As you plan your trip to Cambodia, the mere thought of visiting the iconic Angkor Wat temple probably fills you with excitement as it’s the highlight of any Cambodia itinerary. For us, visiting Angkor Wat was like a dream come true—a major bucket list item, you could say. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint! Stepping into this ancient marvel felt like stepping back in time, with 900 years of history unfolding before our eyes. Angkor Wat isn’t just a single sight; it’s an expansive complex comprising hundreds of temples & ruins, each telling its own story and contributing to the rich tapestry of Khmer culture.

Exploring Angkor Wat is an adventure like no other, but it’s essential to be prepared. From the iconic Bayon and Ta Prohm temples to the lesser-known gems scattered throughout the complex, our comprehensive travel guide is here to ensure your visit goes seamlessly. Whether you’re seeking information on Angkor Wat tickets, the best time to visit, or navigating the vast Angkor Archeological Park, consider us your trusted Angkor Wat companions.

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Complete Travel Guide to Visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia

VISA | Cambodia requires a visa for citizens of certain countries. Make sure to check the visa requirements on ivisa.com for your nationality before you go.

TRAVEL INSURANCE | Consider getting travel insurance from Heymondo when traveling to Cambodia. It’s our top recommendation for comprehensive and trustworthy coverage. Get 5% OFF through our link.

STAY CONNECTED | Buy a SIM CARD at the airport the moment you arrive or get an E-sim with Airalo to secure reliable internet access in advance.

HOW TO GET THERE | Discover the best flight deals to Cambodia on Skyscanner

GET AROUND | Download the Pass App, a ride-hailing app, to order a tuk-tuk or taxi to get around Siem Reap.

ACCOMMODATION | Browse Booking.com to discover budget-friendly hostels and hotels.

TOURS & ATTRACTIONS | For booking the best & cheapest city tours and day trip excursions, check out GetYourGuide or Viator.

TRANSFERS | Ready to travel to your next destination in Cambodia? Book your bus or train tickets via 12go.

Essential facts you need to know about visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Practical information and travel tips for planning your trip to Cambodia & Angkor Wat

When planning your trip and researching visiting Angkor Wat, you might come across terms like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Angkor Complex. Understanding the distinction between these names is essential to navigate the vast historical site effectively.

Angkor Wat, though commonly used to refer to the entire complex, is, in fact, just one temple nestled within the expansive Angkor Archaeological Park. This park encompasses over 1000 temples, varying from modest ruins to grandiose structures, with Angkor Wat as its centerpiece. As the largest religious monument globally and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat stands as Cambodia’s cultural emblem. Constructed in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, it was originally dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu.

Expanding beyond Angkor Wat, the Angkor Complex comprises the entirety of the ancient city, spanning approximately 400 square kilometers. This area served as the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th century, housing not only Angkor Wat but also numerous temples and ruins.

Angkor Thom, on the other hand, specifically denotes the ancient royal city that acted as the Khmer Empire’s capital during the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Enclosed by walls and moats, Angkor Thom features five ornate gates adorned with statues of deities and demons. Within its confines lies a plethora of temples and architectural wonders, including the renowned Bayon Temple, famed for its multitude of stone faces.

To summarize, when planning your visit to Angkor Wat, remember that Angkor Wat itself is just one part of the larger Angkor Archaeological Park. Additionally, the Angkor Complex encompasses both Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, along with various other temples and structures scattered throughout the area.

The Angkor Wat Archeological Park complex lies approximately 15 minutes northwest of Siem Reap’s city center in Cambodia. Siem Reap boasts its own international airport (REP), facilitating convenient access for travelers arriving from Phnom Penh or other major cities across Southeast Asia. AirAsia stands out for its extensive network and competitive fares, making it a preferred choice for many. To uncover the best flight options, we recommend using Skyscanner, a reliable platform for comparing flight prices and discovering optimal routes.

If you prefer overland travel, buses offer a comfortable and budget-friendly option. Giant Ibis, known for its reliability and affordability, operates multiple daily services from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The journey typically spans around 6 hours, with scheduled stops for refreshments and restroom breaks along the way. For travelers originating from Thailand, Giant Ibis also offers routes departing from Bangkok, with a journey time of approximately 7-8 hours. Securing your bus tickets is made easy through online booking platforms like 12GO.Asia.

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How to get to Siem Reap in Cambodia

If you’re planning on visiting Angkor Wat, the city of Siem Reap makes for the perfect base, situated just south of the complex. Accommodation options in Siem Reap cater to every budget, particularly around the vibrant Pub Street area downtown. Here are our top picks for where to stay when visiting Angkor Wat:

LUXURY | Angkor Village Hotel – Featuring stunning Khmer architecture and lush gardens, this hotel offers a refreshing swimming pool, on-site dining, and spacious rooms with serene garden views. Convenient amenities include tour bookings and rentals, with city attractions nearby.

MID-RANGE | Golden Temple Retreat – Just a stroll away from Pub Street and Old Market, this retreat welcomes guests with personalized touches and luxurious amenities. Ground-floor rooms offer private porches and direct pool access, ideal for unwinding after sightseeing.

BUDGET | Khmer House Boutique – Spacious, clean rooms with balconies await at this boutique hotel. Guests can relax by the pool and enjoy a delicious a la carte breakfast, while attentive staff enhances the overall experience.

HOSTEL | Bokre Angkor Hostel – Offering excellent value for money, this hostel boasts comfortable beds, a pleasant common area with a pool, and friendly staff ready to assist with any queries. With convenient facilities and services like laundry and tour bookings, it’s a budget-friendly choice for travelers.

Practical information and travel tips for planning your trip to Cambodia & Angkor Wat

Cambodia experiences a tropical climate characterized by warm temperatures year-round, coupled with periods of rainfall.

When planning your trip to visit Angkor Wat, aim for the dry season, spanning from November to April. During this period, rainfall is minimal, with December and January offering the most pleasant weather conditions—lower humidity and cooler temperatures. However, note that the peak season from January to March typically brings larger crowds.

For a more tranquil experience, consider visiting at the beginning or end of the dry season or during the rainy season from June to October, when tourist numbers thin out. Keep in mind that navigating outdoor activities, such as witnessing the Angkor Wat sunrise, can be challenging during the monsoon months due to heavy rainfall.

Irrespective of your chosen month, kickstart your day early to beat the scorching mid-day heat. Early mornings provide optimal lighting for photography and offer a quieter ambiance for exploration. However, be prepared for the crowds if you plan to witness the iconic sunrise at Angkor Wat. After a morning of temple hopping, retreat to your hotel to relax or take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool during the peak heat hours. Later in the afternoon, venture out for further exploration of temples or indulge in activities around the bustling city of Siem Reap.

TIP | Ensure you obtain your visa before embarking on your Cambodia trip!

Best time to visit Cambodia to explore the temples of Angkor Wat

How many days do you need to visit Angkor Wat?

In our experience, trying to see everything in the Angkor Complex in just one day isn’t realistic or advisable. To truly appreciate this ancient site, you’ll want to take your time and immerse yourself in this amazing World Wonder! Setting aside at least three full days lets you explore at a relaxed pace, giving you the chance to discover some of the lesser-known spots along the way. And if you’re into history and ancient ruins, there’s plenty to keep you intrigued, making the seven-day pass something to think about.

From a practical standpoint, the Cambodian heat can be quite intense. After visiting about five temples, fatigue and dehydration can become significant factors. So, it’s smart to spread out your visits over a few days and save some afternoons for relaxing by the pool or checking out other activities in Siem Reap and its surroundings.

While it’s technically feasible to cram the highlights of Angkor Wat into a single day, it’s not the most optimal choice unless you’re constrained by time or budget. Opting for the three-day Angkor Pass allows for a more relaxed pace of exploration, ensuring you can fully absorb the splendor of this ancient site. Further details on pass options are provided below!

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Buddhist Monks at the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

To gain entry to the Angkor Temple Complex, you’ll need to purchase an Angkor Pass. There are three different day pass options available for visiting Angkor Wat, each tailored to suit varying durations of exploration. Please note that the prices listed below are for foreign visitors.

Here are the current ticket options and prices:

  • 1-day ticket – $37
  • 3-day ticket – $62. This pass remains valid for 10 days and can be used on three separate, non-consecutive days.
  • 7-day ticket – $72. Valid for one month, this pass allows for exploration on seven non-consecutive days.

BUDGET TIP | As you can see, opting for a 3-Day Pass is more cost-effective if you plan to spend two days exploring Angkor Wat, compared to purchasing two separate 1-Day passes.

Additional Information about the Angkor Pass

IN PERSON – Tickets for visiting Angkor Wat are available for purchase at the Pass Ticket Counters, situated slightly off the main route to the Angkor Archaeological Park. Please note that queues at these counters can become lengthy, particularly during peak hours. Ticket sales commence promptly at 5 am each morning, making it convenient to secure your pass before embarking on your sunrise adventure at Angkor Wat.

Alternatively, you can opt to purchase your tickets the evening before your visit. Tickets bought after 5:00 pm are valid for use on the following day, although it’s essential to note that the ticket office closes at 5:30 pm. Payment for your Angkor Wat pass can be made using either cash or a credit card.

IMPORTANT | Ensure that your shoulders and knees are adequately covered when purchasing your ticket in person. Failure to do so may result in denial of entry. (See Dress code below)

ONLINE – Excitingly, there’s now the option to purchase tickets online in advance and have them sent directly to your phone. This streamlined process eliminates the need to wait in long queues, offering a hassle-free experience. Simply display your digital ticket on your phone upon arrival—no printing required. If you choose to purchase tickets online through the official Angkor Ticket Office (Angkor Enterprise), you’ll pay the same price as you would in person. Additionally, you will have to upload a photo for your online ticket, as it will be attached to your virtual pass.

NOTE | Ensure you carry your (online) ticket with you at all times, as there are multiple checkpoints throughout the area where tickets are routinely checked. Substantial fines are imposed for individuals found within the park without a valid ticket!

Bayon (the face temple), must-visit temples angkor wat, siem reap, cambodia

What are the opening hours of the Angkor Wat ticket office?

The Angkor Wat ticket office officially operates from 5 am to 5:30 pm daily. However, ticket agents typically commence ticket sales as early as 4:30 am, allowing visitors to secure their passes before the sun rises. Arriving even earlier ensures you can secure a prime spot for sunrise viewing.

Where can I find the Angkor Wat ticket office?

The Angkor Wat ticket office is located a short distance outside of town, so it’s advisable to allocate ample time for your journey and ticket purchase on your first day. Make sure to inform your driver in advance about your need to purchase a ticket.

What is the average wait time to purchase tickets for Angkor Wat?

As expected, there’s a significant influx of tourists purchasing tickets for Angkor Wat every morning at 5 am. Fortunately, with over 20 ticket windows available, the wait time is typically minimal, ranging from 5 to 10 minutes.

TOP TIP | In conclusion, to avoid all the above hassle, simply purchase your Angkor Pass online.

Angkor Archaeological Park Opening Hours

GOOD TO KNOW | You have the flexibility to enter and exit the Angkor Archaeological Park as many times as you wish throughout the day. Feeling tired and sweaty after a morning of exploration? No worries! Head back to your hotel, relax by the pool, catch a quick nap, and return to the park rejuvenated when you’re ready to continue exploring.

Preah Khan, temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

The Angkor Wat temple complex is located about 6km north of Siem Reap town. It usually takes around 15 minutes by car or 20 minutes by tuk-tuk to get there, depending on traffic. Despite its vast size, many visitors underestimate just how big Angkor Wat is!

Spanning 400 square kilometers, including plenty of forested areas, the complex has temples scattered quite a distance apart. This means you won’t be able to see everything in just one day. If you’re not booking a guided tour, there are several ways to get around the Angkor Wat temple complex: by bus, private car, bicycle, scooter, or tuk-tuk.

Tuk-tuks are a popular choice for exploring Angkor Wat. We thought it was really enjoyable riding in an open-air vehicle from one spot to another. You can arrange a tuk-tuk through your hotel or haggle with a driver on the street. Prices may vary depending on the tour circuit and whether you want to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Generally, expect to pay between US$15-25 for the day. A tuk-tuk can usually accommodate up to four people, and they often provide complimentary cold water.

Here’s a breakdown of estimated tuk-tuk prices:

  • $15 for the Small Circuit Tour Scenic Route
  • $18 for the Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour with the Small Circuit Route
  • $18 for the Grand Circuit Tour Scenic Route
  • $25 for Temples Outside of the Grand Circuit (like Banteay Srei)

Your tuk-tuk driver will pick you up at your hotel at an agreed time and take you between temples. They’ll drop you off on one side of larger temples and pick you up on the other. For smaller sites, they’ll wait for you until you’re ready to move on. Down below we go more into detail about each route, obviously, these routes are customizable and you can discuss alterations with your tuk-tuk driver.

  • If you prefer a more comfortable ride with air conditioning, you can rent a private driver for the day
  • Bicycle rentals are cheaper at around $4 per bike for the day, but keep in mind that exploring the expansive grounds in the Cambodian heat can be challenging.
  • Renting a scooter is another option for speed and convenience, especially if you want to explore independently. 
  • For those interested in an organized guided tour experience, a two-day tour of Angkor typically covers the small and big circuit tours, ending at Banteay Srei outside the complex. This tour includes an English-speaking guide and transportation via an air-conditioned private car with hotel pick-up and drop-off.

We want to emphasize that booking a tour is not a necessity to visit and explore Angkor Wat. It’s entirely possible to experience Angkor Wat independently by arranging transportation to visit the temples. That’s exactly what we did because we wanted to enjoy the temples peacefully, at our own pace. Of course, if you wish, you can always hire a guide on the spot to spend a few hours learning more about the history and then continue exploring on your own. Whether or not you decide to hire a tour guide for your visit to Angkor Wat is entirely a personal choice.

For those who are history buffs and eager to delve into the historical, architectural, and cultural aspects of Angkor Wat, we highly recommend hiring a guide. A knowledgeable guide can greatly enrich your experience by revealing the secrets of the temples. Guides can be found through platforms like Viator or arranged through your hotel when booking circuit tours directly. You can even find guides available at the entrance of Angkor Wat itself. However, don’t expect your driver to serve as a substitute for a tour guide. While most drivers may speak basic English and offer some information, their primary role is to transport you from one location to another.

Visiting Angkor Wat - Tour Routes - The Small Circuit & The Grand Circuit

When visiting Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, you’ll often come across the terms “small circuit” and “big circuit” tours. These refer to the two most common routes around the temple complex, which also include other temples covered by the Angkor Wat Pass. While these routes are well-established, they’re also highly adaptable, especially when you hire your own tuk-tuk driver or book a private tour.

Before you commit to a tuk-tuk or private tour, make sure to discuss any changes you want to make to the standard routes. This ensures you get to see the Angkor temples you’re most interested in. Having these discussions upfront helps avoid surprises later, like unexpected costs or missing out on a temple you were excited to explore.

Explore the temples of Angkor Wat, best things to do in Siem Reap Cambodia

If you opt for the Small Circuit Tour, you can expect to pay around $15 to $18 for a tuk-tuk driver for the day, or around $70 for a guided air-conditioned car. The price varies depending on whether you include Angkor Wat for sunrise, with departure typically around 4:30 am. This tour route covers the major highlights of the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, making it ideal for those with limited time in the park.

The Small Circuit Tour includes several key attractions:

Banteay Samre, more remote located temple outside the main Angkor Wat temple routes in Cambodia

The Grand Circuit Tour will cost you approximately $18 to $20. This route takes you to the outer edges of the park, allowing you to explore a few of our favorite temples like Ta Som and Preah Khan. Since these temples are located further away, the price is slightly higher due to the additional petrol needed for the tuk-tuk ride. If you have extra time in Siem Reap, we highly recommend doing both tours, as all the temples in the park are truly spectacular! The temples listed below in Angkor are usually less crowded with tourists compared to those on the Small Circuit. We often found ourselves having some of these temple sites almost entirely to ourselves, which truly added to the enchantment of our experience!

Here are some highlights of the Grand Circuit Tour:

When planning your attire for a visit to Angkor Wat, it’s crucial to remember that many of the temples hold significant religious importance. Therefore, it’s essential to dress modestly out of respect. This means wearing clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, regardless of your gender. Avoid anything too revealing or tight to show respect for the site’s cultural importance. Remember, they might even check your outfit at the entrance, so it’s best to adhere to the dress code from the start as guards might refuse your entry.

Given the intense heat and humidity, comfort is key when choosing your Angkor Wat attire. Opt for loose, lightweight fabrics to keep cool, and don’t forget to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.

And since you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Sandals might not be the best choice, as the temple grounds can be uneven and slippery, posing a risk of discomfort or accidents.

What To Bring With You To Angkor Wat

When gearing up for your Angkor Wat adventure, it’s crucial to pack a few essentials in your daypack:

  • Water: Stay hydrated as you explore under the scorching sun.
  • Daypack: Bring along a comfortable backpack to carry your belongings, snacks, and water.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the intense sunlight during your full-day exploration.
  • Sunglasses and Hat: Shield your eyes and face from the glaring midday sun.
  • Bug Repellent: Don’t forget this essential item, especially if you plan on catching the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
  • Cash: Bring some cash for food purchases at the park’s stalls and restaurants, as well as for tipping your guide or driver.
  • Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer: Keep your hands clean and refreshed, especially after a dusty tuktuk ride or when enjoying a snack.
  • Power Bank: Ensure your phone or other gadgets stay charged throughout the day with a portable power bank.
  • Camera: Capture all the unforgettable moments of your Angkor Wat experience. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries to avoid missing any photo opportunities.
Neak Pean, the water temple, unique at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Dress Respectfully: Remember to dress appropriately by covering your chest, shoulders, and knees when visiting temples in Angkor Wat.
  • Currency: Note that US currency is commonly used in Cambodia, so be prepared to pay in dollars during your visit.
  • Drone Regulations: Flying drones at the Angkor temple complex requires a permit, which can be difficult to obtain. Respect the regulations and refrain from flying drones without proper authorization.
  • Plan Ahead: Decide which temples or routes you want to explore, book tours or guides in advance, and consider purchasing your tickets online to save time.
  • Negotiate with Tuk-Tuk Drivers: If hiring a tuk-tuk for transportation, negotiate the price with the driver beforehand or arrange the service through your hotel. Prices are often standardized, but it’s still wise to confirm.
  • Stay Hydrated: With the sweltering heat, it’s essential to keep hydrated. Carry plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Expect to do a lot of walking, so ensure you wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support for your feet.
  • Bring Snacks: Consider bringing along some snacks for the journey. Many hotels offer breakfast boxes for those heading out early for the Angkor Wat sunrise tour.
  • Arrive Early: Beat the heat by arriving at the park early, preferably before sunrise. This allows you to enjoy the serenity of the temples before the influx of visitors.
  • Expect Crowds at Sunrise: Keep in mind that sunrise at Angkor Wat is a popular attraction, so expect crowds. Don’t be surprised if you’re not the only one there.
  • Flexible Access: You can enter and exit Angkor Wat as many times as you like throughout the day, giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
Best preserved temple in Angkor Wat Complex, Banteay Srei in Siem Reap Cambodia

TRANSPORTATION | For booking ferry, bus, and train rides online, we recommend using the website 12go. This platform has been our go-to across Asia, saving us from the hassle of queuing at travel agencies or bus stations.

ACCOMMODATION | Finding affordable places to stay in Cambodia is a breeze with Booking.com. It’s the ideal platform to discover budget-friendly hostels and hotels.

FLIGHTS | Discover the best flight deals to Cambodia on Skyscanner. We love that they highlight the days with the cheapest prices for a destination, and the ability to search by month or region for flexibility.

TRAVEL INSURANCE | When it comes to travel insurance, especially for backpacking in Asia, consider Heymondo. It’s our top recommendation for comprehensive and trustworthy coverage.

INTERNET | Secure reliable internet access for your Cambodia trip with Airalo. Simply install it on your eSIM-compatible smartphone before your journey.

TOURS & ATTRACTIONS | For the best and most affordable city tours, day trip excursions, food tours, and cooking classes in Cambodia, check out  GetYourGuide or Viator.

VISA ORGANIZATION | Before your trip, ensure you check the visa requirements for your passport nationality. Explore details on travel documents at iVisa.com.

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