Angkor Wat Travel Guide
Angkor Wat, the largest religious temple in the world, is undoubtedly one of the most stunning and awe-inspiring sites to visit! Visiting Angkor Wat complex can be overwhelming so proper preparation to visit the Angkor Wat and the rest of the Angkor temples is a must.
This Angkor Wat Travel Guide lists all the important things to get you prepared for your Angkor Temple Tour.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 1: Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Angkor Wat will depend on what matters to you most: the crowd, weather and/or prices. There are two seasons in Cambodia: the northeast monsoon that runs from December through April which will bring you a warm and dry weather but too crowded. The other one is southwest monsoon as the wind shifts into this direction bringing rainy weather that runs from May to November; you get the best prices during this season.
We visited in September and experienced some rains but it was still very warm and the weather didn’t ruin our tours; it was a lot more enjoyable exploring the temples because there were less crowds and we paid less, compared to the high season. We couldn’t have imagined visiting Cambodia any other way!
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 2: Dress Code
Temples are sacred that you need to respect regardless of your religious beliefs. Angkor Wat was the capital of Khmer Empire and remains an active spiritual site for Buddhists. Make sure to observe proper dress code to avoid getting denied entry to the temples.
If you wear shorts and T-shirts, make sure they are long enough to cover your knees and shoulders. Scarf or shawl, tank top and other revealing clothing are not allowed. So try to wear comfortable clothing for the weather but appropriate enough to show respect to the temples.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 3: Angkor Passes
Angkor Pass or ticket can only be purchased at Angkor Ticket Office located 4km away from Siem Reap (open 5am to 5:30pm). They take your photos and print them on your tickets so you can’t just buy them from anywhere at the park nor any third party agencies. The security at the gates are checking them upon entering the temples, so make sure they’re ready every time.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 4: Tours
Exploring the temples by yourself with a bicycle or motorbike is not the most convenient thing to do. You will either have to book a tour for a bus or car service or hire a tuk-tuk to get you around. If you want to save money, some tuk-tuk drivers offer service as a guide for an extra fee (at your own risk).
Try to get an overview of the city and its history beforehand which will make you understand the tour better when you get to see it for yourself. Some people just bring a guide-book with them while some are only there to take pictures. Getting an experienced and official tour guide will still be up to you but I highly suggest that you also get one who will give you more insights about the history.
We had a very knowledgeable guide who taught us everything we need to know and showed us around. He was also good at pointing us to the best spots to take photos as well as showing some funny poses. We also had plenty of quiet time to explore by ourselves. If I were to visit again, I’d still book a tour to make sure I’d have the best experience.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 6: Seeing the temples require a lot of walking… and climbing.
We were lucky our tour guide prepared cold towels and water for us every time we got into the car, sweating and trying to catch our breath after climbing the stairs and walking around the temples. Well, it was all part of the fun! Just make sure you’re ready for it especially if you have limited time.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 7: Carry some snacks to keep you energized and lots of water to keep you hydrated.
After doing a lot of walking, you’ll absolutely need an energy boost. There are plenty of food stalls outside the bigger temples that offer refreshments. If you book a tour they will usually have cold refreshing water bottles for you.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 7: Forget that Instagram goal to have “selfie with the monks.”
People highly respect monks in Cambodia and that goes the same to other countries. Politely ask permission if you want to take a picture of them. Also women are not allowed to touch them nor stay too close to them.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 8: Don’t give money to begging children.
These children don’t go to school and just live to beg from tourists instead. We all know that this is not a permanent solution to the problem. There are a couple of charities in Cambodia if you wanted to support.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 9: Bring Sunscreen
The dry season in Cambodia is very humid and it will feel a lot hotter than the forecasted temperature. Even during the rainy season the sun is still out most of the day and you want to make sure you don’t get burnt.
Angkor Wat Travel Guide No. 10: You can use your US dollar bills in Cambodia
If you have US dollars, you don’t need to change it to Cambodian Riel. They accept bills from 1 to 100 as long as they’re not dirty or torn. ATM also give the option to withdraw in US dollar.
Tip: Try to do a bit of research in advance. This will get you are familiar with the history and everything will make more sense when you get to see the temples. You’ll have a deeper understanding as your guide starts to give you more details. Our guide was really knowledgeable that made us appreciate every detail of the history and uniqueness of each temple.
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