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Tips For Visiting Ankor Wat

Most people who take a Cambodia vacation will visit Ankor Historical Park. Ankor Wat and the surrounding temples are best visited at sunrise and in the early morning and late in the afternoon towards sunset. There are two reasons for this, the light creates a completely different atmosphere, and it is not so hot. Break up your day and avoid the heat of the sun. Your pass will be valid for as many visits as you wish to make – so get up early, and see the sites of Ankor before it gets to hot. Then, mid to late morning, come back to your hotel in Siem Riep and relax in the heat of the day. Later on, when the weather cools down, go back to the temples for sunset.

Take your time – if you decide to rent a bicycle (pedal or electric), this is one of the nicest ways to see the temples, and it gives you independence but if you are not used to riding in hot environments it may be a bit tough.

Just about everyone in Siem Riep is a “guide”. Moto dops (motorbike taxis) will often tell you they are guides but just take you from point to point. Some guides from the guesthouses and hotels are very good – but be careful, many have no idea and make things up, and some just reel out dates and figures. A good guide book of the temples and history of Ankor, or a good Cambodia Vacation guide book will be very very useful for historical background and maps. After that, your own intuition is the best guide.

Make use that you drink plenty of water. It can get very hot, and it is very easy to dehydrate. Soft drinks are sold everywhere around the temple grounds although at a slightly higher price than in the town. Be cautious of ice from the stalls around the temples.

If you want to eat around the temples, you will find small restaurants everywhere. The food is generally local. For more western food, there are several restaurants near the main entrance to the temple of Ankor Wat.

Take insect repellant if you are visiting in the late afternoon / evening.
Wear a hat – if you don’t have one, they are for sale everywhere. A straw hat costing a dollar will do the job if you don’t have one – they are sold everywhere. Use sunscreen and take sunglasses. A cotton kramer – the local scarves are very cheap, and great for keeping off the sun, wiping your hot brow and wrapping round your neck.

Put on decent footwear and protect your feet. Flipflops may seem more comfortable, but climbing around the temples can be rough, sweaty, sharp and in some places quite dusty. Cambodia travel can be tough on the feet!

If you are visiting for more than one day, you will need a photograph for a multi day pass. Take a passport photo with you BEFORE you get to the temples. There is a facility to take pictures at the entrance, but there may be long queues.

If you are one of the few people left in the world that uses a camera with film then be prepared to pay extremely high prices if you run out of film at the temples. Ankor has some amazing photo opportunities and most people take lots of pictures.

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