Situated in Cambodia and once home to the mighty Khmer
empire, the Angkor area was the center of a civilization developed from the 9th
and 15th centuries. There are more than 1,000 temples of different sizes. In
Angkor, all were restored to archaeological significance. The whole area is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the famous Angkor Wat.
Every year, thousands of visitors come to visit,
explore Angkor Wat. If traveling to Cambodia without visiting Angkor Wat then
you are missing 50% experience the meaning of the trip already. Then how to
have the most complete experience for your trip? The review below will help you
plan your trip!
introduction about Angkor Wat:
Angkor Wat is the most famous tourist destination in
Cambodia. This is also one of the seven wonders of the world recognized by
UNESCO. It can be said that this is the greatest legacy that Khmer people leave
Located about 6 km north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat was
built by King Suryavarman II in the first half of the 12th century. The area of
the entire population extends over 248 square miles (400 km2), running around
the temple is a deep and wide moat. Originally designed for Hindu worship, but
later due to the rise of Buddhism, Angkor Wat was converted to Buddhism.
The whole population of architecture is outstanding
and characteristic of ancient sculpture. The towers, temples, reliefs and
immense corridors are made of stone, stacked on top of each other looking very
natural, even on top of the roof. Decorative stone decorations such as Buddha
statues, dancers, warriors and lotus illustrations of the Ramayana and
Mahabharata epics are very lively and sophisticated.
Angkor ruins are the pride of Cambodian people. The
two main temples are Angkor Wat (meaning Temple of the Emperor) and Angkor Thom
(meaning Temple of the Holy). Temple architecture simulates the great Meru
mountain of India, the tallest central tower of 65m represents the legendary
Mount Meru, the five spiers surrounding the corresponding mountain peak. The
entire structure is built of sandstone and honeycomb without any binder or
reinforced concrete. How amazing is that!
Suggestion for Angkor Wat tour
How to get to
Angkor is located about 20 minutes to the north, by
car or motorbike, from central Siem Reap. Therefore, you need to get to Siem
Reap first. There are several ways to travel to Siem Reap, such as: by plane,
by bus, by train, by boat and even by helicopter. However, people usually
choose to fly to Siem Reap directly or by bus for travelers who already arrived
The airport is around 7 km from the center of Siem
Reap. You can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. Bring US dollars to pay
for it, as proffering other currencies will result in a large “conversion
fee”. Bring a passport-sized photo also. Immigration and Customs staff are
possibly the unfriendliest Cambodians you will meet on your trip: grin and bear
it, as entry procedures don’t take long. You may be asked for a “tip”
by Immigration staff. So be prepared.
Most buses terminate at an out of town bus station to
the east of Siem Reap, from where tuk-tuks are needed to get into the town.
Mekong Express also drops you at an out of town bus depot but, if there are
local Cambodians on your bus, they will provide a shuttle bus into town which
drops you direct at your hotel and only costs $1. Now tickets can also be purchased
online via direct websites of some of the bus companies so try to book at least
the day before travel so you can have more time to prepare.
for 3 days:
Normally when visiting Angkor Wat people will be
suggested 2-day schedule: the first day is small circle including the Angkor
Wat, Bayon, Ta Keo & Ta Promhm. Day 2 will take a larger circle including
the Prasat Kravan, Pre Roup, East Mebon Temples (See map below).
However, this schedule is not very reasonable because
the first day to go to the most beautiful temple and also do not spend a lot of
time to focus on the most beautiful places. So, you should buy a visit ticket
for 3 days instead of 2 days. Below is a suggested schedule for the 3 day trip
visiting the Angkor area.
It would be a good idea to spend the early morning to
visit Angkor Wat, especially at 5am or earlier. The reason is that you can
watch the sunrise at this temple. To do this you should buy tickets from the
previous day if possible, otherwise it is relatively difficult because of time.
The dawn in Angkor Wat is truly magnificent. The first sun of the day shines
through the peak of the temple, creating a landscape that you cannot take your
eyes off. You should spend half of the
day to explore all the corner of the temple. For the other half, enjoy the
wonderful sunset in Bayon temple in Angkor Thom which is not far from there.
One special thing that you can do in Angkor Wat is
that you can climb to the highest peak of the temple. But there is a limitation
on the number of people who can climb to the peak for one turn, usually under
100 people. Because everyone wants to take a try for such “once in a blue moon”
experience, it takes a long time for lining up. You will need to line for 30
minutes to an hour until you can try it.
For day 2, I suggest that you should start from the
big circle. Choose one of the two temples, Pre Rup or East Mebon because the
two temples are quite similar to each other. Then go to Ta Som. This temple has
many trees so it is quite cool and also suitable for taking pictures. Surely,
you will have such epic instagram pics when visiting this temple.
Next you should visit Neak Pean. This temple has a
wooden entrance through a swampy area with dead trees. All of them create a
wild scene, which makes you feel like you are lost in ancient times. Spending
most of the afternoon in Ta Promhm is a great suggestion. This is the temple
scene of the movie “Secret of the Ancient Tomb” famous that year. Similar
to Ta Som Temple, there are many trees that cover the temple. Among temples in
the big circle, this can be seen as the most beautiful one.
In the afternoon you can go to Phnom Bakheng for watching
the sun going down. This is a good place to enjoy the sunset in Angkor. Because
it’s on a hill, you have to walk 500-700m up the hill and lined up to climb to
the top of the temple, just like in Angkor Wat. And
again, only 300 guests are allowed to climb the temple so if you arrive late
will have to queue. At the foot of the mountain there is an elephant service
which you are able to sit on an elephant who climbs to the summit. If you are a
lazy person and not an animal lover, try this experience is also quite
After visiting all the places in the heart of Angkor,
you should travel a little bit further. My suggestion is Banteay Srei Temple. It
is about 35km from the center of Siem Reap. This is the place to be recommended
after Angkor Wat, Bayon & Ta Promhm (according to Tripadvisor). This
attraction is also included in the ticket of Angkor Wat so no need to add
tickets to visit again. Also you can choose to visit: Koh Ker Temple or Boeng
Mealea. However, these two temples are far from Banteay Srei. So, you can go
there if there is any time left.
Basically this is the recommended timetable, you can
go on your own tour by checking out Tripadvisor’s reviews, checking out the
Google Map and if needed, ask more local people.
notes for tourists:
How to get around Angkor area :
There are 3 main options: Tuk Tuk, minivan and
bicycle. You should rent a tuk tuk or minivan for at least the first day to
understand the route in this area. You will pay $ 45 for a day if you rent a
minivan. If you choose a tuk tuk, the cost may be a bit cheaper. Besides
helping you to remember the way, these two options are suitable for travelers
who bring too many belongings.
It would be better if you have a tourist guide:
Depending on your needs, you can hire a tour guide or not.
Personally I think that having a tourist guide is a necessity because this is a
cultural historical monument. Usually, if you are going in a group of 4-5
people, it would be cheaper to hire a private tour guide than booking a tour
including a tour guide. The price for a private is reasonable, ranging from 35$
to 50$ per day.
You don’t need to change your money into Cambodian
In Cambodia, you can use USD so you do not need to
exchange Riel. Even though you change money Riel will benefit a little, but not
significantly. The cost for a trip of about 3 days excluding airfare will be
around $ 200-300. Group travel of 4-5 people is most beneficial.
Dress yourself carefully:
Another important note in Angkor Wat’s tourism
experience is the costume during the tour. This is a sacred place so you need
to dress up politely. You should wear long clothes, not wearing short dresses,
the costumes are as disgusted as tight, torn, … If your dress does not meet
the requirements, the protection here can invite you out of the temple.
If you need more information, kindly find here: