Angkor Wat is the largest and most famous of the 100’s of temples that are located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, which spans an area of some 400 sq km. Beyond the ability to explore the iconic Angkor Wat, there are plenty of other temples throughout the complex that are worth visiting. However, not all of the temples are in a sound state of repair, but visitors today can expect to see a solid 20 or more worthwhile sites to stay interested on the Cambodia tours.
Here is our guide to visiting the Angkor temples:
In order to enter the Angkor Archaeological Park to see the ancient temples it is necessary to buy an Angkor Pass, which can last for a period of 1 day, 3 days or 7 days. A single ticket is intended to give access to all the Angkor temples in the park. The latest prices for 2017 are: $37 for a 1 day pass; $62 for a 3 day pass; and $72 for a 7 day pass.
The ability to use the Angkor Pass is relatively flexible. For instance, a 3 day pass can be used on any 3 days within the seven day time-frame of the pass. Also, it is necessary to take along country ID or your passport when purchasing your Angkor Pass. The ticket office for purchasing the pass is just off of Apsara Road, NE of Siem Reap.
How many days do I need?
The preferred time-frame to explore the Angkor Archaeological Park is typically the 3 day pass which gives more than enough time to navigate the most popular temples and attractions in the park. The 1 day pass is ideal for those short on time or only wishing to see one or two of the main temples, while the 7 day pass is only likely to appeal to the massive Khmer temple fans that wish to slowly take in the ancient structures.
How to tour the temples
Many visitors to the Angkor temples are likely to be staying in one of Siem Reap’s many hotels and guest houses. It is a lively tourist town that is set up to accommodate the two million plus people visiting the temples on an annual basis.
Siem Reap is located about 6km from the main Angkor Wat temple with the other temples in the park at varying distances from each other. There is quite a distance between the temples, so it isn't a practical option to walk around the park, especially if planning to explore several on the same day.
One of the most popular ways to get around is by tuk-tuk. They are easily booked for the day at your hotel or organised yourself out on the streets. The cost is in the region of $15-$17 for the day to explore several of the main temples on the tourist route. A guided tour on the tuk-tuk also means you get recommendations on temples to visit and places to stop to eat and drink. They wait outside the gates of the temples and are always ready to whisk you off to the next site.
Other practical options to travel to the different temples is to hire a bicycle at approx $5 per day. This is ideal for those feeling fit on the Cambodia tour packages, and are widely available at most hotels and guest houses in town. But, it is useful to take along a high-quality lock because the bike will be left unattended every time you enter the ancient temples. Also, for the travellers that want the solo, but less strenuous way to get around, motorbike travel is a popular option.
When is it best to visit?
The Cambodia climate and weather can vary significantly with the seasons. A great time to visit Angkor and explore the temples is the start of the rainy season which runs from June to August. Even though there is the risk of afternoon showers, the actual touring experience is much more enjoyable at this time with cooler temperatures and a lot less foot traffic. Also, the surrounding jungle is at its most green and lush.
The peak travel season is November to March with the dry, cool weather, but the temples get extremely packed at this time. If touring the temples with an English-speaking guide, they will be able to give guidance on the best times to visit the different temples.
What is appropriate to wear?
Proper respect must be given when visiting the Angkor temples. Tourists should comply with the guidance noted on the admission tickets which states the knees and shoulders should be covered. This rule can be enforced by the guards that are seen throughout the park complex. A simple light shirt or t-shirt with shorts or a skirt that falls below the knees is enough. Also, this extra layer of clothing will give useful sun protection and minimise the risk of burnt shoulders by the end of the day.
The preferred footwear is sturdy closed toe sandals or a decent pair of trainers. There are plenty of uneven surfaces and walking to be done in the park, so you want to keep your feet comfortable.
Food and Drink
Refreshments are easily found outside the main entrances to many of the larger temples, so there is little need to worry about meal time.
Most of the food stalls are quite basic, but still serve the delicious servings of rice and noodle dishes. Plus, the liquid refreshments include fresh juices, smoothies, and coconuts, as well as bottled and canned drinks. Most of the dishes cost in the region of $4-$6, while a large bottle of water is $1. Also, for the sit down environment, there are a few restaurants in the park with meals starting at around $5.
An alternative option is to shop in one of the many stores in Siem Reap to organise your own packed snacks and drinks.