angkor wat
Asia,  Cambodia,  Travels

Angkor Wat and Angkor in Cambodia – practical advices

Angkor Wat is the main attraction of Cambodia. Angkor is the ruins of a medieval city in Cambodia. The city was built between the IX and XV centuries. In its heyday, the city had up to about a million inhabitants and at that time it was the largest agglomeration in the world. In the fifteenth century, it was abandoned, but no specific reason has been established why. There is talk of a crop failure, a poor sewage system or the invasion of the Thais. The Angkor complex is located on a vast area of over 400 km2.

Angkor Wat – Practical information

Tickets can only be purchased on site at Angkor Park Pass Ticket Counters and cost respectively:

  • Day ticket – $37
  • Three-day ticket – $62
  • Seven-day ticket – $72

It is worth knowing that a three-day ticket can be used within 10 days of purchase, and a seven-day ticket within a month.

If you buy a one-day ticket, it is worth buying it the day before. A ticket bought the day before after 5 p.m. is valid from the moment of purchase, that is, we can watch the sunset on the same day. Here I recommend, for example, the temple of Pre Rup or a little less scenic lake Srah Srang. Details of the opening of individual temples can be found here.

Tickets should always be at hand, because several times we will have to show them to the guards.

How to visit the Angkor temple complex?

It is best to move around the area with a rented tuk tuk or bicycle if we are not afraid of driving several dozen kilometers in 30-degree heat ;). However, wanting to have independence and watch as much as possible on a one-day ticket, I chose the option with a tuk tuk (the cost of a full-day tour including sunrise and sunset should be approx. 20-25 USD).

I also saw tourists riding scooters, although officially in Angkor vehicles with an engine can only be driven by Khmer.

Below is the plan of a day trip.

Angkor Wat – sunrise

The pearl of Angkor is, of course, Angkor Wat – the largest temple, under which tourists gather at dawn to see (and of course take a picture) the sun emerging from behind the building. The frontal side of Angkor Wat faces west. Thanks to this, it is possible to admire this beautiful spectacle of nature and human work at sunrise. It is worth getting up earlier, so that just after opening you enter the temple. I got there around 5 am and took my place by the pond, but 10 minutes later there was a small crowd of people behind me.

After sunrise, we can go to visit the temple.

Ta Phrom – Tomb Rider Temple

Another most famous temple after Angkor Wat is Ta Prohm – a temple devoured by the jungle. It was made famous by the film starring Angelina Jolie – Lara Croft: Tomb Rider. Several meters of trees, whose roots are overcovered by walls and temple buildings make an amazing impression. I must admit that this is my favorite temple on the list. It is worth coming here immediately after the opening, when there are not yet a large number of tourists, especially tour groups.

Angkor Thom – a medieval city

From Ta Phrom we can go to the northwest, on the way seeing several smaller temples. We enter Angkor Thom through the eastern gate. Sightseeing is best to start from Bayon. It is a multi-storey Buddhist temple in which 216 faces are engraved. It is estimated that until today there are about 200 of them left there.

From Bayon on foot we can go to the sights of Angkor Thom, such as:

  • Elephant terrace
  • Baphuon
  • Royal Palace – Phimeankas
  • This Pranam
  • Preah Palilay

Preah Khan – respite in the shadows

Bearing in mind that hours by hour it gets warmer on the hottest afternoon, I chose the Preah Khan temple. It is located in the forest and shaded by trees. And it is worth to look here and walk through the ruins of the temple corridors. Preah Khan is very extensive, we will not find places to climb here. In several places, as in Ta Phrom, we can see trees growing into the walls of the temple. It is definitely worth a look here, especially since in the afternoon there are not too many tourists here.

Phnom Bakheng – sunset

The most popular point to watch the sunset in Angkor is Phnom Bakheng. Before going up, we can buy a fruit sheikh in one of the local food stalls. In the temple there is a limit of visitors up to 300 people, so it is worth being here earlier and not standing in line on the stairs (I was around 16 when the sun set around 18). At the top, after visiting the temple, we can sit in the shade and calmly wait for the west.

Pre Rup – sunset

As I wrote above, buying a one-day ticket the day before we have access to the Angkor complex for sunset. Here I would recommend to drive to Pre Rup. We will certainly not be stuck in the queue to the top, and nice views await us.

Summary – Angkor Wat, is it worth it?

All in all, Angkor is Cambodia’s landmark and a place worth visiting when we’re in the area. For me, a one-day ticket was enough, but if we want to go sightseeing calmly and more thoroughly, it is worth considering a multi-day ticket.

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Hi! My name is Zuzanna, I am from Poland. I love traveling, hiking and doing yoga. Spain is my favorite destination, I walked several Camino de Santiago roads there. I created this blog to share my travel experiences.