"Angkor Wat is the Largest Wat (Temple) in a City of Temples"
This Angkor Wat page is not just a great starter page for travelers heading to the Angkor Ruins in Cambodia.
This was once one of the largest cities in all of South Asia at the peak of its Glory. There are miles more to see amongst the Angkor ruins than just Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm.
Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm are a sight to behold, especially for people interested in Ancient Khmer Architecture. Recently, tourists have gone missing amongst the ruins of this once mighty Khmer city.
The area was once a final stronghold to the Khmer Rouge under the command of Pol-Pot. Landmines once littered the area so it is always advised to stay on well-worn trails.
They don't bother looking for lost souls amongst the temples anymore. They fear the bite of the famous 'Centipede of the Angkor ruins' which paralyzes you in minutes and kills moment later.
We also made sure you have every fact, photo and link to everything of worth about the famous temples around Angkor Thom in the Angkor Complex. For fear of the deadly Centipede of Angkor Folklore.
Better no surprises so you can take in the beauty of this place without interruption.
This picture was taken during my first visit to Angkor Wat in 2001. I was overwhelmed and needed to sit down when I first saw it.
It felt like I was out in the middle of the jungle with the monkeys and a canopy of trees over me, hiding this jewel.
That’s how remote it felt in early 2001.
Angkor Wat has changed a lot since then. When I returned in late 2005, I could barely recognize Angkor Wat through the crowds.
The rows of 5 star hotels lining the road to the gates of Angkor are massive and numerous.
None are any further away from the Angkor Wat ruins.
Angkor Wat is big business now, but seeing it again was as indescribable as ever.
Instead of isolation as before there remain only pockets of areas away from the crowds. So, you can still see some of the glorious wonder that remains in this place.
Being there at the right time of day and in the right place is the key.
We took the off-beat pathway around the main entrance and walked along the inside of the outer walls of Angkor Wat. We were pretty much alone.
If you see Angkor Wat in the very early hours of the morning or an hour before the site closes, you’ll practically be alone.
And if you want the most incredible experience of them all then you should get in the balloon near dusk and see the entire site from 200 Meters up.
It’s insanely romantic and absolutely beautiful with views of the entire Angkor site (Bring a significant other and a camera).
The big, yellow balloon rises 200 Meters above the temple site. I can’t think of any words that can describe the experience. But I felt that I flew over the top of one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world on that day.
To get to the where the balloon takes off, just head down the road that connects the airport to the Angkor Temples.
Just 1KM before you reach the gates of Angkor is where you'll find the balloon.
The balloon cost me $12USD in 2001 for a 20 minute ride and worth every penny. Inflation anyone? Give them a call @012-520810 before heading down to see them.
Here’s some of that dry stuff before we get started.
Angkor Wat is situated in Northwestern Cambodia and was the heart of the Khmer Empire for more than 500 years.
From Angkor the Khmer civilization controlled all of Mainland Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 13th century.
Thailand and Vietnam repeatedly invaded the kingdom at Angkor Wat until 1863 when France made Cambodia a protectorate and sent the Thais and Vietnamese packing.
Independence followed in 1953.
Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai?
I made my first trip to Angkor Wat in 2001 with a friend. I was living in Bangkok at the time when we decided to make the trek to see the Temples at Angkor.
The other option was to make the trip North to the city of Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. I’m glad we made the right choice looking back now.
If you’re coming from Bangkok (A hub now with the best prices on airfares in the region) then you’ll probably be staying at a Bangkok Guest House somewhere near Khoa San Road.
Get the full story on Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai?
Gone are the days when you could rent a small motorbike and drive to and from each of the Temples in the Angkor Region.
You now must rent a motorbike driver or climb in a Moto-Romauk now and be ‘chauffeured’.
A Moto-Romauk is similar to a two-wheeled carriage pulled behind a motorbike. It’s not quite like a Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok.
What Best to See of the Angkor Region
You should decide if you want to see all of the most important temples or not. There are 2 options for tickets;
Unfortunately, the multi-day tickets must be used on consecutive days so there is no taking a day off on a 3 or 7 day pass.
When you go to purchase your entry ticket to the Temples take along 2 additional passport sized photos. They are required for the Angkor Temple Pass.
Keep the ticket close to you because you will be asked to show that ticket at the entrance to each and every Temple you enter. If you lose it you’ll be asked to purchase a new one.
Another thing you need to remember about tickets is that they are Non-Transferable. Only you can purchase your ticket in person at the Entrance Gates to Angkor.
If somebody offers to get you a ticket at a discount, politely refuse the offer.
It’s a scam.
If you want, you can purchase your ticket at 5pm.
If you do, you'll be permitted to immediately enter the Angkor site, roam around for an hour and then catch the sunset up at Phnom Bakheng.
You can then use that same ticket to gain entrance to the temples the following day. So it’s like getting a day and half for the price of a single day. It’s enough time to see the major attractions at Angkor but it’s a little rushed.
3 days was enough for me the first time I went but again that’s something you need to decide depending on how much time you have and how interested you are in the first place.
The Temples You Just Shouldn't Miss at Angkor City:
The largest and best preserved of all the Temples in the massive City of Angkor.
10 Years ago, you could stroll the grounds without a soul around. Nowadays, you need to know the best times to go and the best times to avoid it.
I never really knew Angkor and its people until I took a trip there. I have been back 4 times since that first trip.
The best trip I've had to date was on a tour that took me out to the older, Imperial Temples in the morning and afternoon and the returned to Angkor Wat for a few hours before the sun set.
The tour was a gem of a find for a budget price. Find out more about it and other Angkor Wat Tours.
The last Capital City ever built by the Khmer Empire. It includes many popular sites like The Bayon Temple, The Terrace of the Elephants, and The Terrace of the Leper King.
What looks like the largest tree on the planet has made Ta Prohm Temple its Home.
It sprouted through the floors and now completely engulfs the huge Temple with 3M thick roots that wind throughout the temple's foundation and blasted the roof right off it.
What a beautiful sight.
Preah Khan Temple
This Temple has been under restoration for nearly 10 years but they finally completed enough of the work to allow tourists to see and envision what this mighty Temple must have looked like over 1000 years ago.
Get a good guide with a map of the Angkor Temples
It can be exhausting hiking around the Temples at Angkor. You’ll enjoy the day a whole lot more if you take comfortable walking shoes, light clothing and drink plenty of water.
I always hit one of the abundant convenience stores in Siem Reap to fill a knapsack before heading to the Temples for the day.
Food is fairly cheap once inside the Temple complex except in the restaurants directly across the street.
Instead, head down the road to Angkor Thom. There are better and cheaper restaurants there.
I saw both the Sunrise and the Sunset over Angkor and I recommend seeing both.
But if your time is limited, I recommend seeing the Sunrise instead of the Sunset.
No offense to the Sunset but the sun rises in the morning directly behind the main temple at Angkor. It is breathtaking and worth getting up for.
Will Tourism Destroy Angkor Wat?
Sometimes a visit to the Angkor Wat Complex will actually change the way people see the world.
What Other Visitors Have Said
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