Kongkear Angkor Gondolas, Angkor Thom
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Sunset from an Angkorian gondola
Skip the heaving crowds on top of Phnom Bakheng for this off-the-beaten-track experience, watching the sun set from a gondola on the tranquil moat that runs around Angkor Thom. There is no denying that this has the potential to be stupidly touristy, however, the the price prohibits most tourists from doing this very special and rather romantic experience (it starts at $80 per person). While you might find yourself sharing the moat with a flotilla of boats holding a Chinese tour group, bewilderingly they finish well before sunset so you're most likely to find yourself quite alone, enjoying the peace and quiet come sundown. After the sun sinks, it's worth lingering for the sort of shot I captured above and gliding back in the dark. The food served is actually delicious and it's worth paying extra for cold beers, wine, or bubbly. The gondolas may look over the top but their design is actually inspired by the traditional boats dating back to Jayavarman VII’s reign that were used for ceremonies, races, and battles. Once you start seeking them out, you'll spot them on the bas-reliefs on the walls of Angkor Wat and the Bayon. The boats depart from Takao port just west of Angkor Thom Gate and cruise around the moat for an hour or so. While you can just turn up and see if there's a boat free you'll need to book ahead for the canapés cruise. If you're celebrating an anniversary or planning on popping the question, this is where to do it.
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