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If you find yourself in Cambodia, you have to visit Angkor Wat. And rightly so, because it’s a special place. I promise. If you’re in need of an Angkor Wat guide: here you go. Have fun. Don’t forget to bring snacks. And water. xoxo Mom.
1/ What is Angkor Wat?
It is thé biggest tourist attraction of Cambodia and also the largest religious monument in the world. Every year, around 2 million tourists visit the temples.
Just to clear the air about something: Angkor is the old city (state), Angkor Wat is the main temple. So actually you visit the temples of Angkor and Angkor Wat is one of them, not the entire site. Angkor means ‘holy city’, Wat means ‘temple’.
2/ How many days should I go to Angkor Wat?
Ehmmmm, it depends. I was done with it after one day. The place is 162 hectares big, so you can walk around for weeks. But it is possible to see the most important temples just in one day. There are tickets for one day, three days or a week.
3/ Is it worth getting up early AF to see the sunrise?
Yes. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve witnessed in my life. The air that lights up pink and blue behind Angkor Wat. Amazing.
However. It’s not only rainbows and butterflies. You are not alone. There are so many other people there. Everybody is trying to get the perfect picture and they are there on a mission. Don’t act surprised when somebody crams their elbows on your side. You have to be really zen inside to really enjoy it.
Also, you have to get up at 4 am. That’s early. But doable. Still, the rest of the day is extra heavy. Some minor sleep deprivation + 35 degrees + temple after temple = I wasn’t my best self that day.
4/ Which temples are worth visiting?
Obviously Angkor Wat. There’s also Bayon, a temple famous for its 216 smiling sculpted faces. Ta Phrom is also worth visiting because it’s dominated by the jungle. You might recognize the temple from its passage in Tomb Raider!
5/ How do I arrange everything?
You’re probably staying in Siem Reap, the city closet to Angkor Wat. Once you’re there, it’s possible to book a tour on every corner of the street. Same goes for hotels. That’s what we did, we booked our tour in our hotel.
Our peachy tuk-tuk driver picked us up at 4.30am and brought us to the ticket booth of Angkor Wat, which is a bit further from the temple complex. Let me say: there were a lot of people, clearly we weren’t the only – crazy – ones that got the idea of watching the sunset. Clearly.
Then, our driver dropped us off at Angkor Wat for the sunrise, and afterward, our tour began. We asked him to start in the back and work our way back to the front, makes sense if you want to beat the crowds.
6/ What are the traps?
Like I said, we went from the back to the front, and that was really nice (we even had a whole temple to ourselves!). And the thing is: when you arrive at Angkor Wat around lunchtime, it’s rather quiet since the majority of tourists are enjoying their lunches. Yay for us!
Next to Angkor Wat are several places where you can eat something, something that’s more than welcome after the crazy morning you’re having. But, they’re overpriced. And not very satisfying. Buy some food when you go visit the other temples, they’re cheaper. A lot of Cambodian kids are running around, hustling, trying to sell you stuff. Just know, when you buy something from them, you’re actually preventing them to be the one place they ought to be: school.
7/ What should I wear?
Girl, you better cover up. That means no bare knees, no bare shoulders, no cleavage. But it’s best to wear an ankle-length sarong and a T-shirt with long sleeves. The same rules apply to men. Know they are very strict here. They threw out a girl because, underneath her sarong, she was wearing a strapless, short dress, which she showed every time her boyfriend took her picture. Naughty. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this Angkor Wat guide now, since getting kicked out is super awkward? You’re welcome.
8/ What’s the price?
- 1 day: 37 dollar
- 3 days: 62 dollar
- 7 days: 72 dollar
Additional costs: the tour you’ve booked. If you go with a tuk-tuk driver, 15 dollar is quite reasonable. Do you want a tour guide? You’ll probably pay around 30 dollars.
So that’s it! I hope this Angkor Wat guide helped you a bit, but most of all, I hope you enjoy your day(s) at Angkor Wat. It sure is something. Do you need some beach bummin’ time afterward. Go to Koh Rong!