How do you feel about waking up at the crack of dawn when you're on vacation?
Challenging, but we rose at 4:45 am one morning in Cambodia. We had heard the sunrise over the temples at Angkor Wat was not to be missed. Our means of experience: balloon ride.
At first, we were grumpy and felt we had succumbed to tourist scam as the balloon ride cost a whole $15 per person. I know, I know, but that is pretty expensive by Cambodian pricing structure, even for tourists. I'm fully aware that here in Japan or the States, it would be a great deal. In any case, we were skeptical and sure we'd made a bad decision.
However, I'm pleased to report that in the end, we were not scammed. We did get thrashed around by the wind up there, but the view was so worth it.
Afterwards, we also strolled around the temples in those wee hours of the morning. Strangely, for reasons unbeknownst to me, most of the sunrise-at-the-temple diehards seem to take off, leaving the area virtually empty and perfect for touring without the constant person on your heel and in your picture.
With time on our side, we grabbed a coffee at one of the breakfast stations, and sat for a while taking in the natural splendor.
One of my favorite mornings ever...
Cambodia Travel Tip #5: The balloon over Angkor Wat experience can be had any time of day, though sunrise and sunset rides are most popular. Ask your hotel concierge to make a reservation for you when you arrive in Siem Reap.