Visit Angkor Wat: complete travel guide

Angkor Wat is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Cambodia. However, it is very pricey and there’s not much information out there about what’s the best way to explore this huge complex of temples. We’ve compiled all our tips after our experience to make sure you get the best value for your money when you visit Angkor Wat, and enjoy this UNESCO site, the largest religious monument in the world.

Sunrise in Angkor Wat
Sunrise in Angkor Wat

Buying the tickets

The ticket office is now located on Apsara road crossing with street 60. It’s a big building, you can’t miss it.

Tickets are available for one, two and seven days. In our opinion, a one-day ticket is enough. Unless you’re someone very interested in history or passionate about photography, or if you really want to take it easy. Actually, the one-day ticket allows you to enter the evening before after 5:30pm to watch the sunset. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing for visiting the temples and even to buy the tickets, as the may not sell them to you otherwise. Unlike in most places in Cambodia, here you CAN pay with card.

Angkor Wat ticket office
Angkor Wat’s ticket office

Prices (as of 2019)

  • One-day ticket: 37$
  • Two-day ticket: 62$
  • Seven-day ticket: 72$ (can be used 7 days during a period of 30 days)

(Free for Cambodians)

  • Ticket office opening times: 05:00 – 17:30

All tickets include a photo of yourself which is taken directly at the ticket office and printed on the ticket itself.

What to wear to visit Angkor Wat

Although it’s of general knowledge that you should have knees and shoulders covered when visiting temples, we’ve seen too many people that were not informed about this and couldn’t access some parts of the temples. However, it’s difficult to choose an appropriate clothing for visiting Angkor. It can get really hot and the visit involves a lot of walking and climbing stairs. So, you need something comfortable, loose, that covers knees and shoulders. And that looks nice on your pictures!

Our choice of clothes for visiting Angkor Wat
Our choice of clothes for visiting Angkor Wat

Our advice for female clothing would be a long or under the knees drees. It can bee a good idea to wear a dress that doesn’t cover the shoulders as to go around the temples that would be fine. BUT, be sure to bring a thin jacket or blouse to put over your dress when entering the temples. You will for sure be pulled out otherwise, we’ve seen it more than once. And using a scarf to cover your shoulders is NOT enough, we’ve also seen this. Wear comfortable shoes, but not necessarily hiking shoes. Just what you would wear for a long walking day.

For male clothing, shorts above the knees and a normal T-shirt will be fine. The code of conduct says that knees should be covered, but we’ve seen everyone wearing just normal shorts with no problem.

 

Transport

This is probably the biggest question. How to visit Angkor Wat if it’s so big, and it’s 5km away from the city centre (on a very boring road).

Here are all the options we explored and what we chose and why.

Tuk tuk

Price: 15$ for the “small circle” and 18$ for the “big circle” (the big circle includes two more of the big temples, one of them was our favourite. Go for the big one!). The price is per tuk tuk, so if you’re with a few friends you can split the cost. If you want to go for the sunset they will charge 5$ extra.

The tuk tuk will pick you up at your accommodation, take you to Angkor and stop at each temple. He will wait for you will you visit each temple and at the end bring you back to your accommodation. A tuk tuk from the city to Angkor is around 3$ each way. So 18$ for the whole day is not a bad deal.

Motorbike

Price of renting a motorbike per day: 8$

It is actually not allowed for tourists to enter Angkor by motorbike. Our friends did it and were lucky enough to not get caught. If the police stops you, the rental company will have to pick up the bike (and then you will have to deal with them), or you will pay a fine of 250$. It is a good way get around but it’s up to you if you want to risk it.

Bicycle

Price of renting a bike for 24h: between 2$-8$

If you go for this one, you’re a hero. Riding around the Angkor area can be quite nice. There are a lot of trees that create shade and the roads are in good condition. However, the road to get to Angkor and back to the city is long and boring. It’s very hot and you will also be exhausted from going up and down the temples. At least, on the road you can always find food stands and restaurants if you need to rest. If you end up really tired, you may get a tuk tuk back and put your bikes in it, but they will surely charge you more.

Two bicycles on a tuk tuk
Two bicycles on a tuk tuk

E-bike

Price of renting e-bike for 24h: 8$ – 10$

The e-bikes are like small electric scooters which are allowed in Angkor. There’s a few different companies in Siem Reap and all of them have some charging points in the city but also in Angkor. The battery lasts for around 25km, good to get to Angkor and visit some temples before you have to charge it. At the charging point they just give you a new battery so you don’t have to wait. The e-bikes of Ovelocity seemed to be good, but we didn’t try them.

Electric scooter

Price of renting electric scooter for 24h: 10$-12$

We really wanted to ride on our own around the temples. Being dependant on a driver and having someone waiting for us isn’t something we like. We also wanted to save some money but the bicycle seemed too hard with this weather and the electric bikes are a bit pricey because we would need two. The motorbike would be a great option but didn’t wat to risk it. So we finally found an option that works well for us!

So, we went for the electric scooter. It’s just a normal motorbike, but electric. Therefore, it is allowed in Angkor. And you can ride it with two people so you save money! This was the best choice for us. The battery lasts for around 35-40km and can speed up to 50km/h. We could charge it at one of the restaurants by the temples for free, just by buying a couple drinks. I think we could’ve finish the day without charging it but didn’t wat to risk it. We would really recommend this option! We rent it at Ovelocity and everything went fine.

Charging the scooter at a restaurant
Charging the scooter at a restaurant

Tip: because the renting is for 24h, we recommend to rent it around 4pm. This way you can use it to go see the sunset on that evening, and the next morning to visit Angkor Wat.

Sunset and sunrise at Angkor Wat

There’s a whole hype about the sunrise and the sunset at Angkor. They say the best spot for the sunset is the Pre Rup temple, and the best for the sunrise is Angkor Wat.

We went for the sunset at the top of Pre Rup temple. It was nice, but not from another world. And quite crowded.

Pre Rup temple after sunset
Pre Rup temple after sunset

The next day we woke up very early to be at Angkor Wat temple as soon as they open at 5am. It was pitch dark and there was already a lot of people. We found a nice spot on first line in front of the water to take nice pictures of the sun coming up from behind Angkor Wat, like everybody else. Sunrise was at 6:24am.

By 6am the place was so full of people. We already figured out that the sky was covered and there wouldn’t be a sunrise. So we left our first line spot and started visiting Angkor Wat before it got too crowded.

Big crowd waiting for the sunset in Angkor Wat
Big crowd waiting for the sunset in Angkor Wat

Our conclusion: don’t expect much. If you’re lucky and the sky is cleared it might be really nice. But there’s so many people and that makes it a bit annoying. At least for us. If I had a second chance, I would use the lovely light of the sunrise and the sunset to visit any of the other temples. They will probably be almost empty at that time!

 

Good to know

  • Angkor Wat is actually the name of the main temple of the whole Angkor complex. The ticket is quite pricey, but it allows you to enter the whole area. There are 6 big temples, but dozens of other smaller temples and sites.

 

  • You can find restaurants and food stands next to every big temple, as well as cold water and other drinks. There are even clothing stands for those who forgot to dress appropriately. The prices of the food are quite expensive (around 7$ for a dish that would cost 3$ in the city). But it’s easy to bargain. For a main, they were willing to give a free drink and a plate of fresh fruit without even asking. I would recommend taking some snacks with you and one big bottle of water. Don’t take too much water, you will have to carry it and it will get warm….

 

  • To go from one temple to another, there are roads on very good condition. In front of every temple there’s a parking area and from there you will have to walk to the temple. Sometimes a few meters, sometimes a bit longer. Visiting each temple involves a lot of stairs and walking up and down.

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  • The high price of the ticket may get you thinking if there’s a way you can avoid buying it… we were wondering as well. Is it really worth it? Is it really… necessary? Well, absolutely yes. There are check points at each entrance point, on all roads and to enter every temple. There’s no way you want to try to sneak in. And don’t try to share a ticket with someone else as they have a picture and they do look at it. It’s a lot of money, probably the most expensive entrance ticket we’ve ever paid during our world trip. But there’s no other way (unless you’re Cambodian)

 

  • There are enough places around the temples to sit on the shadow and rest. And we highly recommend you to do this. When it’s 36 degrees already at 10 in the morning is best to take it easy. Drink enough, rest, and eat.

 

  • You will take a ton of pictures! Don’t forget to charge your camera or phone!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to visit Angkor Wat. If you´re also planning on doing some adventure activities during your stay in Cambodia, check out this jungle hike in Bokor Mountain!

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