Preparing for your trip to Angkor Wat? These tips for visiting Angkor Wat will help you in planning your trip, from dress code to how to find a cheap private tuk-tuk.
Angkor Wat is the crowning jewel on most Cambodian itineraries; an alluring ancient wonder. While a popular tourist attraction, there are some tips for visiting Angkor Wat that will help avoid issues, and ensure that nothing clouds the majesty of the temples.
5 Tips for Visiting Angkor Wat
These tips for Angkor Wat share everything you need to know for planning your trip, from how to get tickets, to what to wear and how to get a cheap private tuk-tuk. Check out my 3-day Angkor Wat itinerary for temples to see in Siem Reap (coming soon).
1️⃣ Buy 1 get 1 free on days at Angkor
To draw in visitors, the government is running a promotion on Angkor Wat tickets; buy 1 get 1 free! At least on the number of days, you get to visit. This means that if you buy a one-day ticket, you actually get two days’ access to the temples surrounding Siem Reap; perfect for those that want to fully explore the temples, and return the next morning for the sunrise. Read more about the promotional ticket prices here.
💰 $37 for a 1-day pass which grants you 2 days of access.
2️⃣ Rent a private tuk-tuk
Skip the group tours and minivans, and indulge in a private tuk-tuk to explore Angkor Wat at your own pace. You’ll find that renting a private tuk-tuk can actually be a more budget-friendly option if you are travelling with friends or family, as the drivers charge a flat rate for the tuk-tuk rather than per person.
Being able to handpick the temples you want to see, go at your own pace and take as many breaks as you desire, are some of the perks of renting a private tuk-tuk.
I recommend arranging a private tuk-tuk the night before you plan to visit Angkor Wat by taking a walk around the old market area of Siem Reap; here you’ll see lots of drivers waiting to find a ride.
💰 $15-20/day + $5 extra for sunrise or sunset
📍 Find drivers around the old market and pub street in the evenings
Alternatively, you can try booking a tuk-tuk via the Grab app (starting price is $17). Check out the fare details on the Grab website.
3️⃣ Bring cash for drinks and snacks
The number of people I’ve met that didn’t bring enough cash on their exploration of Angkor Wat is crazy. Make sure you have some cash; enough to buy yourself a couple of cold drinks, water and snacks throughout the day. Angkor Wat is insanely hot all year round, with limited shade so cool drinks are essential to keep you going.
4️⃣ Follow the dress code for Angkor Wat
To this day, Angkor Wat is one of the world’s largest religious sites and as such, there is a strict temple dress code in place. Unfortunately, you will be denied entry to Angkor Wat (including the grounds) if you don’t follow the dress code.
The dress code requires everyone to cover their shoulders, which means no tank tops or spaghetti straps. Unlike other temples in South East Asia, it is not permitted to cover your shoulders with a scarf so you will need to be wearing a full t-shirt at a minimum.
While men can wear shorts, they will be unable to climb to the top terraces of the main temple in Angkor Wat, so it would be wise to wear trousers. For women, knees must be covered so trousers or long skirts/dresses are needed.
If you don’t have suitable clothes to get into Angkor Wat, don’t worry! There are lots of shops in Siem Reap where you can pick up an outfit for a couple of dollars.
5️⃣ Get a guide or guidebook
While you can of course visit without a guide, you might appreciate the sites more if you have an understanding of the history. Unlike a museum, there are no boards that share the history or points of interest in the temples. For that reason, it’s a good idea to pick up a guidebook that you can flick through while you’re exploring, or better yet hire a local tour guide to show you around.
📍 You can pick up guidebooks all over Siem Reap, and guides can be found at the entrance to Angkor Wat for about $15 a day.
Planning a Trip to Angkor Wat
To visit Angkor Wat, you will need to base yourself in the city of Siem Reap. Here is some essential information for planning your stay in Siem Reap, including how to get around the temples.
How to get to Siem Reap
As the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is one of the easiest places to visit in Cambodia. There’s an international airport, though currently only serving domestic flights (Sept 2022). Typically, if you are travelling from outside of Cambodia this is how I would recommend getting to Siem Reap.
The city is connected to Phnom Penh and Battambang via bus and train. We chose to take the bus from Battambang as we spent a day there before heading to Siem Reap. The day buses from Phnom Penh only take 5 hours, but there is also an overnight bus which is great for those who are short on time.
💰 $9 from Battambang / $13 from Phnom Penh
I’ve found the easiest way to book transport in advance is through Baolau*, a search engine that compares all travel options to find the best one for you.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
For ease of exploring the town, I recommend staying in the area around the riverfront and Old Market, or near the outskirts of Pub Street. In these areas, you’ll find lots of accommodation options* as well as restaurants, shopping, and tuk-tuk drivers for visiting the temples.
For backpackers, Onederz* is the place to stay. With multiple swimming pools, dorms and private rooms, and a social vibe it’s a great place to stay. They have an onsite bar and restaurant which serves both local and international dishes for an affordable price.
How to get around the temples
There are a few ways you can explore the temples of Angkor. There are guided tours you can book online starting around $70 per person, which typically include an airconditioned car and tour guide.
Hiring a tuk-tuk is my personal recommendation for getting around Angkor Wat; I’ve found it the most budget-friendly and convenient way to explore the temples. It is also possible to rent a motorbike, e-bike or bicycle to get around, however, the distances are quite far, so I would only suggest cycling to those that are very active and fare well in the heat.
There you have it; 5 tips for visiting Angkor Wat. If you have any other tips for visiting Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, let me know in the comments!
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Planning a Trip to Cambodia
For more information on planning a trip to Cambodia, be sure to check out my Complete Cambodia Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country.
✍️ Siem Reap Travel Guide (coming soon)
✍️ 3-Day Itinerary for Angkor Wat (coming soon)
✍️ Exploring the Temples Beyond Angkor Wat (coming soon)