At the top of the list for pretty much every visitor to the country, the ancient temples of Angkor, near Siem Reap, are the crown jewel of the Cambodian tourist experience. Booking a tuk-tuk or a guided tour of the temples is straightforward, but navigating through the crowds and heat certainly isn’t. Here are our top 5 tips for visiting Angkor to help you get the most out of your trip.
Tips for Visiting Angkor
Tip 1: Beware of the heat!
Temperatures in the Angkor Archaeological Park are often over 40 degrees Celsius (104 F). At temperatures that high, it’s important to cover up as much as possible with loose, cotton clothing, a hat, drink plenty of water and apply (and re-apply several times) a thick layer of sunblock.
Once in the temples it’s easy to get lost in what you’re seeing and forget about the heat – please don’t ignore this. There are not many things that will ruin a holiday quite as quickly as a heat stroke.
Tip 2: Be mindful of dress codes and etiquette
Cambodia is a very modest society as it is, and the temples that you will visit are sacred places and therefore all efforts must be made to remain respectful. Women should be sure to cover up shoulders and knees and try to avoid tight-fitting clothing.
Men should do the same but they can get away without covering their knees. Whilst in the temples try to remain respectful, avoid running, shouting, loud laughter, climbing etc. Every year tourists get in trouble with law enforcement and media for causing offences at these temples – don’t be one of them.
Tip 3: Getting Around
A lot of people who visit Angkor to view the Cambodian Temples for the first time are taken aback by the sheer size of the monuments. Please be aware and wear comfortable shoes to make it easier to get around and take your time. Many of the paths are uneven and the steps are often narrow and crumbling.
Tip 4: Take your time
As previously mentioned, many of the temples in Angkor are huge and the compound consists of several hundred temples. Trying to do too much will mean that you are rushing through vast temples without fully appreciating what you’re seeing.
Combined with the heat, this could lead to you becoming ‘templed out’ quickly. It’s much better to select a few temples that you are going to fully explore than trying to see everything in 1-2 days – it simply isn’t possible unless you are planning on spending weeks there.
Tip 5: Get an early start
Many people get themselves up early and go to Angkor Wat’s West Gate to watch the sunrise and it does get crowded. From there they explore the ruins quickly before going back to their guesthouses for breakfast.
As an alternative, and a good way to avoid the crowds is to skip exploring Angkor Wat in the early hours and instead move on to the other temples like Angkor Thom first. If you’re lucky it will mean having some of these huge, ancient temples to yourself for a few hours.
You can then visit Angkor Wat around noon/early afternoon and explore this magnificent structure then. It will be hot, but it’s your best chance of avoiding the crowds.
Okay okay, we know we said 5 but we couldn’t help ourselves and here’s a bonus tip for you. Entrance tickets for a specific day to Angkor can be used with effect from 4pm the day before. If you have the time, it is well worth it to go and watch the sunset with the locals at Phnom Bakheng. Don’t worry, you will still be able to use the ticket for the whole of the following day.
You are advised to carry your ticket with you at all times. Tickets will be checked upon entry to each park and at entrance to all major temples. Failure to produce a valid ticket will carry significant fines.
Entrance tickets (called “Angkor Pass“) to visit the Cambodia temples and sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Passes can be purchased at the main entrance to Angkor Wat or check with your hotel/guesthouse for some help.
Entrance Tickets/Passes are sold in one-day (US$20), three-day (US$40) and seven-day (US$60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. Visiting hours are 5:00AM – 6:00PM.
Please note that Angkor Wat closes at 6:00PM, Banteay Srey closes at 5:00PM and Kbal Spean at 3:00PM.
As ever, if you need to book bus tickets for viewing the Cambodia Temples, please visit us at CamboTicket where we provide you with fast, easy and secure online booking options. We offer direct buses from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap and from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
In addition, should you have any questions you can contact one of our knowledgeable support team via our live chat service.