Unaware of the issues with lighting, I made the same mistake most of the people visiting Angkor Archaeological Park make and started my small circuit tour with Angkor Wat. Because Angkor Wat faces west (very unusual for a temple), the face of it is shaded in the morning light with the sun acting as strong backlight making for pictures that are not very visually flattering. That’s why it’s best to change the itinerary and start the small circuit tour with Banteay Kdei so by the time you get to Angkor Wat, it will be late afternoon with sun illuminating the face of the temple, allowing for all the details to stand out and gain three dimensional depth. Unlike my morning photo gallery of Angkor Wat which features the temple in bad lighting, this late afternoon gallery features it in good lighting and lets its magnificence take flight.
Because outdoor lighting has little effect on areas inside the temple, I only focused on taking pictures of the temple’s exterior which gets affected by bad lighting the most (as far as the photography is involved). The basin on the north side of the central causeway, right by the shops full of touts and pestering kids is the best spot to take pictures of Angkor Wat. By standing by the basin you will get a slightly angled view of the central temple so all of its five towers can be seen while basin will reflect that view for a stunning mirror image with the sky getting an extra vivid hue densed by the water.
I backtracked directly to Angkor Wat after cutting my small circuit tour short. Upon reaching the Chau Say Tevoda Temple I decided to be done exploring any new temples due to unbearable heat and relentless and hostile con artists. The Angkor experience is greatly bastardized by pushy locals and fighting them off is an extremely tiring struggle which you are bound to lose. You can’t truly appreciate something you are not allowed to enjoy. By the time an afternoon comes, you can read the same message from the face of every foreigner – enough already, please! It takes a great deal of effort to shake off any one of those Angkor touts yet there is never any end to them. As if struggling with intense heat was not bad enough, you will constantly have someone breathing down your neck, pressuring you from every side to trick you into buying worthless junk from them. No matter how impressive the temples of Angkor may in fact be, if you can’t even take a picture without someone bothering you, the entire experience gets bastardized.