Many travellers have the amazing temples of Angkor high on their must-see list, but Intrepid’s Anna Harvie chose to set her sights even higher in Cambodia…
“Sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia is always amazing, as you hear the monks chanting their morning mantras and see the golden rays of sun lighting up the thousand-year-old temples. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, I could never tire of this sight.
But one of my best sunrises was when I went up in a balloon to see this spectacular event. The balloon is certainly cheaper and more accessible than helicopter if you want to witness Angkor by air – and from the sky is the perfect vantage point for a fresh perspective on how it all fits together. At ground level it’s sometimes hard to grasp the size and extent of the Angkor Empire and the waterways they built between temples.
There’s no chance of drifting towards Vietnam, as the giant balloon is attached to a guide rope on the ground. As the sun rises you look out in one direction to see the Angkor temples surrounded by jungle, with the formidable Angkor Wat in the centre framed by its massive moat. To the other side is the Cambodian countryside – rice paddies, wooden houses and buffalos sprawled out to the town of Siem Reap and the giant lake of Tonle Sap in the middle of the country.
Waking up in the dark is never fun, and there are always a few group members who nearly pull out of the adventure when their alarm goes off at 5.00am, but no-one ever regrets making the effort and sunrise at Angkor is so often a holiday highlight.”
* photo by Courtney Goddard – Intrepid Photography Competition