkor Tom, the temple we visited after Angkor Wat. We had a very good Tom Yum soup with fish there.
We gave Jom Nam about $30 or $40 over two days. The average Cambodian salary is $20 a month. While I doubt Jom Nam is guaranteed $20/day 5, 6, or 7 days a week, I suspect he's doing well by locals standards. However, it also depends on whether he owns or rents his tuc-tuc. If he leases it (as is the way with Rikshaw pullers in Indai), he has to pay the greedy capitalist owner, but how much that would be, I don't know.
A detail of Angkor Tom