The Angkor Temples can be found throughout Cambodia, however the main hub are located just outside of Siem Reap in the North West of the country.
How to get to the Angkor Temples
Siem Reap is served by a new international airport, and is on the route of all major bus routes through Cambodia. From Siem Reap there are several ways to explore the temples; tour bus, hire a tuk tuk for the day, or bicycle. We chose the latter, and I recommend it highly, although it is quite the endurance endeavour.
Without a tour guide or schedule you are able to explore the Angkor temples at your own pace, also much of the site is pedestrianised and a bicycle allows you to access these paths, keeping you (at times) away from the masses.
VERY IMPORTANT! As of February 2017 the prices for entrance to the Angkor Temples have almost doubled (much to the dismay of local businesses), much of the information online, and still around town has not been updated.
One Day pass – $37
Three Day pass – $62
Seven Day pass – $72
We opted for the one day pass which you can purchase at 5pm (from the new ticket office on Street 60, 3km from Siem Reap centre) the day before you intend to use it. This allows you , as we did, to catch sunset at one of the many temples on the same day.
Where to stay
There is a myriad of accommodation in and around Siem Reap, ranging from budget, to all out luxury, and everything in between. We stayed at The Cashew Nut Guesthouse just south of the centre ( a ten minute walk), the staff here are very friendly, and the owner is a former travel guide and thus an invaluable well of information.
They have their own Tuk Tuk for rent to avoid being ripped off when picking one from the street (which is quite common).
How much time do you need at Angkor Wat
How much time you need here depends on your time scale, and your interest in ancient ruins. Some temples are 100km or so out of Seam Reap so are not doable in one day.
The main complex, however is do able in one day, beware of the Cambodian heat in the middle of the day, and of the sheer amount of people that will be constantly around you.
When is the best time to go
Tourists are almost unavoidable at Angkor, visit late in the day for sunset at Pnomh Bakheng (the tomb raider temple) for a kind of solace. Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a busy affair, we set off cycling at 4am and were one of the earlier into the temple, but it fills up FAST!
What to do there
Do not miss the big four; Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm and Pnomh Bakheng. Its a full half day just to see these four temples, the many faced temple of Bayon is particularly impressive, as is natures reclamation of Ta Prohm.
What not to do
Personally I would, and did, avoid any guided tour. Allowing yourself a freedom to explore such a vast sight, and also in the age of the internet, there is no shortage of information on the rise and fall of the great Khmer Empire to immerse yourself in before a visit, perhaps at one of Siem Reaps many great cafes.
Why should the Angkor Temples be on my bucket list?
In a world of shiny and new, this place is mirror back in time. At its peak a million people lived here, when London was a city of only 50,00 people. The grandeur and enormity here is testament to the people of the empire and their dedication to something bigger than themselves, a kind of altruism that is seldom seen amongst societies anymore. If you find yourself alone here, even for a fleeting moment, there is a calm on the breeze that really makes you feel like you are somewhere of great importance.