National GeographicNat Geo Wild


by Drew Pulley, Producer Access 360

Filming in Cambodia is tough. The heat is almost indescribable. Actually, it’s not. It’s very easy to describe. It’s like sitting in a sauna that’s cranked up to the max. But imagine that sauna is sitting in the scorching midday sun on top of a temple made of black stone that heats up to over 150 degrees. It’s like that. Add in the ferocious biting ants, the enormous leeches, a grueling daily hike and a crippling dose of parasitic food poisoning… and that’s filming in Cambodia.

And yet I’d still say visiting Angkor is one of the most incredible, must-do experiences on earth. The temple of Angkor Wat undoubtedly the crown jewel of the site, and for damn good reason… it’s the largest religious monument in the world. This thing on the scale of the Great Pyramids – a true Wonder of the World. But Angkor Wat is just one of hundreds of temples hidden away in the jungle here… each with own unique character and history.

When you walk through the gates of Angkor, your mind is overwhelmed with trying to reconstruct the image of this lost age. Everywhere you look are the ruins of this great civilization, and it’s so mind blowing the amount of labor that went into building these enormous temples, it’s almost inconceivable. Then you look closer -at the carvings of dancers and feasts and battles and families – and it hits you – these were people, just like me. They accomplished all this with only their imagination and the determination to make it reality.

But even more stunning is the concept that this great city simply vanished. It was the biggest city on earth, thriving, full of life… and then it was gone. It’s a scary thing. We feel so safe and secure in our modern world, but it can all be gone in an instant, and these stone ruins tell that tale. They give us a warning not to be so sure of ourselves after all.