After spending a morning at the most touristy photo spot I’ve ever seen in my life, during sunrise at Angkor Wat, I decided that it was probably best I asked my tuk-tuk driver to start taking us to places that fewer tourists visit. We asked to get farther away from the crowds and try to take us to places within Angkor Wat Archaeological Park that were, perhaps, less impressive, but more detailed and less restored.
It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Our Tuk-Tuk drive around Angkor Wat was amazing. He did his best to make sure we got to some really cool temples and sights in the area when as few tourists were around as possible. And to be honest, maybe the best part about it all was cruising around in the Tuk-Tuk letting the air cool off what was easily a 35 degree afternoon in western Cambodia.
The first place we went after leaving sunrise behind what this bridge with buddha statues. And well I’m sure every tourist comes here, and they should, it was incredible. My favourite photo, though, has nothing to do with the statues, but this incredibly photogenic boy heading home from a morning fishing.
Taking a Tuk Tuk Around Angkor Wat
Honestly, after that sunrise in the park, I was worried that I would going to be greatly disappointed with the place, in general. However, within a couple hours of leaving, I realized that Angkor Wat is very much worthy of the crowds that pile through here each and every day.
Photos of the Temples of Angkor Way
Anyways, this is a photo post from the area. I tried my best to focus my photography in the archaeological park on the details rather than attempting to capture the whole scene. As a photographer, the thing I work the most on is my composition and “eye”. I’m as technical as it comes, so for this visit I really tossed away much of the tech side of photography and really maintained my focus on creating more simple, well thought out, images.
Here they are – and the stories behind them.
The monks were interesting to me. But I would have had a hard time being a monk in Angkor Wat. Everywhere they go, people are snapping photos.
I did my best to focus on the details of Angkor Wat. It’s so distracting to grab entire scenes and temples. Instead, images like this are much cleaner. For me, they also tell much more of a story. I loved all the rock carvings at the temples. For me, images like this were far more rewarding that the big hero images from sunrise.
The people,too, made for great photo subjects. Outside one of the temples, I caught an artist having a bit of a nap with his work alongside him. I loved capturing street photography style images here in the ruins.
One of the most popular temples, the “tomb raider” temple is almost always packed with visitors. However, they all seem to flock to one section. Around a corner, we found some cool spots that we had all to ourselves. Isn’t incredible how the roots of the trees wrap around the stone?
In hindsight, this was actually my favourite temple in Angkor Wat. I loved the Buddhas carved into the pillars. The smiling faces etched into the rock is just special. It does so much to keep your mood light as you wander through the heat and the ruins.
Once again, for me it was really the details of Angkor Wat that shone through.
I loved the contrast of colours here. It’s all so subtle. It might be that giant temple photo at sunrise that draws people to Angkor Wat, but it’s the details that are truly special.
I’m a sucker for monkeys. Anyone who knows me knows that they are my favourite animal. So, it goes without saying that I thought the “monkey” temple was also really cool. I busted out my 70-200mm lens here because I thought that there were actual monkeys. As you’ll see from the next images, I was wrong.
And to end things, here’s a cute little girl that was organizing postcards for her mother that was sweeping footpaths in the park. Of course, you shouldn’t buy from kids this age in the park as their parents have put them to work far too young. However, they love posing for photos, and seeing themselves on the camera. Let kids be kids, have some fun with them rather than just shunning them off and telling them to bugger off.
Photography Trip to Angkor Wat
In the end, I decided to spend 2 full days of photography at Angkor Wat. I probably could have used 3.
My biggest recommendation is to definitely hire a tuk tuk. You can’t rent your own scooter here, and with a bicycle you won’t cover enough ground in a day, and you’ll melt in the head and humidity. The tuk tuks are good value, and they know all the best spots.