Best way to visit Angkor Wat

How to visit Angkor Wat

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Siem Reap? Most likely it will be Angkor Wat- the symbol of Cambodia (it’s on the flag)! The famous, historical and mystical temple complex- which is one of the largest religious sites in the world- has become a wonder site not to be missed. Angkor Wat translates in English as the ‘City of temples’, the name is not surprising since this architectural beauty has played a core role throughout history during the Angkor Empire and the many religious movements.
The temple complex is so diverse and enormous that it is worth planning the trip with care to ensure you get the most out of the visit and more importantly understanding how the temples fit into the surroundings daily lives. This post aims to shed some light on the best ways to experience Angkor Wat and provides useful information for planning that extraordinary trip.

1. First things first: getting your ticket

Temple entrance fee

There are various ticket options targeted at how people wish to explore. The tickets range from a 1 day pass to a 7 day pass depending on your curiosity level! It should be noted that from every ticket sold, $2 will go towards the Swiss-owned Kantha Bopha hospital which provides free health-care to children. Here is a breakdown of the prices:

  • 1-day pass – $37 USD
  • 3-day pass – $62 USD (has to be used within a week)
  • 7-day pass – $72 USD (has to be used within a month)

To buy the ticket you will enter a modern complex -be prepared for a flood of tourist groups and take a photo that will become your ticket ID to enter the temples.

View the map here

2. For early risers- the best time for sunrise

Best way to see angkor Wat

There are three times to visit the temples, sunrise, during the day and sunset. Whilst most people aim for sunset, if you can force yourself to get up around 4:30 am for sunrise at Angkor Wat it will get you that picture perfect shot- just don’t expect it to look like the colourful postcards. However, you can definitely enjoy the stunning views and watch how the rising sun brings the temples to life. Although it is early remember it is also the coolest part of the day!

Angkor Sunrise Biking

The seasons in Cambodia are split between the dry (November-April) and wet (May-October) season. The best time to go for sunrise is during the dry season where it less cloudy allowing for that quintessential shot. Also useful to note is the location. Be prepared for a number of like-minded tourists and be sure to stand your ground when you find a good location. We recommend standing by the pool inside the Angkor Wat complex to get the reflection effect.

3. How to get around Angkor Wat complex?

Angkor Wat bike ride

There are numerous ways to explore the carved out, magical temples- but the best way, cutting out traffic, offering freedom and the opportunity to engage with the locals is to visit Angkor Wat by bike. More specifically a bike tour will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the temples whilst not having to worry about planning out a route. To visit a UNESCO site, layered with history and symbolism would be silly not to have a guide to help steer you through the crowds and provide that knowledge which takes you on a journey through stories and ancient lives. It also allows you to get off the touristy roads and venture into the jungle that entangles the temples.

Angkor Wat Temple tour guide

Through Unique Adventure Angkor Wat sunrise tour, you will get professional guides to ensure you receive as much information as possible and that all your needs are met. Who would want to come all this way to miss out on such extraordinary architecture? Through the tour you can understand the meanings behind the carefully sculpted walls or why there is a moat around Angkor Wat- everything was constructed with such precision and religious symbolism it is essential to undercover all the mysteries.

4. Which temples to visit after Angkor Wat?

Temple tour

Many know about Angkor Wat but there are many temples in the area. Of course, it is too much to see in one day so depending what you are after there are different options which will influence your ticket decision. On this tour you will also get to see:

  • Bayon Temple- the temple with four faces
  • Death Gate- the gate of Angkor Thom City. This is off the tourist route with many few visiting it.
  • Phreas Khan temple- entangled with trees and other vegetation
  • Ta Prom Temple- famously known as Tomb Raider temple after the movie!

Siem Reap Guided Bike Tour

5. Things to consider in order to prepare for the trip

  • Clothing: Cambodia is a conservative country, especially when it comes to religious sites. Ensure you wear clothing that covers knees and shoulders. You have come to this beautiful country- please take time to respect the local culture.
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun-cream: probably the most essential- as you will be in the sun most of the day exploring the temples, there is limited shade.
  • Hat: helps to avoid the sun’s rays.
  • Personal fan: if you are worried about the heat you could bring a personal fan or an electrical one for personal comfort.

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What to eat in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Food to Go

Getting to the local flavor

Food and travelling go hand in hand. Testing those taste buds is a fundamental component of exploring new places and cultures. As people try to immerse themselves into the native way of life, it is essential to eat like a local and let your senses take over. Most cuisines can be found in a restaurant internationally, however the real flavour can be lost as well as the atmosphere and the methods of eating. On the menu today is the ‘sizzling cake, but locally known as ‘Banh Chev’.

What to eat in Siem Reap

Banh Chev

Siem Reap Food

How to make it

This savoury fried pancake originates from Vietnam but like most dishes has been integrated into the Khmer cuisine taking a different form. The Ban Chev is essentially a pancake created from rice flavour, water, and various sorts of herb powders that is then stuffed with bean sprouts, onions, pork and the occasional shrimp. The Khmer Banh Chev is less crispy and often different spices are added compared to the Vietnamese one.

 

Food to eat in Siem reap

How to eat Banh Chev

To complete the dish it is served with various side-dishes which influence the method of eating. A plate full of fresh salad leaves is one and the other is a bowl of peanut sauce- yum! So how do we eat this delicious dish? By hand! You simply take some salad leaves, like a use of a spoon to then scoop up some pancake, dip it in the peanut sauce and you have yourself a delicious mouthful of savoury, leafy, fresh pancake.

Siem Reap local market

Where to find it

In Siem Reap, this dish is hard to find in any central restaurants but this gives it an edge as you need to venture out to find it. The best place to find the spice infused sizzling pancake is down road 60 where you will also find a road long market where locals go shopping and hang out. The easiest way to reach this area is to take a bike and cycle out in the evening, following the sunset. Better yet, is to go with a local to get the full experience- this is definitely a dish that should not be missed!

Best Sunset spot in Siem Reap

Chasing Sunsets by Bike

While visiting the kingdom of wonder, one thing not to miss, are the remarkable sunsets! When people travel to Siem Reap for the famous, historic temples it is easy to stay in the tourist bubble and not get a true representation of Cambodia. Once you step out of the bubble and stride through the countryside you get a totally different perspective and a glimpse of life outside the city. One way to experience this is to hop on some bikes and cycle through the rice fields and ending up at Phnom Krom Mountain to watch the sun setting over the Cambodian plain.

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Unique Adventure Cycling Race

Join Angkor Wat Bike4Kids Cycling Race

Cyclists from around the country wait to join the Angkor Wat Bike4Kids cycling race, which is marked its 11th year. This annual charity fundraiser will take place on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016. This event will feature three rides of varying distances: 17 kilometres, 37 kilometres and 117 kilometres. Whether you choose to engage in your favourite bike racing or participate in the event, your miles or kilometres and registration with money will be supported the vulnerable children and their families in Cambodia. Read more