More or less 9 years after our first visit to the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. Back then I was on antibiotics and remember that I was thankful for any toilet in the area. I must have looked rather exhausted and pale. But the temples were great and we spent close to a week exploring them.
Nearly a decade has past and we are back in Angkor. This time only with two days at hand but equally excited to see them again. We only went to Preah Khan - The Royal Sword - still our favourite place in Angkor, the Bayon, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat itself but also Ta Nei, a smaller temple hidden in the jungle that we missed to see last time. The area has seen its fair share of visitors and looking at the photos from 9 years ago it shows: A lot of areas blocked off, boardwalks and stabilising steel structures in place. It seems that a few years of mass tourism had more impact than hundreds of years of exposure to the tropical elements.
For us it's still one of our favourite places on earth, slowly walking in the jungle, marvelling at the art and the work of people generations ago, and the force of nature claiming it all back.
Oh, we also ran the Angkor Wat Half-Marathon this year. So one thing has not changed: I was still looking quite pale and exhausted.