We woke up at 4:15 a.m. on New Year’s morning to see the first sunrise of 2016 at Angkor Wat. Our guide set us up on the banks of the north lake to perfectly capture the sun as it crested behind the temple’s five towers. A large crowd of at least a few hundred turned out for the early morning photo session.
The world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Today, it’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage property has lead to a multinational effort to restore the temple to its former glory. More than 2 million people now visit Angkor Wat every year.
Two monks in bright orange robes walk along the edge of the north pond. Viktoria captured this perfect picture from inside the temple itself.
A view of the crowds coming into Angkor Wat via the main walkway. While most Khmer temples face east, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west. A popular theory is that it was meant to serve a funerary function, although the real reason is widely disputed by archeologists.
Bayon stands at the exact center of Angkor Thom. More than 200 giant smiling stone faces adorn the temple’s 37 remaining towers.
More Photo of the Day posts from our December 2015-January 2016 trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia
I always wanted to travel, but never took the first step until I met my awesome travel buddy and wife. Together, we've been to more than 20 countries on five continents and don't plan on stopping anytime soon!
I love the contrast of the photos from the last sunset as we say goodbye to 2015 and the bright sunrise bringing the unknown future of 2016, only praying it will bring unity and peace to all.
I like it! The bookend of the old year and new year was intentional for sure!