What can I say…. It’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been! I know that almost everyone has a background of what Angkor Wat is so I will just be telling you the actual experience my friends and I had.
We woke up at 4am and from the tuk-tuk we hired from our hostel; we left at 5am. Angkor Wat is a little bit far from where we stayed. We arrived in the Angkor Wat vicinity at 530am and paid the entrance ticket.
Entrance: 20USD - 1 day visit, 40USD- 3 days visit in a week and 60USD- visit for 7 consecutive days
Children below 12 yrs old are free
Visiting Hours: daily at 530am-530pm
The ticket is valid to enter all the temples surrounding the Ankor Wat except the “Kulen” mountain and “Bengmealba” temple (as far as I can remember). Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I like how the ticket is processed since you’ll have your face in it. You will be asked to stand straight and face the small camera. Yeah, I almost forgot, always bring your passport. Before we purchased the ticket, the staff asked for it.
It was almost sunrise when we arrived in the temple and a lot of tourists were already prepared for their cameras. Most of the tourists were in the pond, waiting for the sun’s brightness. At first, I didn’t know what they do there until I lately realized that they want to get a shot of the temple’s reflection in the pond. Well, there’s never too late for someone who really wants it… I tried to have one too, before lunchtime, wehe.
Our tuk-tuk driver advised us not to buy anything outside the temple, like food or any souvenir because anything being sold is expensive. Make sure to bring a lot of bottled water and snacks (biscuits or cookies) will do in case you get hungry while touring.
Angkor Wat covered 16 hectares of land, very big and amazing! We were able to walk around the entire temple. There were only abandoned temples that are usually in ruins around the main attraction. At the back of it, we found a small cemetery and a house that we believe is where the caretakers of the temple stay. We also went up in the tower to get a better view of the surrounding area. I’m a bit scary of heights but I always try to face it since it’s the only opportunity that I have and I don’t want to waste it.
It was very hot during that day, good thing we had sunblock since using the umbrella is prohibited while going upstairs. Make sure to not to wear sleeveless, shorts or skirts above the knee because you will not be allowed to go up in the tower. We have seen a lot of tourists that weren’t allowed to go up even they have this blanket or scarf around their waists/shoulders. Just remember that, we have to respect other’s traditions especially that this place is a temple. Visitors are allowed to go up at 730am.
We were on our way to exit when we saw small cemetery with the houses where the monks live and a line of souvenir stores at the left side. The shops sell various kinds of souvenir shirts, paintings, key chains, silks, displays, clothes, etc. I bought some souvenir shirts, 3 for 5 USD (ask for a bargain). The vendors may not agree with you at first but once you walk out of their store, they’ll eventually agree with the price you offer… just be patient if you want to get a discount.
We were able to finish the sightseeing of Angkor Wat at 12nn. We were so exhausted and hungry but at the same time, very satisfied of the experience we had:)
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Before you visit the Angkor Wat and other sides, you need to possess an admission pass. You can purchased the passes at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat.
Passess are sold in one day (US$20),
3 days (US$40) valid for 1 week.
7 days (US$60) valid for 1 month.
Your face will be scanned and printed on the admission pass.
Always carry your pass/ticket when visiting the temples in Siem Reap. It will be checked upon each park enter and temples. Don't want to get arrested entry without a pass/ticket.
If you visit Phnom Kulen, Koh Ker or Beng Melea, separate entrance fees of USD20, 10 and 5, respectively..
Just like to mention it is best to go as early as possible to avoid the crowds, and even a better idea to start at TA PROHM at Angkor Thom, mainly because all the tour groups seem to visit in a specific order, so i found it particularly busy late morning, but if you go early it will be practically deserted. Ta Prohm is the ruins that have been taken over by the jungle, a real impressive sight with the roots of trees spread over the ruins. Famous for the movie "Tomb-raider"
While in Cambodia you should take the opportunity to see the Aspara Dancing and you can catch a free show every night at the Temple Bar in Pub Street. Cannot quite remember when the show begins but just enter the bar and go upstairs to where the stage is. Order a meal here, the food is delicious, i had my first Amok there and came back for more the next night. Aspara is a celestial nymph, beautiful, young, elegant and exceptional dancers who entertain the gods. Believe me, the girls wear colourful costumes and make-up while they dance slowly to the music. I took a video of the girls performing and i never get tired of watching it. DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS PERFORMANCE!!
Preah Khan is a huge, highly explorable monastic complex. Full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities. It originally served as a Buddhist monastery and school, engaging over 1000 monks. For a short period it was also the residence of King Jayavarman VII during the reconstruction of his permanent home in Angkor Thom. Preah Khan means 'sacred sword.’ In harmony with the architecturally similar Ta Prohm, which was dedicated to Jayavarman VII's mother, Preah Khan is dedicated to his father. Features of note: like most of Jayavarman VII's monuments, the Buddha images were vandalized in the later Hindu resurgence. Some Buddha carvings in the central corridor have been crudely carved over with Bodhisattvas, and in a couple of odd cases, a lotus flower and a linga. Also note the cylindrical columns on the building west of the main temple. It is one of the only examples of round columns and may be from a later period.
Intentionally left partially unrestored, massive fig and silk-cotton trees grow from the towers and corridors offering some of the best ‘tree-in-temple’ photo opportunities at Angkor. Flocks of noisy parrots flit from tree to tree adding to the jungle atmosphere. Ta Prohm is well worth an extended exploration of its dark corridors and open plazas. This temple was one of Jayavarman VII's first major temple projects. Ta Prohm was dedicated to his mother. (Preah Khan, built shortly after Ta Prohm in the same general style, was dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father.) Ta Prohm was originally constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was enormously wealthy in its time, boasting of control over 3000 villages, thousands of support staff and vast stores of jewels and gold. Of the monastic complex style temples, Ta Prohm is a superior example and should be included in almost any temple itinerary.
It was originally constructed over the site of an earlier temple, and functioned as a Buddhist monastery under Jayavarman VII. As with other works of Jayavarman VII's era, it is a tightly packed architectural muddle, which like Bayon, suffered from several changes in the plans at the time of construction. It was also built using an inferior grade of sandstone and using poor construction techniques, leading to much of the deterioration visible today. A restoration project is underway on many of the towers and corridors, and some areas are blocked off. The foundation stele of the temple has not been found so there is no record of to whom it is dedicated. The 13th century vandalism of Buddha images that is seen on many Jayavarman VII temples is quite apparent on Banteay Kdei.
Huge temple-mountain in the heart of Angkor Thom. Largely collapsed and in ruined condition, the main temple area is undergoing extensive restoration and is not open to the public. The exterior entry gate and elevated walkway are open. Note the unique animal carvings at the walkway entrance, and the large reclining Buddha on the west side, added to the temple at a much later period.
The construction of this temple mountain on Phnom Bakheng (Bakheng Hill), the first major temple to be constructed in the Angkor area, marked the move of the capital of the Khmer empire from Roluos to Angkor in the late 9th century AD. It served as King Yasovarman I's state-temple at the center of his new capital city Yasodharapura. The foundation of Bakheng is carved from the existing rock edifice rather than the laterite and earthfill of most other temples. Bakheng's hilltop location makes it the most popular sunset location in the area.
The giant stone faces of Bayon have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture. There are 37 standing towers, most but not all sporting four carved faces oriented toward the cardinal points. Who the faces represent is a matter of debate but they may be Loksvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or perhaps a combination of Buddha and Jayavarman VII. Bayon was the Jayavarman VII's state-temple and in many ways represents the pinnacle of his massive building campaign. It appears to be, and is to some degree, an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century.
Angkor Thom (Big Angkor) is a 3km2 walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian empire. After Jayavarman VII recaptured the Angkorian capital from the Cham invaders in 1181, he began a massive building campaign across the empire, constructing Angkor Thom as his new capital city. He began with existing structures such as Baphuon and Phimeanakas and built a grand enclosed city around them, adding the outer wall/moat and some of Angkor's greatest temples including his state-temple, Bayon, set at the center of the city. There are five entrances (gates) to the city, one for each cardinal point, and the victory gate leading to the Royal Palace area. Each gate is crowned with 4 giant faces.
New unique, big-stage show, unlike any other performance in Cambodia. A laser, dance and 3D spectacular, tracing the history of Angkor and the mystery of the smile of Angkor. Large comfortably air-conditioned theater. Attached restaurant. Come early for dinner and se the show starting at 7:15PM.
Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. Built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, the temple was constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman and later under Jayavarman V. Banteay Srey displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance. The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists relatively late, in 1914. The temple area closes at 5:00 PM.
Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat and an exterior wall measuring 1300 meters x 1500 meters. The temple itself is 1 km square and consists of three levels surmounted by a central tower. The walls of the temple are covered inside and out with bas-reliefs and carvings. Nearly 2000 distinctively rendered apsara carvings adorn the walls throughout the temple and represent some of the finest examples of apsara carvings in Angkorian era art. But it is the exterior walls of the lower level that display the most extraordinary bas-reliefs, depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology and the historical wars of Suryavarman II.
The northern reflecting pool in front is the most popular sunrise location. For sunrise, arrive very early, well before sunrise begins. The sun will rise behind Angkor Wat providing a silhouette of Angkor’s distinctively shaped towers against a colored sunrise sky.