When I traveled to Cambodia, I didn’t really know where to go or which places I should see when visiting the country. The one thing, however, that was on my bucket list was to visit Angkor Wat. And I did, so here is a quick guide on how to visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, which was built in the first half of the 12th century.
How to get there?
The Angkor Wat temple and the rest of the complex is located just a few kilometres North of Siem Reap, one of the biggest cities in Cambodia. From Siem Reap you are best off taking a Tuk Tuk, which you will have for the entire duration of your trip to the temples. Once in the complex, your driver will wait while you explore, then take you to the next temple and in the end back to your accommodation.
Costs of visiting Angkor Wat
Depending on how much time you want to spend exploring temples you can either buy a day pass or tickets for several days. The cost of a day pass is $37. And the cost for a two-day ticket as well as three-day ticket is $62 (might as well do three then).
I highly recommend paying with dollars and not with Riels, which is Cambodia’s local currency. When you pay with Riels instead of dollars the exchange rate will be different and you will end up paying more. In general, stick to USD and not the local currency, to find out why check out how I got scammed when entering the country.
Apart from the entry fee, the other factor that has to be taken care of is transportation. Most Tuk Tuk drivers on the streets will try to make you buy a day trip to Angkor Wat. I’ve had Tuk Tuks that wouldn’t even drive me somewhere else unless I would pay them for a trip to Angkor Wat for the following day as well.
For the Grand tour including the sunrise we paid $22 for the transportation. So the Tuk Tuk can cost you around $16 to $26 depending on if you’d like to take the small or big tour and if you would like to see the sunrise or not. Staying for sunrise as well as sunset will be the most expensive option. To avoid scams, I’d succeed to book the Tuk Tuk through your accommodation.
Booking anything in advance in not necessary, you can book the Tuk Tuk the night before and get your ticket to the temple complex at the very same day.
Small or Grand Tour?
The price will differ depending on if you decide to do the small tour or grand tour. Also, if you want to do sunrise and/or sunset. The small tour is a little cheaper and will you take you to different temples than the grand tour.
I’ve heard if you only have a day you should opt for the small tour. I didn’t know that before and booked the Grand tour as I just assumed that it would be the same as the small one just with a few more temples.
But that wasn’t the case. They are both separate routes, but both will include Angkor Wat.
What to bring?
- Proper clothing: Since you are visiting a religious monument, make sure shoulders and knees are covered at all times. Also consider that it is going to be hot so clothing that is too warm or tight can be uncomfortable
- Water: It can get pretty humid and be aware that there are not many places were you can buy water when entering the temple complex
- Camera: As you are visiting Cambodia’s must see attraction and one of its national symbols, you might want to capture this experience with your camera. However, due to public safety regulations, drones are strictly forbidden.
- Day Pass: Make sure to carry this around at all times, as your ticket will be checked at most temple entries again. Your ticket is personalised with your picture on it.
What to expect?
I had decided to see the sunrise, as most people had recommend that beforehand. If that is your plan you have to be at the temple complex around 5:30am. I know that’s early, but you are probably only going to do that once in your lifetime.
We booked the Tuk Tuk through the hostel and got picked up at 4:20am to arrive at Angkor Wat in time. But first we stopped at the ticket office where I had to get my day pass. The ticket shop opened sometime between 4:45am and 5am, where a bunch of people queued in line while all the Tuk Tuk drivers waited outside. Your picture will be taken and printed on the ticket, so you will be able to identify yourself throughout your day.
After, we were taken to the Angkor Wat temple, where a large amount of people gathered around waiting for the sun to rise. Unbelievably how many people were willing to get up this early!
We watched the sunrise, walked around a little, saw some monkeys and after we went back to the Tuk Tuk driver who would take us to the next temple and so on.
I thought this was going to last the whole day, but we were actually back at the hostel before noon.
Therefore, for me one day was enough to explore the temples, in some aspect they were all kind of similar. However, if you have enough time it is also possible to spend a couple of days at the temple complex.
It was really impressive to see Angkor Wat in real life, after having been confronted with it on pictures, clothing and pretty much every souvenir you can possibly buy in Cambodia. You should definitely not miss out on this trip, when traveling to Siem Reap.
Have you been to Angkor Wat? What was your experience and how many days did you spent there? Let me know in the comments 🙂
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