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How to Plan a Trip to Angkor Wat

How to Plan a Trip to Angkor Wat

By Wendy Updated Mar. 17, 2023

Three days would be good enough to explore Angkor temple complex. On day 1, start with Angkor Wat and its nearby sites, returning to Angkor Wat for sunset. On day 2, head for the jungle temples , then see the sunset on the top temple mountain of Pre Rup. On day 3, see Roluos for some of the earliest Khmer buildings.

The following guide may help you develop your plans for visiting Angkor Wat.

When to Visit

The ideal time to visit Angkor Wat is during the dry season from November to February, which brings relatively cool weather. In this season the sky is clearer than usual, providing good opportunities for photography. As it's the peak season for tourism, however, it can be very crowded, with hordes of tourists.

Alternatively, during the rainy season from June to November, lush landscapes shimmer in the daylight. Angkor is rather wet, often with rain in the afternoons, making morning the best time to explore. It tends to be quieter then, with fewer tourists, which allows you to explore at your own leisure.

It's probably wise to avoid the hot season from March to May, to dodge the stifling heat. But if you don't mind high temperatures, the cost of accommodation is much lower at this time.

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Getting There

The easiest way to get to Siem Reap is by air. Siem Reap International Airport offers regular connections to many Asian cities, especially neighboring cities.

The airport offers a Visa-on-Arrival service

From the airport, it takes about 20 minutes by car to get to the downtown area and only 10 minutes to Angkor Wat.

Getting Around

You can travel around Siem Reap in various ways: by car, tuk tuk or bicycle.

The most comfortable and flexible way to travel is by hiring a private car with a tour guide. This can easily be arranged via travel agencies or hotels.

Tuk tuks are easy to find around the temples. They can be fun and relaxing, even if rather bumpy and, in the long run, tiring. We recommend you book a tuk tuk through your hotel, for a more reliable experience. Then you might have the same driver each day and the driver will take you wherever you want to go and wait for you outside.

If you like cycling, a bicycle can easily be rented. Otherwise, don't rent one, for riding only makes you more tired after walking through the temples.


To gain access to the Angkor complex, visitors need to buy an entrance ticket. The ticket-office is on the road from Siem Reap to Angkor.

Three types of ticket are available:

a 1-day ticket for US$20

a 3-day ticket for US$40 (valid for any three days within a week)

a 7-day ticket for US$60 (valid for any seven days within a month)

There will be a rise in price starting from 1st, February, 2017. The price will be at:

a 1-day ticket for US$37

a 3-day ticket for US$62 (valid for any three days within a week)

a 7-day ticket for US$72 (valid for any seven days within a month)

Remember to keep your ticket handy, as it will be required as you pass certain checkpoints and visit certain temples.

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Suggested Itineraries

The temple complex at Angkor is so enormous that visiting priorities are a matter for personal preference, depending on the time available. It takes about three days to see most of the important sites. But if your time is limited, it'll still be worth spending only one day in Angkor.

The following itineraries are for your consideration and stimulation. They can be adapted according to your preference. We offer tailor-made tours.

One Day

Morning: Angkor Wat (sunrise) — Bayon

Afternoon: Ta Prohm — Banteay Srei

One and a Half Days

Day 1

Morning: South gate of Angkor Thom — Bayon — Elephant Terrace — Terrace of the Leper King — Phimeanakas and the Royal Enclosure

Afternoon: Ta Prohm — Angkor Wat (sunset)

Day 2

Morning: Banteay Srei — Beng Mealea

Two and a Half Days

Day 1

Morning: South gate of Angkor Thom — Bayon — Elephant Terrace — Terrace of the Leper King — Phimeanakas and the Royal Enclosure

Afternoon: Preah Khan — Angkor Wat (sunset)

Day 2

Morning: Phnom Bakheng (sunrise) — Ta Prohm — Eastern Angkor (Prasat Kravan/Srah Srang/Thommanon/Chao Say Tevoda)

Afternoon: Banteay Srei — Beng Mealea

Day 3

Morning: Roluos

We have developed a Siem-Reap-focused package , which includes a walk with a Khmer schoolar to know the stories behind.

Photography Opportunities

Angkor Wat is renowned for the silhouette of the central sanctuary reflecting on the ponds at the west entrance. Both sunrise and sunset are great.

Phnom Bakheng is good for the spectacular panoramic views from its summit. The temple itself and its stairway also look good in pictures. It's the most popular spot for sunrise or sunset.

Bayon comprises a mass of Buddha-face towers which together create a stone mountain and provide various photographic possibilities. Early morning and late afternoon can reveal unexpected and interesting perspectives of the faces.

Ta Prohm is special for its ruins embraced by tree branches. It looks particularly peaceful in the early morning.

Banteay Srei is known for its exquisite carvings on glowing red sandstone. Early morning and mid-afternoon provide attractive lighting.

Srah Srang is a good spot for the sunrise from its landing-stage.

Continue to read Beyond Angkor Wat to know other mysterious ruins.

With a Tour Guide and a Private Car vs on Your Own

Tour guides are definitely helpful for showing you how to visit and appreciate each specific temple. They not only supply more detailed information and show you the best photo angles, but also lead you away from large groups where possible.

Otherwise, you'll find it hard to understand the temples and won't know where to begin.

A private car and driver facilitates a more comfortable and flexible experience. You'll be glad to relax in an air-conditioned car after walking a lot through temples and climbing many stairs. A private car can also facilitate any change of plans. Otherwise, you may become sweaty and stressed.

The cost per day is about US$50 for a guide and US$25 for a private car plus driver.

Where to Stay

A variety of accommodation is available, from 5-star luxury hotels to low-budget hostels. A standard room in a 3-/4-star boutique hotel costs about US$50–US$100 per room per night, while a 5-star hotel costs more than US$150 per room per night.

Best stay in downtown Siem Reap, where you can stroll around comfortably at night. It's near the Angkor complex and only a 20-minute drive from the international airport. We recommend the Sokha Angkor and Tara Angkor hotels as the best-value hotels.

Where to Eat

There is a good variety of food, Asian and European, enough to cater to all tastes. Many reasonably-priced restaurants are clustered together downtown or tucked away in the villages. Usually US$10–US$20 per person is enough for a decent meal.

If your itinerary focuses on Angkor Wat or Angkor Thom, go back downtown for lunch. If you head further afield, to Banteat Srei for example, you'll probably enjoy lunch at one of the wooden-built restaurants in the village.

Just don't frequent the restaurants in the Angkor area, as they're often expensive and the food is not quite so good.

Where to Drink

You may find some vendors in the Angkor area serving bottled water, fresh coconut and soft drinks at about US$1 or US$2 per drink. For other drinks, go back downtown.

Currency and Prices

Though the Cambodian currency is the riel, most transactions can be made in USD. You can obtain cash from a bank or an ATM downtown, but not in a rural area.

The tourist industry in Siem Reap is undergoing a phase of rapid development, with accommodation and restaurants to suit various budgets. Tours are also easily arranged.

The cost of a budget trip is around US$60-100 per day, a mid-range trip about US$120-150 per day, and a luxury trip over US$180 per day. The main difference in cost lies in the different hotels. These prices include day-trips, hotels and food.

Health and Safety Considerations

Most visitors, with the exercise of everyday common-sense and caution, will have a safe and healthy stay in Siem Reap. We still advise you to buy comprehensive travel insurance before setting off.

Consult your doctor before traveling for suggestions about vaccinations and medical care. As malaria sometimes arises in Angkor, you'll probably need to take a prophylactic.

To avoid dehydration caused by the heat, bring bottled water on outings, and wear a hat and cool clothing.

To avoid scams, don't go to remote areas or accept invitations to strangers' homes. Choose standard hotels, rather than unreliable hostels. To preempt being robbed, don't wear too much jewelry and leave valuable items in your hotel safe.

Continue to read:

How to Appreciate Angkor Wat

Know Before You Visit Angkor Wat

Visit Angkor Wat with Asia Highlights

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