Located in Siem Reap province of Cambodia, Angkor stretches over 400 sq kilometers and is a home to hundreds of temples, lot of which are ruined, some have been reconstructed completely or partially! Angkor Complex is the legacy of the Khmer Rulers who reigned for about 600 years, one of the largest in southeast Asia. It is the largest temple complex in world and one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia! And, of course, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some tips, based on my experience and visit, to make the most out of your trip to Cambodia:
- DO NOT try to see lots of temples in one day! Reasons? It’s too tiring and you will have ‘temple-sickness’ if you visit too many in one day or a short time! You just won’t enjoy much if you just keep visiting one after another! It took centuries to build all those great sites, they deserve at least few days of your itinerary!
- Do some research online to know what are going to witness when you get there! Then decide which ticket suits you! You can get one day, two days, 3 days or 7 days tickets. 3 day ticket can be used for 3 visits over one week! Carry your ticket all the time with you. I had 3 days one!
- It’s huge and has so many fascinating stories. You do need a guide!
- Dress appropriately. Your shoulders and knees should be covered. Respect the people and their culture.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, comfy shoes, good camera, lots of water.. You need all!
- Insect repellant required only when you go for Sunrise over the Angkor Wat. Carry a torch.
- Get a Map or a guide book. It’s worth it, everything makes much more sense!
- If you start early, it will be less crowded and you can get good pictures. Ta Prohm especially has long queues for photos!!
Here’s a map…
What to see ? What to miss?
That’s a million dollar question. You can not see ALL unless you stay there for few weeks but there are few temples which are must-see!! Some suggestions based on how and what I visited:
— Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom – They are the two big ones, spend half a day to explore just these two, they are closeby. You can start this day early at 5 in the morning for a sunrise view at Angkor Wat and continue from there. Bayon Temple is another must see and can be done on the same day! Then break for lunch.
— Second half of the first day, I did Monti, Lolei and Bakong temples which are in Roulous Group of Temples. These were not in the itinerary and I did them on my own! They are one of the oldest and in the most ruined state. IMHO, visit them only if you have time because I felt I wouldn’t have missed anything if I hadn’t seen them! But then, I can say that only after I visited 🙂
— Bantaey Srei is one of the most well maintained and beautiful temple and a bit far from the Central Angkor (an hour’s drive). So first half of the second day was spent visiting this beauty! After lunch, visited THE famous tomb-raider temple Ta Prohm. Another must see!
— Third day, I took a tuk-tuk and visited some other temples of the ‘big circuit’ of Angkor! Pre Rup is a beautiful one, some steep steps! Neak Pean, in middle of a pond, is another one I loved with beautiful walkway! Ta Som is a mini jungle temple! Few people visit this one, so perfect for some nice shots!! East Mebon and Pre Rup have almost identical architecture. I only visited Pre Rup! I would recommend all these if you have time! Took me about 3.5 hours.
If you have spare time, go revisit the temples you liked the most! You will definitely find another photo spot you missed last time!
I can revisit in a heartbeat!!