Having the luxury of visiting beautiful historical sites around the world is one of the great pleasures of traveling. Being face to face with some of the most fascinating pieces of history is a privilege to say the least. The magnitude of what’s in front of you might be hard to comprehend, and at least for me, it takes a while for it all to truly sink in. That was for sure the case when visiting the great temples of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is an ancient city and was the center of the Khmer empire that once ruled most of Southeast Asia. Today it’s one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors per year, and for good reason! The temples are absolutely breathtaking and seeing the sunrise in the morning is a not to be missed!
When you arrive, you will need to purchase an entry permit or “Temple Pass”, which is valid for all of the Angkor temples in the area. These passes are priced at $20 USD for one day, $40 USD for three days, and $60 USD for 7 days. The only people who do not need to pay are Cambodians or those related to a Cambodian.
The most popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom. The closest big city is Siam Reap and from there you can get a tuk-tuk out to the temples! Make sure to get a price in advance, it’s easy to get scammed!
Angkor Wat was built by Suryavarman and is considered to be the Asian pyramid, It is over 200 feet high and divided in several layers. It’s the largest temple in the whole complex and the central part has four towers in the shape of a lotus flower. Another amazing temple to see is the Bayon, built by Jayavarman VII, it has 54 towers and 216 faces of Avalokiteshvara, and stands in the center of Angkor Thom. Of course, there are plenty of other just as impressive temples to explore, so you could easily spend one or two (or three or four) days here!
Seeing the sunrise
As you could probably figure out, arriving early is key! And when I say early, I mean early. A good time to arrive is between 4.30 and 5.30 in order to get a good view (and those beautiful sunrise photos). Even though it might be difficult getting out of bed that early, it’s well worth it!
Budget hotel – If you want air-con, TV, and hot water, you might be looking at around 50,000 KHR for a single, and 60,000 KHR for a double. Might go up a bit if you want a pool as well!
Hostel – Looking for a room with a fan and cold shower rooms the prices range from 5,000 to 40,000 KHR per night. If you want a private bathroom with hot water, prices might go up to 50,000 KHR.
Food – In Siam Reap there is no lack of good food! A nice meal in a restaurant could cost you less than 42,000 KHR and you can easily find much cheaper if you look around! Try some of the local cousin and walk away from the main street, there is tons of amazing food to be discovered! Around the temples there are stands selling cheaper meals for anything between 8,000 – 13,000 KHR.
Transportation – Tuks Tuks oh the tuks tuks! Tuks tuks and hired drivers can be found pretty much everywhere, you can hire a car and driver, who will act as tour guide and take you all over! A good tip is to have a driver for the day when visiting the temples, they will drop you off in one end and pick you up on the other side of the temple, and drive you to the next one. A big time saver! I tried to walk and “do it on my own” in the beginning, gave up pretty quickly! Do not underestimate the size of this ancient city! A tuks tuks can cost you around 100,000 KHR per day. Make sure to get a price in advance, it’s easy to get scammed!