October 7, 2010
Even though I visited the temples on my last two trips to Cambodia, I knew I could not come all the way to Siem Reap without seeing them again. This time my goal was an abbreviated tour with an emphasis on photography instead of the history which I’d already heard twice. Fortunately, Lori’s friend Lynn had booked Dara Ly (Ponheary’s brother and licensed tour guide) for a day to see three of the most well known temples, Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm and invited me to come along. Dara is quite an avid amateur photographer and now well known for guiding his clients to the perfect spots for photos. If you’re interested in planning a trip to see the temples, check out my post on “Tips for Visiting the Temples of Angkor.”
We began our day around 8:30 am with Dara and the driver waiting for us in front of the guesthouse. Our first destination was Angkor Wat and we arrived at the rear entrance. Most tours enter Angkor Wat through the front, walking across the causeway. While I think this is preferable for a dramatic entrance (especially for first time visitors), the sun rises behind the temple, effectively back lighting it and making a front-on photo almost impossible in the early morning. So, Dara knowing we wanted to take pictures, had us going in through the back which also helped us avoid the early crowds.
We made our way through the temple, climbing farther and farther up and into the center of the complex. The uppermost center tower is now open to 100 people at a time, strictly controlled by a pass handed out at the bottom. This was closed last time for restoration but I’d seen it in 2002 and I was happy to see it open again, especially with …