Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of visiting the temples of Angkor, especially the iconic Angkor Wat. I finally fulfilled my travel dream, and it was truly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to.
In this article, I’d like to share my travel experience and tips to plan an amazing trip to the temples of Angkor.
This article includes the following section:
- Things to know before visiting
- Ticket guide
- Best places to stay
- How to get to Angkor Wat from Siem Reap
- Getting around the temples of Angkor
- Opening hours and map
- Best time to visit
- Independent visit or a tour?
- Best way to visit Angkor Wat in one day
- Best temples to visit
- How to watch sunset and sunrise
- What to eat
- Packing tips
Things to know before visiting Angkor Wat
Money: Cambodians mainly use USD, so don’t forget to exchange first in your home country.
SIM: Book your SIM card in advance and receive it when you arrive to travel easier.
Plan where you want to go
It would be best to plan which temples you don’t want to miss. Popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Temple), Preah Khan, and Banteay Srei (further away from the city).
Clothes: Dress politely to visit Angkor Archaeological Park. Do not wear skirts, pants and sleeveless shirts. The guards will not allow you to enter if the clothes are not suitable.
Be prepared for weather changes.
It’s fine if you are in Siem Reap during the dry season. However, in the rainy season, sudden rains will make you unprepared. If you go at this time, you should have raincoats and umbrellas ready.
Rest when needed
Find a comfortable spot to read a book or sit back and enjoy it if you’re tired. Many temples have stalls selling coconut water, soft drinks, and beer, so drink water, have a snack, and take a break.
Ticket price for Angkor Wat
Tickets for Angkor can be bought for 1, 3, or 7 days, so you should consider what you intend to see before buying your ticket.
- One day: $37. Tickets are valid from the time of purchase
- Three days: $62. Tickets are valid for ten days after the date of purchase, and you can use the ticket to visit any of Angkor Archaeological Park for 3 days within 10 days.
- Seven days: $72. Tickets are valid for one month after the date of purchase, allowing you to visit any of the Angkor complexes for seven days within one month.
If you don’t have much time, a 1-day ticket is enough. If you love exploring and have more time, buy a 3-day ticket.
Alternatively, you can also book a 1-day tour to visit Angkor. This tour includes an on-site shuttle, admission to Angkor, drinks, cold towels, and a guide.
- Angkor Wat tickets are valid from the day you purchase the ticket unless you buy it after 5 pm, in which case the ticket is valid starting the next day.
- You can visit the Angkor Archaeological Park any day of the week after 5:30 pm free of charge. No ticket is required.
- Keep the ticket to the temple: Admission tickets are used at the main entrance of the temple. There will also be checkers at some large temples inside. So be careful to keep your tickets. If you lose it, you have to buy a new ticket when you go there.
How to buy tickets for Angkor Wat
The office is next to the Angkor Panorama Museum and opposite the Asian Traditional Museum.
When buying tickets, don’t forget to bring cash and your passport. Go to the window and purchase. The seller will then take a picture of you and issue a ticket for you.
The guard will check the ticket in some temples, so you should always bring your ticket with you.
- Address: Angkor Enterprise, Street 60, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
- Opening hours: from 5 am to 5:30 pm.
Best places to stay in Siem Reap
After an exhausting day of sightseeing, there’s nothing better than resting and soaking in the water.
You should book a hotel with a swimming pool to make your trip the most relaxing.
Booking in advance will be better for you because Siem Reap is Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination, so good hotels here are often out of the room very quickly, especially in the peak season.
How to get to Angkor Wat from Siem Reap
The gateway to the temples is Siem Reap, a tourist hotspot. From Siem Reap, you can hire a tuk-tuk for a day or join a tour to enjoy a hassle-free transfer.
How to get around Angkor Wat?
The area of Angkor is huge, and each temple is far from the other. So, don’t walk!
If it’s your first time visiting or you only have one day visiting, taking a tuk-tuk or joining a tour is better. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle in Siem Reap to explore Angkor.
Opening hours of Angkor temples
All temples except Angkor Wat, Sras Srang, Pre Rup, and Phnom Bakheng are open from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm. These temples below are open earlier than before sunrise or late afternoon sunset.
- Angkor. Wat: 5:00 am – 5:30 pm
- Sras Srang: 5:00 am – 5:30 pm
- Pre Rup: 5:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Phnom Bakheng: 5:00 am – 7:00 pm
Angkor temples map
Angkor Archaeological Park forms two routes: Small Circuits (17 km loop) and Large Circuits (26 km loop).
- The main temple in the small circuits: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Prasat Kravan
- The main temple in the big loop (Large Circuit): Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Eastern Mebon, Pre Rup
Best time to visit Angkor Wat
An ideal time to visit Angkor Wat is from November to March. At this time, the weather is mild and dry. However, it’s also the peak of the tourist season.
The weather is hotter and wetter from June to October, and the afternoon rain makes the next morning the best time to explore.
To avoid the heat, you should visit Angkor temples in the early morning or the afternoon (after 3 pm).
Should I visit Angkor Wat alone or by tour?
You probably wonder about this when planning your trip to Angkor temples.
As Angkor Archaeological Park has many prominent temples and each temple has its own story, it is necessary to have a guide to show you around and explain the mysterious stories.
To have a guide, you can either join a private tuk-tuk tour or sign up for a group tour. Once you have some understanding of the temples, on your 2nd or 3rd day, it’s a good time to explore the temples on your own.
An independent visit is a great way to explore the temples at your own pace, view, and photograph the architecture. You can decide how to much time to spend at each site and when to return to your hotel.
Best temples to visit in Angkor Archaeological Park
Angkor Wat is the largest and most important temple in this area.
The unique feature of this temple lies in the branches of trees that have covered the temple for hundreds of years.
In particular, the majestic Ceiba Penrandra embracing the temple with its roots creates an impressive image.
Bayon is one of the most beautiful temples of Angkor. The temple is designed with 54 towers, and each building is sculpted with Lokesvara face in four directions.
The best way to visit Angkor Wat in one day
Angkor Wat 1-day itinerary
- Start your day early and depart for Angkor temples at 4 am.
- Buy the tickets, follow the crowd to the lake in front of Angkor Wat, and enjoy the sunrise.
- Visit Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. Get back to your hotel in Siem Reap to relax.
- At 3 pm, take a tuk-tuk to visit Banteay Kdei and Prasat Kravan
- Optional: If you’re not tired, then enjoy the beautiful sunset at Phnom Bakheng
If you only have one day for Angkor temples, I recommend joining a tour or renting a private tuk-tuk guide. Don’t push yourself too much!
How to watch sunrise and sunset in Angkor
To watch the sunrise in Angkor, you can sign up for the Angkor sunrise tour. As the tour starts at 4 am, you’ll need to get up early, come and line up.
It was very crowded on the day I visited.
You should be at Bakheng hill or an appropriate place at 5 pm to watch the sunset. And note that the number of people watching the sunset is also very large.
Best places to watch the sunset in Angkor temples
- Phnom Bakheng
- Pre Rup
- Sras Srang
- Angkor Thom Moat
- Angkor Wat Moat
- West Mebon
With a 3-day or 7-day admission ticket, it’s easy to arrange a time to watch the sunrise and admire the sunset at Angkor.
However, with a 1-day ticket, you should pick either one of them because staying up to watch both sunrise and sunset can be very tiring and exhausting.
Where to eat in Angkor temples
There are many eateries around the major temples, especially Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
The street vendors mainly sell drinks, fruits, noodles, and skewers. With about 5-7 dollars, you can have a full meal at the restaurant.
What to pack for Angkor Wat
Here is the list of essential items you should bring
- Drinking water and snacks
- Comfortable shoes
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- A hat