Ultimate One Day Angkor Guide

Visiting the temples at Angkor Wat is an incredible experience, but at 154 mi² with over 50 temples, planning a visit to this ancient city is overwhelming. This guide is a way for me to virtually hold your hand, comfort you like a childhood blanket, and help you plan your trip.

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Click here to watch my Angkor vlog!

What is Angkor?

A lot of people call the whole complex “Angkor Wat”, but technically that only refers to one temple. “Angkor” refers to the entire 154 sq mi complex, the site of the oldest civilization in Southeast Asia, the Khmer Empire. It’s primarily temples, but a lot of people don’t realize this place used to be a city that was home to 750,000 people! The temples were inspired by multiple religions, primarily Hinduism and Buddhism.

Things To Consider When Planning Your Trip

Sunrise or Sunset

Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is the most common choice, and one I highly recommend, but it does require waking up around 4:30am.

If waking up early isn’t your thing, you could watch the sunset at Phnom Bakheng instead.

Whether you choose sunrise, sunset, or you’ve got crazy endurance and do both, be sure you give yourself enough time, because there will be lots of people doing the exact same thing!

Length of Trip

I would recommend that you start by considering what your desired trip length is and piece it together from there. For example, if you think your endurance is around 8 hours and you want to see sunset, you’ll probably want to work backwards from the time you think you’ll need to arrive at Phnom Bakheng for a good view of the sunset. Map out which temples you’re dying to see, and create your own route from there.

Our tour took 9 hours starting with sunrise at Angkor Wat and ending with Bayon. In total we toured 11 different temples.

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post
Ta Prohm
Mode of Transportation

The two main options for getting around Angkor are tuk tuks and bikes. I love biking, but I’m not going to lie – as our tuk tuk sped past bikers and my feet were enjoying a moment of rest, I was thankful I chose the first option. If we had done a 3-day pass I may have considered biking, but with a 1-day pass I highly recommend a tuk tuk because of how much energy you’ll be exerting just walking around the temples.

Ticket Office

The location of the ticket office has changed in the last few years (it’s no longer on the path to Angkor Wat), so don’t rely on older guide books or blog posts to find it. The tuk tuk drivers and hotel concierges will know exactly where to go, but if you’re navigating yourself, here’s a google map pin to help you get there.

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
A one-day Angkor pass. They print your picture on it!
Dress Code

Whatever you wear, be sure you cover your shoulders and your knees. It’ll probably be hot and humid, and depending on when you go it may rain, so try to drape yourself in cotton things and bring an umbrella.

Food and Water

There are plenty of places along the way to grab food, bottled water, cold sodas, and coconuts, so be sure you bring some cash in small bills. USD is preferred, but Khmer Riel is also accepted.



Booking.com

How To Book Your Tour

When you arrive in Siem Reap, you’ll be bombarded with drivers offering temple tours. What I’m trying to say is you can book a tour by simply walking around Siem Reap and accepting one of these drivers. My top tips for doing this: be patient, compare prices, bargain, and use your gut to determine who you can trust.

The safer option, which is exactly what we did, is to book a tour through your hotel, who will have trustworthy recommendations for tuk tuk drivers. We booked our tour through the Naga Angkor Guesthouse.

There are plenty of options for bike rentals in Siem Reap, but I would probably have gone with The White Bicycles, a non-profit that helps fund education and clean water. If you’re planning to bike, please be sure to plan your route in advance and bring a really good map!

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post
Ta Prohm

Buying Your Ticket

You have two options for when to get your Angkor Pass. The office is open from 5am to 5:30pm, but any tickets sold after 5pm are for the following day. That means you can either make the ticket office the first stop of your tour, or you can make a separate trip out to the office the evening before. I highly recommend the first option because the window of time for the latter is so short.

No matter when you head to the ticket office, be sure you bring your passport and $20 cash! Sharing a pass or not purchasing a pass is impossible because they print a picture of you on your ticket, and there are multiple ticket checkpoints.

If you’ve been to Angkor in the past, or if you’re using an old guide book or blog post – be aware the ticket office expanded and changed its location. You can use this map pin to find it, or just ask your tuk tuk driver.

Sunrise At Angkor Wat

The first time I saw Angkor Wat was as the sun was coming up on a warm day in July. It was absolutely gorgeous, and totally surreal. As calming as it is to slowly watch the details of a famous building light up, there’s a few things you should be aware of:

  1. The wake up time is insanely early.
  2. You will feel like cattle every step of the way, from buying your ticket to walking into the temple.
  3. The driving and parking is a little competitive – you’re among hundreds (maybe thousands) of tuk tuks, cars, and tourists doing the exact same thing as your group.
  4. As soon as you find a spot to sit and you start to feel calm, a vendor named Lady Gaga, 007, or Harry Potter will inevitably come up to you and tell you to come eat breakfast at their restaurant.
  5. It’s worth it.

Feelings

As an anxious girl who assumes everything is about to go wrong, I was nervous about being abandoned or ripped off by our driver, getting lost, hurting my ankles on stone ruins and not being able to see all the temples, etc. What I actually felt anxious about was completely unexpected.

Throughout our tour I was talking myself out of feeling guilty for not appreciating the experience to the fullest. I felt like no matter how hard I concentrated, I was unable to fully comprehend what I was looking at. Thinking back to this, I was probably just overwhelmed. My mind kept running in circles until I found myself unhappily exploring one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. My top tip for fellow anxious travelers is this: don’t put pressure on yourself to understand or appreciate Angkor. Stare at the beautiful carvings, touch the stone pillars, explore up and down the temples, but don’t expect certain reactions or feelings from yourself. Just let it be.

http://www.laviesanspeur.com/?p=507

Temples

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Our Route (CLICK HERE to enlarge)

Angkor Wat

The most famous temple in the Angkor complex.

Best: Awesome moat, made me feel like Indiana Jones, really grand and massive feeling, lots of monks.

Worst: Crowded, lots of vendors coming at you, heavily reconstructed.

Fun Fact: Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Yes

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Angkor Wat

Prasat Kravan

Very small brick temple.

Best: Gorgeous looking in the morning, not crowded at all.

Worst: Very, very small.

Fun Fact: This is the oldest temple we saw – it was built in 921.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? No

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Prasat Kravan

Srah Srang

Minimal stone ruins set on an ancient reservoir of water.

Best: Beautiful water view.

Worst: Very minimal, not much there.

Fun Fact: The body of water has been there for 900+ years.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? No

Banteay Kdei

A moderately sized temple in the jungle that has been left in a semi-ruined state, huge awesome trees and all.

Best: Gave me a taste of the kind of state these temples were found in back in the 19th century.

Worst: Not very many cool, historic stories about it in our guidebook even though it looks awesome.

Fun Fact: The reason it’s in such a ruined state is because it was said to have been poorly constructed.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Yes

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

A semi-ruined temple with massive, twisted old trees growing out of it. Made famous by the movie Tomb Raider.

Best: You’ve never seen anything like this before! It’s huge, it’s more natural feeling than Angkor Wat, incredible trees.

Worst: Very crowded.

Fun Fact: This was chosen to be left in its “natural” state as an example of how Angkor looked on its discovery in the 19th century. They still had to do a lot of work to clear enough vegetation to allow entrance, and to ensure the trees wouldn’t further collapse the structure.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? YES!

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Ta Prohm

Pre Rup

Moderately sized brick and sandstone temple.

Fun Fact: Cambodians believe this is where Khmer funerals took place, because “pre rup” means “turn the body”.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Unsure

East Mebon

Tall, moderately-sized, semi-ruined temple.

Best: Elephant and lion sculptures, not crowded, really tall structure.

Worst: Exhausting to hike up.

Fun Fact: This was the second oldest one we saw – built in 953.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? No

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
East Mebon

Ta Som

Very similar to Ta Prohm but a little smaller.

Best: Carved faces on the entrance and exit gates, really awesome trees, semi-ruined, not crowded.

Worst: After touring 7 other temples, it was starting to look the same.

Fun Fact: In 1998, the World Monuments Fund began funding restoration after determining the temple wasn’t safe enough for visitors.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Yes

Neak Pean

A small temple on an artificial island.

Best: Very unique, weird flooded forest on the walk to the temple.

Worst: Long walk with not much reward at the end, really strange and confusing.

Fun Fact: Designed to be a place of healing.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? No

Preah Khan

Moderately sized temple built for the king’s father.

Best: Awesome serpent sculpture, more natural looking, pretty big, historically significant.

Worst: Difficult to navigate the ground because it’s so ruined.

Fun Fact: At one point there were an estimated 100,000 officials and servants working at this temple.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Yes

Angkor Thom

A huge, ancient walled city once home to an estimated 80,000-150,000 people.

Fun Fact: This was the last, most enduring city of the Khmer Empire. One inscription inside the city walls describes the king as the groom and the city of Angkor Thom as his bride.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? Yes

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Bayon

Bayon

A massive temple with more than 200 carved stone faces.

Best: The only temple with architecture that feels almost Roman, tons of hidden passageways and rooms, lots of monks, HUGE.

Worst: Very crowded and compact, hard to get around with all the Chinese tour groups, lots of steep inclines and declines.

Fun Fact: The only temple at Angkor inspired primarily by Buddhism.

Would I Make A Point To Go Back? YES!

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about
Bayon

“You can come here and you can visit the temples and you can leave without knowing anything about Cambodia, but I just don’t think that’s right”… click here to read my Siem Reap blog post and learn about the modern reality of Cambodian people.

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,

signature

 

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about

Travel Vlogger YouTube Channel anxious girl fearless life

Travel vlogger weekly newsletter anxious girl fearless life

Pin This:

Ultimate Guide To A 1 Day Angkor Pass | travel visit plan angkor wat ta prohm temples description which ones to go to trip explore bike tuk tuk book trip how to help top tips dress code one day 1 day best temples siem reap cambodia cambodian khmer empire ancient bayon angkor thom sunrise sunset blog post history about

———
This post is part of #FlyAwayFriday:



3 thoughts on “Ultimate One Day Angkor Guide”

  • I love this! I’m always on the lookout for a good deal to Cambodia. I’d love to add it to the list of SE Asia places I’ve been able to experience. Bookmarking for the future!

  • Ahh, hi Lauren!!!!! So happy to see you on Fly Away Friday!! I’ve been loving following your adventures and YouTube videos!! Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday – see you in a few days! xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *