Welcome to Angkor Wat! In this travel vlog, we take a guided weekend trip to the ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and photograph the temple. Like most magnificent sights, we were not the only ones there. In fact, crowds can reach the thousands. So be sure to come prepared. Here is how to photograph the temple like a pro during a weekend trip.
Behind the scenes video:
When to go:
September or March, which are the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. At this time, the sun lines up directly above the central pinnacle of Angkor Wat, a estimate to the genius architecture.
First, we get up at 4:45 am to buy our ticket to the temple, which is $36 for a one day pass and $62 for a three day pass. At 5 am, we reach the temple. You can get to the temple via tuk tuk, taxi, or bike.
Here is the scene when we arrived:
Camera Set Up:
First, make sure your DSLR lens does not fog from the humidity. It took me about 15 minutes for the humidity on my lens to dissipate. I set up my tripod and filmed a time-lapse photo of the glorious sunrise. Be sure to get in the front row for optimal viewing.
Where to set up your camera:
Set your camera up on the west or north sides of the temple next to the outer moat (see pin drops below). You can also cross the moat and set up next to the "Libraries" where you will find an interior reflective pool. This area is much more crowded, so be sure to get there early.
View from the West side of the outer moat. The temple looks more distant, but I got an unobstructed view with no people or scaffolding in the shot.
View from the interior pool near the "Libraries". The temple is closer in view and the colors change every few minutes.
Here is what to bring:
One of the questions people always ask me is: Do you have Global Entry? Why don't you get it?
It is no secret that having Global Entry is one of the keys to traveling like a boss. It allows for expedited customs lines and comes with pre-TSA which enables travelers to get through security lines without taking off shoes or removing laptops or liquids from your baggage. In short, it takes the hassle out of travel.
Well, I am pleased to say that after years of going without Global Entry, I finally made the plunge and applied. After considering the amount of times I travel abroad and the long customs lines I have endured, I decided it was worth it to get Global Entry. Here's everything you need to know about how to travel in and out of the USA like a boss.
First, you apply via the website where you enter all of your background information including your employment history. If you have any time not accounted for under an employer, you must list that time as well (such as self-employment, or freelance). The application costs $100.
Now it's time to wait. It takes a few days/weeks to get the approval for your application. Once approved, you can book your time-slot for an interview at the international airports listed on the site.
3. Interview Set Up
There were interview time-slots available at Long Beach, LAX, and San Diego - however it took me four months (yes! four months) to find a suitable time-slot after work. There were weekend times, but they filled up fast. So in conclusion- if you are going on a trip in the future and want Global Entry, get started on your application now.
I scheduled an interview at LAX for 7:30pm. The hardest part was enduring the traffic to get to the interview. Once I got to LAX, I walked over to the Customs Office located in Tom Bradley International terminal, where the interview takes place. Then the customs officials ask you a few simple questions, verify your identity, and take finger prints. They even took me into the interview sooner since I got to the airport earlier than planned. Then, boom - done.
After the interview, they provide you with a Global Entry number which can be used immediately to get you through customs and security lines faster. In a week, the official card came in the mail, which is all you need to show the customs and TSA agents while traveling.
Conclusion: The Global Entry process was a breeze, it just takes time.
So you might be asking... Is Global Entry for me? Consider these questions:
- Do you travel outside of the US frequently? If you do, Global Entry is a no brainer.
- Do you travel within the US frequently? You can apply for pre-TSA program which is a bit cheaper and helps to expedite the security lines only.
- Do your travel partners have Global Entry? This was the biggest consideration for me. I travel with fellow Global Entry members and frequently got held behind in the line since I didn't have Global Entry. If your travel partners do not have Global Entry, they will need to apply separately.
- Do you have to get back to work/school/connect to other flights etc immediately after you land? If you have to run right after your flight lands, you may not want to jeopardize additional hours waiting in line. As mentioned in my previous post, getting through the airport fast can enable you to see more on your trips.
- Do you travel with laptops and other items that cause delays? If so, check out Global Entry or pre-TSA.
- Do you travel mostly for business? If you do, you can potentially have your employer cover the cost or deduct the cost from taxes. Check with your tax professional and employer.
If you have any questions about this program or the process, comment below!
After spending 6 days in Bali, I learned that the island is deceivingly larger than you might think. I stayed in Seminyak which is very central, but it is still about two hours away from many excursions. Bali has over 4 million people (that's 3x the amount of Hawaii's entire population) on an island half the size of Hawaii's Big Island. Translation - there is a lot of traffic. But don't let that stop you.
Here is how to make the most of your trip:
For reference, here is a map of Bali. You will land in Denpasar (in red below), and the closest places to stay near the airport are Kuta and Seminyak (in blue below).
Stay a few days in each of these spots:
1. Seminyak - Central, quieter than Kuta, nice blend of relaxation and activity.
2. Uluwatu - Beaches, spas, temples with beach views. As mentioned in my previous post, Seminyak and Kuta beaches have high surf and the beaches are gritty (stray dogs, litter, glass, etc). If you want a beautiful relaxing/swimming beach, check these out:
3. Ubud - Famous for Balinese cultural sights, rice terraces, relaxation, and yoga.
Where are your favorite places to stay in Bali? Comment Below!
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