Angkor Wat is well known archeological site amongst travelers. And usually also high on their wish lists. It’s an amazing place, where you can spend days or even weeks. But because of its popularity and number of visitors, it’s good to make some plans and find out things, that can make your trip even more special. That’s why we made this quick travel guide to Angkor Wat with some basic info and tips and tricks we learned during our visit.
We spent in Angkor Wat 5 days and we have to admit that we were shocked on day one by the number of visitors. Even though it was the beginning of low season, Angkor Wat was still full of people. Usually we don’t visit places that are full of tourists and on day one we were quite disappointted by the fact, that you have to share temples with couple of hundreds of other people. Beacuse of that its hard to get in touch with this special archeological sites and not to mention that it’s almost impossible to take any good photos. But later on the first evening we talked to some locals, got some info on internet and made a plan that worked perfectly. Well, it’s something special to spend 1 hour in the serenity of the most famous temple – Ta Prohm with just couple of other visitors.
So, here are some basic info and some special info how to make your visit to Angkor Wat unforgettable.
CAMBODIA TOURIST VISA
For most visitors to the Kingdom, visa are obtainable upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. You can get it also on some land crossings. You can obtain your visa also before your arrival to the country through the on-line E-visa. Both require a passport valid for at least six months from the expiry date, 1 recent passport-sized photo. Visa costs 30 USD.
ANGKOR WAT – WHEN TO GO
You can visit Angkor Wat all year round. The dry season is between October and early May and the wet season begins at the end of May and last until October. Although these months offer a much cooler climate that is more manageable to bear, this time brings heavy rains and monsoons. The peak season for visitors of Angkor Wat is during the dry season. June through to October tends to be quieter, although hotter and wetter, with afternoon storms making mornings the best time to explore. In April is Khmer New Year; prepare for crowds and extreme heat. It can get very crowded also on Chinese holidays, especial during Chinese New Year when, well, it’s really, really crowded. 🙂
ANGKOR WAT – GETTING THERE AND AROUND
The easiest way to explore angkor Wat temples is to hire a tuk tuk or a car with a driver. Tuk tuk is a cheaper option, but also funnier, hotter and dustier if you compare it to the private car. The option is also to explore the temples by bicycle but this is not an option if you are traveling with kids. We hired tuk tuk driver Mr. Saveon (email@example.com) and he was reliable, friendly and knowledgeable.
You can find all sorts of accomodation in siem Reap. Usually prices are 10+ USD, cheaper if you leave the city center. We stayed in an amazing family run hotel Angkor Twinkle Boutique Villa, just 10 minutes walk from the Pub Street. It was great to have a pool, especially when we returned back from the hot Angkor Wat temples. We really recommend the place.
PRACTICAL INFO ABOUT WHEN AND HOW TO EXPLORE ANGKOR WAT TEMPLES
Everyone needs a permit to enter the Angkor temples, unless you are Cambodian or related to a Cambodian. A 1 day permit is $20 USD, 3 day is $40 USD, and 7 day is $60 USD.
- if you ask our family, the best temples and really not to be missed are – Ta Prohm (the Tomb Raider temple) and Bayon temple.
- You should spend one morning watching the sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple. It will be crowded, very crowded, but it’s worth it. You should start early in the morning and be at the gate when they open it.
- if you plan to stay in Angkor Wat more then one day, you should visit temples like Bayon and Ta Prohm as early in the morning as possible. They get very crowded after people finish with sunrise at Angkor Wat. After that you can proceed with cute, small temples like Preah Khan, Ta Som, Banteay Kdei. The atmosphere it’s more intimate and you can sit for a while and breathe the old temples spirit without getting disturbed.
- another best time to visit Ta Prohm and Bayon temple is at the end of the day – the last hour before closing. There are not so many visitors anymore, the light gets at its best – ideal for taking photos. Good time of the day is in the middle of the day (around 1 pm) as well, when everyone is back to hotels taking lunch. The bad thing, however, is that it’s extremely hot and the light is bad for taking photos.