Our hotel sends a tuk-tuk to meet us at the airport. The hotel is gorgeous and we get an upgrade to a modern room with high ceilings, a day bed, couch, chairs, and outdoor tub and shower in a walled off-garden. This is good because, spoiler alert, I will end up spending a lot of time here.

We hire the same tuk-tuk driver to take us around the Angkor temple complex. He considerately brings a cooler stocked with water and cool wipes. The complex is bigger and grander than anything I can convey in words or pictures. You could take a week and still see something new every day.

On our first day we start at Angkor Wat. We’re lucky because it’s hot but not too hot, just hot enough to keep the swarms of people relatively under control. The temple is impossibly ornate. We finally see some monkeys hanging out at the edge, stealing some guy’s food. His fault for feeding them.

Next we go to Bayon, a temple famous for it’s huge face carvings. Bayon is part of a complex with the Elephant Terrace which, you guessed it, features many carvings of elephants. The complex is a maze and we get lost wandering down a path. Suddenly we’re in the jungle, flies biting us from all sides. We backtrack and finally find the Elephant Terrace. We briefly check out Angkor Thom, the huge temple by Bayon, but we lost so much time wandering around that we’re a little worried our driver will leave us. After lunch we go to Ta Prohm, ruins overgrown with huge trees. I feel like I’m in Indiana Jones. I don’t understand why Angkor isn’t at the top of every list of destinations ever published to visit. It’s the biggest most intact historic site I’ve ever seen.

The next day the sites are just as magical. We go back to Angkor Thom and appreciate it in all it’s glory, climbing up step after step to get near the top. We go to Preah Khan, rebuilt using the original materials in the 1990s. It starts to rain and we ride around, delirious and wet. We try to see one or two more temples but the rain wins and we head back to town.