After Angkor Thom spent the whole morning blowing our minds, it was finally time to head over to its more famous brother, Angkor Wat.

Built by order of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, it started as a Hindu temple and transitioned to Buddhism as the Khmer people did. The best-preserved temple in the area, it made its way onto the Cambodian flag and onto bucket list of countless tourists.

Fickry delivered us to Angkor Wat on our first afternoon of exploration. I also returned by bicycle one early morning, so I can show you the temple from sunrise to sunset…

To be honest, Angkor Wat left me a little flat. Part of it was seeing the amazing Angkor Thom first. And a big part of it was the crowds. My enjoyment of the temples was inversely related to the number of people there- my favorite experiences were wandering temples alone or nearly so.

That’s why I came back to Angkor Wat by bike- I wanted to wash away some of my memories of sunset mayhem. It worked, since many people watch the sun rise and then head back to their hotels, leaving fewer shoulders for me to rub. Overall, though, Thom beats Wat for me any day. And why not? Just because something is well-known doesn’t mean you have to like it, right?

Angkors Wat and Thom are the biggies, but there are plenty of other temples and wats in the area. Many of them would be world famous, if not overshadowed by their big brothers. More explorations to come!