One of the most amazing things that can come from traveling the world is when you are confronted with a ‘pinch yourself’ moment. A place in time when you cannot believe you are doing what you are doing, that you are where you are in that moment, and everything just hits you with a sense of awe and wonder. I had one of those moments back in 2006 when I was visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia with my mum.
Until that time Cambodia had been one of my top ‘must go to’ places on my wanderlust list. There were so many great memories that I love to talk about in conversation with people about my time in this beautiful country in South East Asia. My initial flight into the country and going through customs with a height of excitement to have finally arrived, the local children we met, and the amazing khmer food that we had the opportunity to eat. Yet there is one story that still stick out in my mind as so awesome to have experienced while in Cambodia: my conversation with a monk.
We were at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia that day in 2006. I could hardly believe my eyes when we first walked up to that postcard perfect view of Angkor Wat, which I had seen so often in photographs online. There was so much to explore and finally my mum and I found ourselves sitting to relax and just take in the moment. It was then that I realized we were in the presence of one of the monks, dressed in his brightly coloured orange robe. He could not make direct eye contact with nor talk with me, so I was able to ask him questions through a male friend as an interpreter. It was a surreal moment that I wish I could just replay over.
TIPS: VISITING ANKOR WAT IN CAMBODIA
- Dress Modestly. Shorts are only worn in Cambodia by school children. Combat the heat and still be modest by wearing a long skirt. From personal experience I suggest wearing trousers in light weight material as it can be windy and not as practical to be in a skirt when visiting the sites. When choosing your outfit, be considerate to the fact that you should have your shoulders covered. A light weight scarf an be a great way to keep covered.
- Be Respectful. If you enter a worship area be mindful and remove your shoes and hats. Tourists are not exempt from this. Leave loud conversations to outside the temples and have any electronic devices turned off.
- Be Mindful. If a monk is seated, do not speak to them from a standing position. Sit down first and avoid sitting higher than the monks. Women should never touch a monk or hand anything to them.
- When at visiting the wats and temples. Do not touch the Buddha statues. Ask for permission before taking photos and drop small donations if there is a place for one.
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