If you’re planning on visiting Cambodia, is it the one of the most popular and spectacular things to do in Siem Reap.
Ready to bring out your inner Tomb Raider? Come and explore Angkor Wat with us!
What is Angkor Wat?
Angkor Wat means ‘Temple City’ in Khmer (Angkor = City, Wat = Temple) and is the largest religious monument in the world. It is also a finalist of the new 7 wonders of the world and a renowned UNESCO world heritage site.
Angkor Wat is an Archaeological Park, spread over 400 sq kilometers and with more than 45 temples. The park contains remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.
Read up more on Angkor Wat before your trip, so you can truly appreciate the place while exploring this architectural wonder. There are no audio guides/local guides for hire when you get here.
Buy your tickets the day before.
The day before your chosen sunrise date, go to the ticket office no earlier than 4.45 p.m. It starts selling tickets that are valid for the next day from 5 p.m. This ensures that you don’t waste any time queuing for your pass in the morning, especially since the office now requires a detour from the main road.
If you’re buying a three- or seven-day pass, there’s no need to rush like this unless you want to catch the sunrise on the very first day. By the way, the prices in US dollars are $37 (one day), $62 (any three days out of 10 and they don’t have to be consecutive) and $72 (seven days in a month).
Angkor Wat is open from 5 am to 6 pm, every day. Always carry your ticket with you, in some temples the security will check it at the entrance of the ruins. The tickets are personal with your name and photo on it.
Note: This ticket allows you to visit all temples of Angkor, except for Beng Mealea and Phnom Kulen. An additional fee will be charged to enter these two temples.
You should to know.
The temples are open air, in the middle of nature, so be armed with mosquito repellent, sunscreen, hat and bottles of water. Along the way you can find small stalls selling drinks and food, to avoid dehydration carry water with you all the time.
As the temples are a religious site you will need to dress appropriately. Keep your shoulders covered by wearing a t-shirt with sleeves and avoid mini skirts or shorts. We also recommend wearing closed shoes like sneakers to make climbing the temples that much easier. Don’t forget to follow the rules like smoking and eating in proper areas. Don’t feed the monkeys and don’t go inside the barays [artificial lakes that surround the temples]. Be a sensible tourist!
Tuktuk or guide?
To get around Angkor Wat you need a vehicle, no way you can walk the whole complex. Foreigners are not allowed to drive inside the park, so you must hire a bicycle, a tuk-tuk or a van driver. if you are a bit sporty and quite certain that you can endure the heat, you can rent a bicycle.
We recommend you to hire a tuk-tuk driver. Most of the drivers are very enthusiastic as they will have the chance to make good money. So be prepared to negotiate a price. A Tuk Tuk can carry a maximum of 4 passengers so you can easily share the cost between all of you.
If you stay with us, we can organise for you a tuk-tuk. The cost is between $ 17 US and $ 20 US. The tuk-tuk driver will stop and wait for you at each temple.
The best time to visit Angkor Wat?
If you have only one day to spend visiting the temples, it’s prudent to start your day early in the morning around 5:30 am to watch sunrise at Angkor Wat.
The Sunset in Angkor Wat happens between 5:15 and 6 pm. I suggest you to watch the sunset on your first day visiting the Angkor Wat temples, and the sunrise on the second day.
The best time of the year to visit Angkor Wat is between November to March, what means mild and dry weather.
What is the best way to visit Angkor Wat?
The small circuit is the most popular itinerary. It runs 17 kilometers.
Start the day early by watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat at the main (West) gate in front of the pond to meet the sun rising behind Angkor Wat (at 5:30-06:00 depending on the period of the year). The place is really overcrowded with everyone trying to take photos of this iconic view of the temple.
Angkor Thom, known as the Bayon Temple, is also an absolute must. Look out for the distinctive Bayon temple with faces carved into the stone walls.
These two temples are huge and you have time enough to see all the details, climb to the top of the constructions, search for mystical inscriptions, and walk in the forest. Angkor Wat is fully restored and the religious art displayed there are unbelievable.
A short way from Bayon, along a raised walkway, lies the ‘temple mountain’ of Baphuon. It’s a three tiered temple. There’s quite a steep climb to get to the top of Baphuon, but the views are definitely worth it as you can see for miles all around. Make sure you take some cold water with you as the steps are in the heat of the sun, and there’s quite a few to get to the top.
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm is also famous and unique for the ancient trees literally growing out of the ruins. It was used as a set for the Tomb Raider movie and that’s only increased its popularity.
The best way to visit the complex is to start the big circle ride towards Banteay Kdei, opposite to Angkor Thom, where everybody goes after the Angkor Wat Sunrise. Doing this you will start your adventure in empty temples, and when you arrive at the famous Ta Prohm [by mid afternoon] it will be less crowded.