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
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.
2. For early risers- the best time for sunrise
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!
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?
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.
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?
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!
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.