Cambodia has quickly became one of my favorite countries. It surprised me so much with its beauty, the kindness of its people, and the general ambience that I keep saying that everyone should visit it at least once.
One of the most stunning places to see in Cambodia is, of course, the world-famous Angkor Wat. This gorgeous temple is an absolute must-see, and no trip to Cambodia is complete without a visit there. That’s the reason why I’ve created my own list of best tips for visiting Angkor Wat to help you plan your time there better.
Now, let’s go to the list of best tips for visiting Angkor Wat that you have to know if you want to explore this magnificent ancient complex:
- Buy your tickets in advance
This is probably the most unknown but most important tip of all. They do not sell tickets for the complex near the complex itself. The ticket office where you can buy your 1-Day, 3-Day or 7-Day pass is located between Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, and its working hours are from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It’s better if you buy your ticket the day before your visit, as it will allow you to start your tour as early as possible and you won’t miss the most magical sunrise.
2. Start early
Speaking of sunrise, it was probably the highlight of the visit for me. It’s surreal to watch the beginning of a new day over such a magnificent place. You will not be alone, as it’s a very popular thing to do among tourists. However, it’s well worth it, and you should be able to find a spot/place to yourself. Even if you don’t want to watch the sunrise, still try to start early, as it will give you enough time to explore everything properly and you‘ll avoid the hot Cambodian sun that already starts burning around 11 a.m.
3. Hire a tuk-tuk driver
For me, tuk-tuk is definitely the best way to get around the complex. First of all, the complex is way bigger than it looks on the map. I didn’t realize how long the distances were until we started driving to the first temple after Angkor Wat. I don’t recommend walking to anyone. Another option you have is renting a car, which will move a little bit faster but not that much faster. Plus, switching between the cold A/C of the car and very hot weather all the time will make you feel even more uncomfortable. You’ll pay less for a tuk-tuk, and the wind will cool you down a lot. I also saw a lot of people riding bikes, which seems impossible to me, since even just walking is very tiring. I paid my driver $30, even though he only asked for $25 for the whole day and all the temples that I wanted to visit, no matter how many. The reason I gave him more was because he was the kindest person ever, and since I was traveling alone, he walked to every temple with me for 7 hours and took hundreds of amazing pictures of me.
4. Dress properly
Don’t forget that you are visiting a holy place, and being aware of that is very important. Wear proper clothes that cover your knees and your shoulders, and act accordingly while you’re there because it’s not just a beautiful tourist photo location.
5. Plan your visit
When you look at the map, you will probably be eager to visit every single temple you can find, but don’t make this mistake. Before you go, choose which temples are the most important ones for you to visit and give yourself more time to explore them. If you’re rushing from one temple to another, you’ll quickly get bored and tired because of the heat and all the walking. The day I visited, I walked 15 km, even though I used a tuk-tuk driver to get to each temple.
6. Bring water with you
Bringing water with you is always important, especially for Angkor Wat, because exploring it is good physical exercise under a very strong sun. Always stay hydrated.
Now that I’ve answered “What are your top tips for visiting Angkor Wat?” question, the second most common one that I get is:
What is the best time and season to visit Angkor Wat?
It will depend on how much heat you’re willing to handle. Of course, during winter time it will be a little bit cooler than in the summer months.
And another number one factor for me that I considered when traveling to Angkor Wat was ” When is the low tourist season in Cambodia?”
It’ll always be the best time to travel in my opinion because I prefer having a little bit of dirtier water or not that picture-perfect nature on my pictures rather than having to fight with huge crowds of tourists.
So for your question: When is the best time and season to visit Angkor Wat?
I would definitely say May or June when it’s rainy season in Cambodia because the crowds will be definitely much smaller.
Another question that probably go hand in hand with my previous answer is:
Can you visit Angkor Wat in 1 day?
I can definitely say that you can visit Angkor Wat in 1 day. That’s why below I wrote down a list of all the temples that I was able to see in one day there. So you can decide for yourself if the list is long enough for you. In my opinion, it includes all of the main and most impressive temples of the complex. Of course it’s huge and you won’t be able to explore every corner and see every detail in one day. However, especially if you’re in Cambodia during the low season and don’t have to wait around for other tourist groups, you’ll be able see a lot.
Places to visit at Angkor Wat, Cambodia:
– Angkor Wat – for the sunrise
– Phnom Bakheng – temple on top of a hill
Then we went to the east part to escape the crowds since most people go to Angkor Tom after the sunrise.
– Ta Prohm – Tomb Raider temple and probably my favorite
– Srah Srang – just a quick stop
– Pre Rup Temple – another beautiful temple which is pretty high
– East Mebon – the temple with elephant sculptures
– Ta Som – another must-see temple, has huge arches with face silhouettes on top
– Neak Pean – a small temple in the middle of an artificial island
– Preah Khan – another must-visit, also has huge trees growing out of it
– Bayon Temple – another crowd favorite with large smiling faces carved into its walls
– Baphuon Temple – you can get to the top of it for a great view
– Terrace of the Elephants – we didn’t stop there, as it was too much for me by that time, but you should still check if it’s something you would like to see
– South Gate of Angkor Tom – on our way home for a quick stop
There you have it: all the tips and information that I wish I knew before my trip. It is such a magical place to visit, and I can easily see why it’s considered such a wonder of this world. Save this post so you can access it later.