There was a bit of a struggle getting up that morning. We slept close to midnight the night before after a 13-hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap and dinner at Pub Street. I was tired and could have slept until noon. But after 1 snooze, I get up at 4:25 AM to get ready. Our tuktuk driving was expecting us in 15 minutes.

It was cold – 3 minutes into the ride and I was biting through my teeth; tugging at my light scarf often, hoping it would keep me warmer if I do. The weather was probably a good 21 degrees celsius but the wind made it feel like it was 10.

I was worried I might get a relapse of the flu from the cold. It was all I could think of through the ride, when we parked, and even when we were getting sandwiches before walking towards Angkor Wat.

Then there it was… a silhouette of majestic structures against a sliver of light that was the dawn breaking.

Angkor wat sunrise
Angkor Wat Sunrise

And as the sun continuously rose, the sliver turned to a shimmer of one of the most wonderful blends of colors anyone could have ever seen.

And then a shift. Being where I was, was the only thing that mattered.

It was magical.

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