The point of departure for a visit to these temples is a very small and pleasant town of Siem Reap. Even if you are in Bangkok (Thailand), for example, you may want to consider a detour to see first hand this fabulous complex: you can get to Siem Reap with a short expensive flight or a cheap long bus trip.
Spending a couple of days in Siem Reap is highly recommended. The hostel beds start at U.S. $ 1 per night and hotel rooms from $ 4 for a double. Spending $ 10 per night, you can also find a superior hotel in the town center, or you can choose extra luxury with prices starting at$ 300 for a double room.
You can easily find complete meals for $ 2 or $ 3, while a pint of beer costs just 0.50 cents.
Which ticket should you buy to enter the complex of Angkor Wat?
There are three types of tickets: daily, 3 days and weekly.
If you are an archaeologist with a lot of spare time, you should buy a weekly ‘pass’, or at least the three days ticket, which can be used within a week.
The complex is huge, comparable to the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum, and it is impossible to see it and appreciate it fully even staying for a week.
Vice versa, if you are “normal” tourist, the ‘passes’ for a week may be too much: however, as beautiful and fascinating Angkor Wat may be, the ruins tend to be repetitive.
The best compromise?
The ‘pass’ for a day is unique, for it allows the entry to the site from as early as 5 am (before sunrise), but also with the same ticket you have access to the temples after 6pm on the previous day, just in time to watch sunset.
To take advantage of this option, it’s recommended to find a Tuk Tuk driver in the centre of Siem Reap, on the day preceding day that you plan to visit the complex: all the drivers are familiar with the visit at sunset by tourists, so they’ll pass by your hotel where you’re staying at, around 4 pm, to arrive at the entrance of the site at 4:15 pm. At this time the sale of the ‘passes’ begins, which are all personalized, with photo ID made at the time.
The sun sets between 5:45 pm and 6:30 pm depending on the time of year: following the latter advice you would arrive on the site just in time for the “golden hour”, the best time of day to take great pictures, having then another 60-90 minutes free to wander around the main temple complex.
The following day the tour begins at 5 am, when the tuk tuk picks you up at the hotel you’re staying at. Having already bought the pass the day before, you’ll avoid queuing in line at the ticket office, thus arriving on the site just in time to admire the beautiful sunrise.
Means of transportation for Angkor Wat
The temples cover a vast area, so walking is out of the question; is much better to arrang transportation in Siem Reap, choosing one from of the following options:
Bicycles: from $ 1 to $ 3 per day
Most guest houses and hotels allow free use of bicycles, or require a payment that doesn’t exceed $ 2 or $ 3 per day for renting. Definitely a fun and autonomous way to visit the complex, even if it requires effort and sweat; starting from Seam Reap, completing the circuit of the temples and returning to the city requires a whole day and about 30 km of road, in a very humid and very hot climate.
A very economic and ecological system, especially if you’re in good shape and enjoy the freedom visiting the site at your own pace.
Motorcycle taxi: from $ 6 to $ 10 per day
The motorcycle taxi is the next means of transportation: if you travel alone and do not have any problems sitting on a motorcycle saddle for several hours, with $ 6 – 10 per day you can visit the whole site.
Tuk-tuks: from $ 10 to $ 15 per day
The best saving option for groups of 2 persons is a tuk-tuk, which in Siem Reap means a trailer pulled by a motorcycle. The price for the whole day (driver included, of course) is around $ 10 – 15. All in all a means of transport convenient and economical.
Taxi: from $ 20 to $ 30 per day
Taxis in Siem Reap are all older Toyota Camry models with air conditioning and room for 4 passengers. This is obviously the most luxurious and less traditional form of transportation. Again, if you bargain hard with the driver, you can lower the price to $ 20.