March 9 by Milo and Sophie

This morning we woke up at 4 am to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Although this was extremely difficult and we were all exhausted it was definitely worth it. We hopped on tuk-tuks and drove to the ticket booths where we were unpleasantly surprised by photos of ourselves printed on to our tickets. Then we crawled back on the tuk-tuks and headed to the temples. Upon arrival, we noticed almost immediately the herds of tourists just there to see the sunrise. Then once past the first gate we found a spot on the steps of a library to the right of the temple. However the coffee, as well as most tourists, were on the left.

At this point it was probably around 5 am and the perfect chance for people to get their coffee. As we all began to wake up, we watched the sun rise over the ancient temples. Then we all headed over to the left side to grab a hearty western breakfast of pancakes and shakes.

Once finished with breakfast, we finally went into the temple. While inside we learned how there are 3 levels of Angkor Wat. The first for everyone, the second for the monks, and the third reserved for the king. On the top of the third area, when looking down, we saw a square shape that is a symbol for women and from outside the towers were a phallic symbols, the male sex organ. At the top, the views were amazing and a perfect photo opportunity, but this was hard to get to because of a steep climb.

After leaving Angkor Wat, we moved onto the next temple, Bayon. This temple included many faces found on the top level. Altogether there are 54 faces, one for each original province in Cambodia. While there we also saw elephants that we later discovered were not acceptable to ride due the abuse of the animal. The temple also included 4 smaller towers representing the four gods.

Then we headed to the “Tomb Raider temple”, Ta Prohm. This temple’s beauty was magnified by the trees growing all around it and connected to the temple itself. We learned how the trees were increasingly causing problems by ruining the temple and simultaneously holding it together.

After, we quickly grabbed lunch before heading back to the center to have a relaxing afternoon. Then, we headed out for dinner “on our own” at pub street, where some of us got dinner and even fish pedicures.

Later, we met up again and went over to the night market. We all got to test our bargaining skills and buy things for ourselves and friends and family. After shopping, it was past 10 p.m. and everyone was so exhausted from the long day that we went right to sleep, excited for the next day.