4 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Angkor Wat
Bucket List Worthy Hot Travel Tips Travel Hacks
Angkor Wat is a bucket-list destination for many travellers. At 162.6 hectares, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor complex is the world’s largest religious monument, but you don’t have to be Buddhist to appreciate it. The park, which contains the ruins of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, also includes dense forest, countless sculptures and several famous temples, which give insight into the years surrounding the empire and its characteristic architecture.
It’s no wonder roughly 1 million people visit Angkor Wat and the Angkor complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia every year. However, not all of those visitors know the dos and don’ts of visiting such a highly regarded Buddhist complex. From what to wear (I learned the hard way) to how to plan your visit, these five tips will help you make the most of your visit to Angkor Wat.
1. Dress Appropriately
Cambodia is hot, which is what makes dressing appropriately for a visit to Angkor Wat difficult for travelers who aren’t used to the heat and humidity. It’s essential to wear a top that covers your shoulders and pants or a skirt that extend below the knee. Don’t be too upset if you forget your long pants, as there are a number of vendors selling t-shirts and trousers on-site. I ended up with a brand-new “I Love Cambodia” t-shirt, because I forgot to pack proper attire. Sarongs also serve as great shoulder covers for those who prefer a lighter alternative to a t-shirt or long-sleeve top.
2. Hire a Tuk Tuk Guide
You don’t need to go to a travel agency and spend an outrageous amount of money on a guide for your trip to the Angkor complex. Simply hail a tuk tuk from your hotel in Siem Reap, and they will likely offer to give you a tour of the complex. Negotiate a price ahead of time, and enjoy a relaxing, informative and affordable tour of one of the world’s most bucket-list-worthy religious sites. Don’t forget to bring extra cash for tips, souvenirs and buying water for yourself and your guide when needed.
3. Buy a Three Day Ticket
You won’t be able to see all of the temples, Tomb-Raider-like ruins and statues you see in the guidebooks in a single day at the park. And you’ll probably get too hot and sweaty after just a few hours of exploring. Instead of risking heat exhaustion, purchase the $93 AUD ticket for three non-consecutive days in one week, or buy separate one-day $48 AUD passes each day you visit. You’ll need at least two days with your tuk tuk guide to experience the Angkor Wat you’ve been dreaming about. In fact, you could spend months in Siem Reap without seeing it all.
4. Don’t Skip Small Temples
Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm are a few of the most storied and photographed temples within the Angkor complex. But that often means they’re loaded with tourists, making them slightly more difficult to enjoy (and snap quality photos of) than the site’s lesser known temples. Spend some time wandering in the woods or have your guide direct you to smaller temples, and you’ll be wowed by how many ancient structures go unnoticed by most tourists. These are the places where you’ll feel most in touch with the ancient history and beauty of Angkor.