October 30 – November 1
Day 3 of the sightseeing: 4 am start to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. By all means, do it. Just don’t expect too much. This is what it looks like on the travel catalogues (heavily photoshopped). This is the reality. The sun doesn’t rise until 6am, but make sure you get there early enough to get a decent spot, otherwise you will fight with aspiring Sebastião Salgados and their tripods or selfie-sticks. And while I believe that few times a year you get to see a really spectacular sunrise (after all, I have seen some amazing ones while cycling to the office in London), but most days, it just gets lighter. Which is exactly what happens to us.
The photos from the final temple day are maybe a little better, mainly because the sites are almost empty and the light is still soft early in the morning.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Bakong Temple (maybe)
On the relax day, I am awaken by unceasing shrieks from a nearby temple. When I enquire what’s going on I am told that it’s a wedding and that the racket is bound to go on for the next three days. A wedding in Cambodia is a serious matter. The bride and groom change 7 times. There is a blue dress, a pink dress, a golden dress, a green dress, and I don’t know what other colours. I’m not sure if I ever get married, but if I do, it better be in Cambodia. Imagine that: 7 wedding dresses! Later on we visit local silk farm run by Artisans Angkor, a french-run NGO who provides for education in traditional handicraft for young people from poor rural areas. Apart from harvesting silkworm cocoons and weaving them into beautiful silk products, they work wood, stone, silver, gems and many other traditional materials.
Weaving mill: from a silkworm to a silk scarf:
Siem Reap Old Market