Seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat is a ‘must’! The world’s largest religious monument is incredible at any time of day but watching the temple slowly emerge from the dark as the sun’s first rays appear is really special.
I had visited Angkor Wat before at sunrise on a previous trip. It was really amazing but there were so many people! So when I returned to Siem Reap this year with my partner, I booked Vespa Adventures’ Our Angkor Sunrise tour. I wanted my partner to experience the sunrise at Angkor but not in the normal way- and I also was intrigued by exploring Angkor Wat and other temples by Vespas.
We were picked up in the dark, early morning hours. Our drivers were super sweet and although their English was basic, they helped us get our helmets adjusted and showed us how to safely get on and off the back of the Vespas. We then set off for the temples, joining up with our guide (Neang) and other group members on the way. It was so fun to feel the cool morning air and hear the birds and insects as we rode through the dark.
Our drivers took us along some side roads to reach Angkor Wat. As it was still dark out, this really felt like an adventure! We then got off the bikes and joined Neang and group at a spot away from the main crowds. It was perfect! We could relax and enjoy the changing colors as the sun rose up and over Angkor Wat. Neang then took us inside the temple which was great as many of the other people left – presumably to go back to their hotels for breakfast- so we did not have huge crowds inside with us. We saw amazing carvings and our guide told us really interesting stories about the history of Angkor Wat and lots of Cambodian legends and customs.
By then, the early wake-up time was kicking in. But fortunately, the Vespa Adventures tour had thought of this and our next stop was breakfast! I opted for the local breakfast while my partner had a western breakfast- and both of us enjoyed a strong cup of coffee, which helped re-energize us!
The rest of the morning was a dream! We drove along back roads and some bumpy but fun paths through the forests. We saw a handful of other temples – my favorite was Ta Phrom, which was a backdrop for the movie “Tomb Raider”- but what I loved the most were the villages and landscapes we explored. I had no idea that just behind the temples were such amazing places! And best of all, we hardly saw any other tourists because where we were going was only possibly by motorbike or bike. We had an absolute blast and Neang was so fun to travel with – he showed us the best photo spots, told us lots about local life and we loved chit chatting with him!
I am so glad that my second visit to Angkor Wat included a Vespa Adventures tour. From start to finish, it was fun, informative and gave a unique perspective on a classic destination. I can’t wait for my next Vespa Adventures motorbike tour, wherever my next travels take me!