A visit to Angkor Wat is something you’ll never forget. It’s massive. It’s impressive. It’s an amazing complex of well-preserved scattered temples and wats that showcase Khmer culture and beauty. The temples of Angkor Wat make up what is referred to as Angkor Archeological Park, which if you don’t know, is an explorer and history buff’s paradise.
From the well-known temples of Bayon (face temple) and Ta Prohm (tomb raider temple) to the lesser-known temples of Angkor Wat, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive travel guide so your visit to Angkor Wat is seamless. Be it information on Angkor Wat tickets, the best time to visit, or how to get there and around Angkor Archeological Park, we’re here to be your Angkor Wat guide.
Visiting Angkor Wat Temple & Travel Guide
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Angkor Wat Temple Facts
It’s always nice to understand what you’re about to experience, isn’t it? Below is a short but helpful list of essential Angkor Wat facts so you understand the basics before you arrive. Looky, looky whose coming prepared!
- Constructed in the early 12th century by the Khmer King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments in the world.
- The former Hindu, now Buddhist Wat, sits within a 400 square kilometers (154 square miles) complex that is known as Angkor Archaeological Park.
- Angkor Archaeological Park houses the remains of not only Angkor Wat itself, but the remains of the entire Khmer Empire dating back to the 9th – 15th centuries.
- The name “Angkor Wat” means “Temple City” or “City of Temples”.
- In the 15th century, the Khmer Kings abandoned their sprawling city and Angkor Wat laid forgotten for centuries. It wasn’t until a French explorer by the name of Henri Mouhot, rediscovered the Khmer city in 1860.
- In the early 1900’s the French established a commission to begin restoring Angkor Wat. To this day, restoration efforts are still underway, and a portion of ticket sales go to these restoration efforts.
Where Is Angkor Wat & How To Get To There
The entire Angkor Wat Archeological Park complex is about 162.6 hectares / 401 acres in size and is located about 15 minutes (5.5kms / 3.5mi) northwest of the city center of Siem Reap in Cambodia.
If you are not in Siem Reap yet, no worries. Siem Reap has an international airport (REP) so you can easily catch a flight into the city. Alternative options are to travel overland by bus. If you’re coming from Phnom Pehn or neighboring Thailand, there are loads of overland bus options for you to reserve and book. Once in Siem Reap, you’ll find no shortage of transportation options and guided tours that will happily whisk you to, from, and around Angkor Wat.
Best Way To Get Around Angkor Wat
If you are not planning on booking a tour of Angkor Wat, you have a handful of options on getting you not only to but around Angkor Wat.
A tuk-tuk from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat is the most popular option to take tourists to, from, and around Angkor Wat. You can easily hire a tuk-tuk for the day (or half-day) directly with a driver on the streets of Siem Reap, through your accommodation or local tour agency. Trust us, once you get into Siem Reap, you’ll see the plethora of Tuk-Tuk drivers offering their services to take you and your companions to visit Angkor Wat.
A round trip Angkor Wat tuk-tuk price will cost you anywhere from $15 – $20 USD per day. If you pay closer to the $25 range, that is a little on the higher end, but up to you how much you want to haggle.
TIP: If you book a tuk-tuk with a driver on the street (like we did), do not pay him upfront. Wait to pay in full till the end of your trip. Regardless of who you book a tuk-tuk ride through, make sure the temples you want to see and how long you have the tuk-tuk for are clearly communicated and agreed upon upfront.
Another option on how to get to and around Angkor Wat is booking a private van. Private vans provide air-conditioning and much more comfort than tuk-tuks. Also, you also have the nicety of having a tour guide accompany you as well.
To book a private van tour from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat, check out this private van tour here.
Bicycle Or eBike
The most cost-effective transportation option from Siem Reap to and around Angkor Wat is renting a bicycle. However, this is also the most labor-intensive. Temperatures in Siem Reap can be very hot and humid so please remember to stay hydrated while you cycle.
Also, to avoid any hiccups along the way, make sure the bike is sturdy. We’d hate for you to lose a tire along the way. Hey, it happens! Bicycle rentals vary from but around $5 USD per day is average. A handful of accommodations have free bicycle rentals for guests and bike shops in Siem Reap offer day bike rentals.
Speaking of day rentals! An alternative to bicycling is getting a little assistance while you do it. eBike rentals are also available in Siem Reap. Regardless of how you choose to get to and around Angkor Wat, just know that walking isn’t an option.
Angkor Wat Entrance Fees & Hours
When planning your visit to Angkor Archaeological Park you’ll need to determine how much time you want to spend in the park. You have three ticket options, each offering visitors different lengths of time:
- 1 Day Angkor Pass – $37
- 3 Day Angkor Pass (valid for 1 week) – $62
- 7 Day Angkor Pass (Valid for 1 month) – $72
Angkor Wat is open daily from 5:00am to 6:00pm. Whereas Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup Temples are open from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, and all other temples open and 7:30 am and close at 5:30 pm.
Angkor Wat Tickets – Additional Things To Know
- Children 12 and under can enter for free, but must show passport for proof of age
- Park tickets issued after 5pm are valid for the next day
- The above 1-, 3- and 7-day tickets options include entrance to all temples except Kulen Mountain and Bengmealea temple
- There is no ticket discount for groups
- All tickets require a photo of you, this ensures you cannot resell your ticket to another individual
- You can pay for your Angkor Wat ticket in cash or with credit card (Discover, Visa, Mastercard)
Where To Buy Angkor Wat Tickets
Please understand that you can ONLY buy your Angkor Wat ticket from the Ticket Office Box. The Ticket Box office is not all that convenient to get to – 15 minutes from Siem Reap and 15 minutes from Angkor Wat. Tickets bought elsewhere are considered fraudulent Angkor Passes.
The ticket box office for Angkor Wat opens at 5:00 am and it would be in your best interest to get there before opening – around 4:30 am or 4:45 am. The ticket line can be loooong and if it’s too long, you could miss that beautiful sunrise you’re trying to get to. Luckily, there are about 20 window clerks cranking out tickets for tourists so your wait shouldn’t be too long, especially if you are one of the first in line.
Even though it takes about 15 minutes to get from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat, you need to take into consideration the amount of time it takes to get from Siem Reap to the Ticket Office, and then to Angkor Wat. On average, it takes around 30 minutes to get to and from all three, however, you’ll also need to take into consideration the time it will require you to buy your tickets. This is important when trying to plan for sunrise.
An alternative option is to buy your tickets the night before. Any tickets sold after 5:00 pm are valid for the next day. The ticket office closes at 5:30 pm so be sure to arrive around 4:30 pm to allow yourself the time you need to get in line and buy your ticket. Whatever you do, DO NOT BUY your ticket till after 5:00 pm. If you buy tickets before 5:00 pm, they’ll count for the current day and will not be valid for the next day.
Ticketing Check Points and Angkor Wat Ticket No-No’s
Whatever you do, don’t lose that Angkor Wat ticket of yours, and always make sure to have it on you. Why? It’s common to have your ticket checked by security at the entrance of certain Angkor temples.
If you lose, tear, or damage your ticket in any way, you’ll be required to purchase a new ticket at full price in order to gain access to the temples of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat tickets are non-transferable and not meant to be resold. If you get caught selling your Angkor Wat ticket to another individual, you’ll pay a hefty fine.
Best Time To Visit Angkor Wat
January to May and then November to December are the best months to visit Angkor Wat. June to October is hit-and-miss months. During the months of June through October, the monsoon season is in full swing making walking around outside or seeing that Angkor sunrise a bit of a challenge.
Regardless of which month you plan to visit, just make sure to start your day early. It gets extremely hot and humid in Cambodia so do your best to avoid sightseeing during mid-day. Plus, the early bird gets the worm as they say. Morning is not only great lighting for photos but tends to be a little lighter on the crowds.
How Long Do You Need To Visit Angkor Wat
How do you know which ticket option is best for you when visiting Angkor Wat? Well, it’s a personal preference. Our recommendation is to buy the one-day or three-day pass. Ask yourself these below questions and we promise, it’ll help you decide.
- Are you short on time or do you have a few days to spend in Siem Reap?
- Short On Time: Get you that one-day pass to Angkor Wat.
- Have A Few Days: Go on and buy that three-day pass or hell, the week pass if you have the time.
- Are you tight on money or do you have some extra funds to spare?
- Tight On Money: The one-day pass is $37 per person so even on a budget, that’s pricy.
- Have Some Funds to Spare: The three-day pass is going to set you back $62 per person but if you have the time, it’s worth it.
- Is temple site seeing your thing or are you just going to see the highlights?
- Only The Highlights, Please: One-day pass for sure.
- Let Me See It All: If you are a history buff and seriously love ancient ruins and temples, then there are plenty of sites to keep you occupied. Get that three-day or seven-day pass.
Do You Need A Guide To Visit Angkor Wat?
First, understand that you do not need to book a tour to experience and visit Angkor Wat. Booking your own transportation and determining what Angkor Wat temples you want to see can be completely done by yourself.
However, take it from us, we got SO much more out of our visit by having a guided tour of Angkor Wat. You can reserve a guided tour of just Angkor Wat or look to book a guided tour through the entire park so you can get the history of each Angkor Wat temple you wish to visit.
Angkor Wat Tour Routes – The Grand Circuit and The Small Circuit
Alrighty, so what we’ve come to learn about Angkor Wat is there are established tour routes referred to as The Grand Circuit or The Short Circuit. While these are established routes, they are also totally customizable, especially when you hire your own Tuk-Tuk driver or book a private tour to take you around the park.
Before paying either the Tuk-Tuk or the private tour, BE SURE to agree on any modifications you’d like to make to the below routes to ensure you see the Angkor temples you want to see. Having these conversations upfront ensures you are not surprised later by either having to pay more or risk not seeing a temple you had your heart on exploring.
The Small Circuit Tour
Great for those who only have one day in the park. The Small Circuit route covers the major highlights of Angkor Wat Archeological Park.
- Angkor Wat
- Bayon Temple
- Baphuon Temple
- Terrace of the Elephants
- Ta Keo
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdei
Two popular guided tour options are to start the Small Circuit tour with sunrise or to start a little later to experience the Small Circuit with sunset. Whichever you decided, you’ll be whisked around Angkor Wat temples and shown some of the very best Angkor Wat has to offer.
There are two other Angkor temples that sometimes are or are not included in these routes, it just depends on your tour guide or Tuk-Tuk driver. But if of interest, it’s worth seeing if you can add on Srah Srang and Phnom Bakheng to your Small Circuit route.
The Grand Circuit Tour
Unlike the Small Circuit route, the Grand Circuit route (also called the Big Circuit) includes a handful of Angkor temples on the outskirts of the complex. The below list of Angkor temples are often less visited by tourists when compared to the temples on the Small Circuit.
- Preah Khan
- Neak Pean (or Neak Poun)
- Banteay Prei
- Ta Som
- East Mebon
- Banteay Srei
- Banteay Samre
- Pre Rup
If you are looking to experience the temples on both the Small Circuit and Grand Circuit, you can coordinate with a Tuk-Tuk driver or look into booking a tour like this one, where over two days you’ll be whisked around Angkor Wat and the most popular set of temples. Or, if you’re just wanting to explore the Grand Circuit route, this is a great guided tour to check out.
Angkor Wat Temples Not To Miss
So now, with all the route talk said and done, really and truly the temples you want to see are up to you. For us, we worked with our tuk-tuk driver and pulled from both the Small Circuit and Grand Circuit to see the temples we wanted to see.
Fair warning, there are several hundred temples and ruins that lay within the boundary of Angkor Archeological Park. Yes, that’s indeed a lot and can become a bit overwhelming when looking to find the best temples to visit in Angkor Wat. Below are not only the most popular Angkor Wat temples to visit, but the below also cover off on the most beautiful park highlights as well.
- Sunrise at Angkor Wat
- Ankgor Thom
- Bayon Temple
- Baphuon Temple
- Terrace of the Elephants
- Ta Prohm
- Preah Khan
- Sunset at Pre Rup
Be sure to coordinate with your Tuk-Tuk driver to ensure the temples you want to see are understood and included in the price they give you. Same for a private tour, work with the tour company to ensure you see what you want to see.
Where To Watch Sunrise At Angkor Wat
Alright, being honest, there really is only a handful of places you should consider for sunrise. Also, it’s important to mention that not all Angkor Wat temples open at the same time. So really, your options are limited as to where you can watch the sunrise.
If you are wanting to catch a sunrise at a temple not listed below, be sure to check its hours to make sure you can access the temple during the early hours of the morning.
- Angkor Wat Reflection Pond (Open at 5am): The most popular choice for sunrise in the Angkor Wat is to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat and as the sky illuminates, watch the pond in front of Angkor Wat give a wonderful reflection of the scene appearing in front of you. Just know, sunrise here is BEYOND crowded. You will be shoulder to shoulder with people striving to see the same view as you, that famous Angkor Wat reflection pool sunrise. So, if you want to get a good seat, arrive early and hold your own as tourist begin to arrive.
- Pre Rup (Open at 5am): Pre Rup opens early for visitors to climb to the top for sunrise where you can find a spot to perch and watch the sunrise over the ruins and jungle below.
- Phnom Bakheng (Opens at 5am): Another option to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat is Phnom Bakheng. This temple offers a high vantage point with views of Angkor Wat in the distance.
Where To Watch Sunset At Angkor Wat
Like sunrise, only a handful of temples are open late enough in the evening for you to catch a sunset. Three of the most popular places to watch the sunset in Angkor Wat are listed just below.
- Pre Rup (Closed at 7pm): The direction the sunsets, you’ll be watching it dip below a jungle tree line, but nonetheless, it’s pretty cool to watch the sunset from the top of an Angkor temple. Pre Rup is a close second to the most popular temple for a Angkor Wat sunset.
- Phnom Bakheng (Closes at 7pm): The most popular location in Angkor Archeological Park for sunset is Phnom Bakheng. Fair warning though, there are only 300 people allowed at a time in the temple to watch sunset. So, if your heart is set to watch the sunset here, arrive a few hours early to not only get temple access, but a good spot.
- Srah Srang (Closes at 5:30pm): Popular for sunset as the light and colors of the sky will light up the reservoir or Royal Bath that makes up Srah Srang.
Regardless of if you want to see the sunrise, sunset, or both, BE SURE to check the weather. If the forecast calls for rain or overcast, you might be out of luck. We’d hate for you to wake up early and not get to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat Dress Code
Yes, these temples are ruins but that still doesn’t mean you can dress how you want. These are active religious sites still used by practicing Buddhist and Buddhist monks. So, your behavior and attire should be respectful.
- For Woman:
- Knees and shoulders should be covered
- Feel free to wear a tank top but just bring a sarong or scarf to cover your shoulders when entering the temples
- Shoes are accepted, no need to go barefoot
- For Men:
- Shorts are fine
- Keep those shoulders covered aka no tank tops
- Shoes are accepted, no need to go barefoot
We know, we know, Cambodia is hot, and shorts and tanks are amazing for that hot weather, but these outfit choices are not appropriate clothing for Angkor Wat. Be respectful and you’ll be just fine.
What To Bring With You To Angkor Wat
- Water: It is hot, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking so make sure you have plenty of water on you.
- Daypack: You’ll defintely want a comfortable backpack to carry your items, food and water.
- Camera: Definitely do not leave this back at your room. Also, if you have extra batteries, be sure to pack those too.
- Sunscreen: Lather up your face and body. The sun is intense and since you plan on spending a full day exploring outside, make sure you apply several times throughout the day to keep you from looking like a crispy lobster.
- Sunglasses: Again, the sun. Protect those eyes and make it easier to see.
- Hat (if needed): Yup, the sun again. Hats help block the sun further and provide you a little shade.
- Angkor Wat Ticket: 100% don’t leave this back in your room or you won’t be getting very far.
- Bug Repellent: You’re in the jungle after all, aren’t you? Don’t make yourself a mosquito snack. Pack and apply buy spray.
- Cash: There are food stalls and restaurants in the park, bring some cash for food and tips for your tour guide or driver.
- Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer: Meh, it’s dusty and you’re going to touch a lot of things other people have touched. It’s nice to have some clean hands when you take a break for lunch or to eat any snacks.
- Power bank: More than likely you are going to be out all day, and no one likes it when their phone dies. Bring a power bank to keep your phone or any other gadgets charged.
- First Aid Kit: We always have one with us in our day bag. It’s SO nice pull out a Band-Aid to cover up blisters of some Tylenol when you have a headache. We don’t want you to have a cut or headache and have to go searching for relief when you could have something in your pack instead.
- Snacks: Plain and simple, no one likes to explore when they’re hungry.
Tips For Visiting Angkor Wat
- Do not ride the elephants. Just don’t. That’s animal abuse and it’s cruel so please avoid elephant rides and tours at Angkor Wat and everywhere else you travel too.
- Dress appropriately. Be respectful in your attire (cover your chest/cleavage, shoulders, and knees) if you want to gain access to temples in Angkor Wat.
- Stay Hydrated. Ya’ll we can’t stress enough how hot it can get. Just make sure you have plenty of water and more importantly drink the water.
- Plan Ahead. Know which temples or route you want to take, book tours or guides, and have a plan for when you want to buy your tickets. Laying out a plan will take any stress of your visit away.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to be doing LOADS of walking, so be sure those little feet of yours are supported.
- Be Wary of Fake Tour Guides: You may get approached by kids or adults offering to take you on a personal tour of “x” temple you are currently exploring. Politely, but assertively decline as these are not certified guides.
Angkor Wat Temple Map
Below, you’ll find an interactive map showcasing the temples traditionally shown during the Small Circuit route as well as the temples typically shown on the Grand Circuit route. Click on the map to show what temple is what as well as zoom in and out to get a feel of the space and the complex of Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap offer’s plenty of accommodation choices for those looking to explore Angkor Wat. With the city center of Siem Reap is only 15 minutes away, staying in Siem Reap is a great choice when booking accommodations. However, if you are wanting to stay outside of the city, there are accommodations near Angkor Wat for you to consider.
For The Budget Conscious: Looking for a humble stay? Well, look no further than Sok Phen Homestay or Dany’s Angkor Cottage. Stay in humble abodes situated among the Cambodian countryside. Enjoy cooked meals and sweet serenity at Sok Phen Homestay or Dany’s Angkor Cottage.
For The Luxury Inclined: Templation Hotel, is a luxury getaway close to Angkor Wat. With lovely rooms, an amazing pool, beautiful gardens, and friendly staff you’re in for an unforgettable stay.
For Something In Between: Located a few miles from Angkor Wat, you’ll find the beautiful Grand Venus La Residence. Grand Venus La Residence is a modern hotel featuring a massive pool and beautiful surroundings far from the noise of Siem Reap.
For more places to stay near Angkor Wat, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)