Your Ultimate Angkor Wat Itinerary & Guide. Angkor is famous worldwide for its antique temple ruins. Often the UNESCO world heritage is wrongly called Angkor Wat, although Angkor Wat is just a small part of the huge temple grounds. (Well, small might sound a little weird considering Angkor Wat is known to be the biggest temple complex in the world)
Year by year millions of people travel to Cambodia just to see these popular temple ruins with its still remained details. Whether as a part of a Cambodia or as a trip from Bangkok.
In this post, you will find a detailed guide to those unique temples, Angkor images, and all the information you need for your own mesmerizing Angkor Tour Adventure.
We chose the three-day ticket which includes free entrance from 5 pm on the day of purchase.
- Takes up more than 200 km² of land
- Over the years different capitals have been located here and built their main temple around
- Up to today more than 1000 temple and relicts have been found
- Most of the temples have been dedicated to Hindu gods, especially Shiva
Best time to visit Angkor Wat
End of October – April
May – October
How to get to Siem Reap
From Phnom Penh
From Phnom Penh, it’s easiest to get to Siem Reap by bus. The bus ride can be anywhere between 7 and 10 hours depending on the weather and road conditions – and can be quite shaky. Anyway, it’s definitely the cheapest option to travel between the two important cities in Cambodia.
You can get your ticket on-side or online here.
Many people visit the impressive sight of Angkor from Thailand. In order to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap, you basically have the option to go by bus or by airplane.
While the airplane might be the fastest option and great for everyone that only has little time at hand, going by bus is usually way cheaper and better for the environment. You can get your ticket on-side or online here.
It is obligated (especially for a woman) to have your clothes cover everything up to your knees and your shoulders. This is not only a matter of respect but also is getting checked in front of every temple.
The entrance fee for one day costs $37. For three days you gotta pay $62. (As of 2020)
The chosen days don’t have to be consecutive. We preferred to take a one-day break after every day we spent in Angkor.
The food within the park can get quite expensive compared to the food downtown in Siem Reap, so you might either wanna bring some snacks or go back to your accommodation during napping time and return in the evening. We usually spent the early mornings in Angkor and left when huge crowds arrived in the afternoon in order to see the sunset.
The ticket will have a picture of you attached, so you cannot sell or share your ticket.
Where to buy your Ticket to Angkor
The building in which you can buy your ticket to Angkor is a little bit outside of town but not on the direct way to Angkor. The company you can purchase the tickets from is called Angkor Enterprise. (I’ve pinned it for you in our Angkor Map above for Day 0)
I guess, the easiest option is to get a tuk-tuk there, as every tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap will know the way there. The tickets get sold daily from 4.45 pm and you will have free entrance the same day from 5 pm. So make sure to be the first in line 😉
Check which line you have to stand in. There are different lines depending on how many days you want to explore Angkor. (The most common is one or three days but there is also a seven days option for $72)
There are different possibilities in order to get from Siem Reap to Angkor and to get from temple to temple.
The probably most comfortable option is to take a tuk-tuk. The driver knows the way and most probably also knows some facts about the temples that you didn’t know before. You can choose between the small and big day tour. Or you can plan your own trip as well, of course.
We decided to go to buy the ticket and afterwards to see the sunset in Angkor by tuk-tuk. For the first day of our Angkor 3 days tour, we as well chose to go by tuk-tuk. We preferred the small tour as we would have enough time the next days to see the other temples as well.
We got to know our driver Mr. Chan actually while having lunch in the same restaurant. We started talking about learning Spanish. And we liked him immediately. And when he mentioned that he is a tuk-tuk driver we really wanted to do the tour with him.
Doing the tour with him was amazing. Unlike many other drivers, he speaks fluently English and even Spanish! And he knows a lot about Angkor and its temples. He could give us so many information and facts about each of the temples and of course the history of Angkor. And most importantly he could answer all of our questions. (We had a lot of questions!) It was just the perfect Angkor tour.
His big dream is to build a school and a library in his little village to assure a better life for his daughter. (We were able to meet her two days later and she is just adorable)
So if you are planning a tour through Angkor don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Chan either here on facebook or under +855 12 981 681. This way you will have a great trip and help him build a better future for his children. That’s win-win, don’t you think?
Everywhere around Siem Reap you can rent motorcycles and motorbikes in order to get to Angkor and around there.
Driving yourself will provide you a lot of flexibility, so you don’t have to look for your driver after every temple. (Just don’t forget where you parked your cycle 😉 )
For the second and third day of our Angkor Tour, we rented a motorcycle to get around. After going by tuk-tuk the first day we already got to know the streets a little bit. Which made it easier to go around.
The streets of Siem Reap and Angkor have much better quality than the rest of the country. You might just need some minutes to get used to the busy traffic in Siem Reap.
An alternative might be to go by bike through Angkor. But keep in mind that some of the temples are kinda far off the track. So it might get a little exhausting. And also keep in mind how hot the days in Cambodia can get. If you choose the bike anyway, you earn my full respect!
It is also possible to visit Angkor as part of a tour. You can choose between a private and a group tour. You can find many options when walking through Siem Reap.
Another option is to book your tour online in advance. You can do that here.
Your first time in Cambodia?
Find here everything you need to know before visiting Cambodia.
Your Ultimate Angkor Wat Itinerary
Angkor Wat Map
Days by Color
To get a better overview of our Angkor Map I divided the days for you by color.
Day 0: Yellow
Day 1: Blue
Day 2: Green
Day 3: Red
The first half-day of our tour, let’s just call it day O, we met our driver Mr. Chan around 04.15am in front of our accommodation in Siem Reap. From there we drove to the building in which you can buy the entrance tickets to Angkor. After we finally purchased our tickets and our photos have been printed on it we could finally start to discover amazing Angkor. Our destination was Phnom Bakheng in order to see the sunset from there. Mr. Chan explained to us pros and cons of the different sunset viewpoints. On our way, we could take a first glance at Angkor Wat and were deeply impressed. It’s surely something that you don’t see every day.
Sunset on the Phnom Bakheng
You can get up the Phnom Bakheng either by foot or ride on an elephant. (Please, please, don’t be that guy. It’s really bad for the animals to carry humans in that way!)
After we arrived uphill we had to realize we were surely not the only ones with the idea of getting here for sunset. And on top of the hill was only a certain number of people allowed. So we had to stand in line until enough people would come down in order for us to get up. After some time it got clear though that most people up there were also waiting for the sunset.
But in the end, there were too many clouds coming up. So no one would be able to see a nice sunset. Therefore, suddenly a big bunch of people came downstairs allowing us to finally get upstairs.
And we could even see the rest of the sunset. Or let’s rather call it of the sun setting into a big bunch of clouds.
Anyway, it was nice to see.
Although the complex is not worth standing in line for such a long time during normal daylight, it is totally worth it for sunset. (In high season you might get much higher chances for a beautiful sunset)
Day 1 of our Angkor 3 Days tour
Angkor Wat Facts
- Dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu
- Built between 1113 and 1150
- Due to missing recordings, the original name of the temple remains unknown
- 1,3 x 1,5 km area
- The highest tower is 65 meters high
- The holes that you can find everywhere in the stones were used to carry around the stones with sticks
A visit to Angkor Wat
We arrived at Angkor Wat on day 1 around 5 am. Still being a little sleepy the sudden glance at the rising sun above the towers of Angkor woke us up immediately. Now we had to be fast. Our driver Mr. Chan accompanied us up to the moat that surrounds Angkor Wat. Many visitors were already waiting around here, cameras, phones, and selfie sticks everywhere pointing towards this magnificent act of nature.
Mr. Chan explained to us that we could take even better pictures from inside the temple complex. And he was right.
The towers of Angkor Wat got reflected by the pond which you could find in front of the huge temple.
Don’t worry, you can not oversee it. Most probably you will find it behind the big crowd of tourists trying to get the perfect picture. Some of them even walked until they were knee deep in the water just to get the perfect shot. We managed it to take a nice picture even without getting our feet wet. (At this point a big thank you to the small Chinese girl in front of us 😉 ) Anyway, I believe that no picture will ever be as beautiful as seeing it with your own eyes. It is just mesmerizing.
As soon as the sun rose you should try to get inside as fast as possible before the masses follow.
You will find that despite the early hour the narrow hallways of Angkor Wat are already full of visitors.
However, the benefit is the size of the complex. Even though a huge amount of people is walking around, you will most likely don’t perceive it as being overcrowded. (Note: please keep in mind that we were traveling during the raining season. I can’t promise anything for high season)
By the way, it is not unlikely that you will meet a monkey while exploring Angkor Wat or another temple of the Angkor temple complex. Be careful in case you are having food with you. The monkeys are used to humans and don’t hesitate to try to steal your food.
Angkor Wat is just remarkable. We totally forgot the time while wandering around the temple ruins. I guess we have spent several hours around. Behind every corner, you can find new details.
But keep in mind to bring comfortable shoes (I have seen girls in high heels!) There are so many steps to take and you will have to get up and down a lot. The temple complex is huge.
All in all, Angkor Wat was amazing. Anyway, in the end, it didn’t make it as our favorite temple in the park though.
- Faces representing Bodhisattva Lokeshvara l
- Buddhist Temple
- The construction started in 12th Century
- The main temple of the capital Angkor Thom
A visit in Bayon, Angkor Thom
Bayon immediately mesmerized us and became my favorite temple in Angkor.
The towers with faces were simply amazing. Isn’t it unbelievable that all these details remained over so many years?
Unfortunately, we were not the only ones being captivated by this unique sight. The Bayon was full of visitors walking around and taking pictures.
But since we just booked the small tour for the first day we had enough time to spend around waiting for one big group of people to leave. Thus, we could use this few rare minutes before the next bus of tourist arrived to take some awesome pictures.
It hasn’t been easy but our pictures prove it was absolutely worth waiting.
Preah Ang Tang To Pagoda and others
A little bit hidden you can find a lot of small temples around the whole complex. So it’s worth it to just get lost a little. We found those temples around Angkor Thom.
In case you chose Mr. Chan as your driver, he can exactly tell you where to find those little-hidden treasures.
Just walk around a little to find these amazing temples away from the crowds.
Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Tempel)
Since Angelina Jolie ran around this temple in the worldwide known Tomb Raider movie Angkor and its Ta Prohm temple earned a lot of publicity. For Eduardo, this temple became his absolutely favorite around Angkor.
With its contorted aisles and huge trees that are growing out of the walls within the temple complex, it gives you the vibe of just having entered some kind of jungle labyrinth.
We totally lost track of time while we were exploring the hidden parts of the temple. It must have been around two hours that we’ve been wandering around. There was no other temple in which we took as many photos as in this one.
The temple offers another breathtaking highlight in every corner. Just stunning!
But why don’t you just go and see it for yourself? What an amazing combination of temple ruins and nature this temple offers.
Day 2 of our Tour through Angkor
On our second day, we chose to go by Motorcycle. This way we were more flexible when it comes to times and routes. Anyway, we are happy we did our first day by tuk-tuk with our driver Mr. Chan. He could give us so many information about Angkor and several temples in it.
Our first stop was at the victory gate. It is located at the northern entrance of Angkor Thom. We did a short stop not only to have a glance at the map (we used maps.me) but also to get a nice shot of the Victory Gate. On our first day, we’ve already come by there and Mr. Chan had given us the name in Spanish: Puerta de Victoria. (I guess that’s the reason why I could remember it so well)
Preah Khan Facts
- Translated it means Holy Sword
- Built in the late 12. Century
- Buddhistic Temple
- Barely restored
- Flat temple
A visit to Preah Khan
Our first temple on our second day of our Angkor 3 days tour was Preah Khan. After having seen this impressive temples on our first day Preah Khan might have been even a little disappointing.
The Preah Khan had many narrow hallways but already fell apart at many places.
Anyway, the benefit was that it wasn’t nearly as crowded as in Angkor Wat the prior day.
Neak Pean Facts
- Name can be translated as Interwinted Snakes
- Artificial island
- Built at the end of the 12. Century
- 350 x 350 area
- The temple itself is supposed to represent a Lotus bud
A visit to Neak Pean
Another highlight of our Angkor 3 Days Tour was the Neak Pean. The temple itself is quite unimpressive though.
However, on the way to the temple, you have to cross a sump which is pretty stunning.
While we were on our way through the sump a big storm came up. (Welcome to monsoon season!) But exactly this turned out to be the most wonderful picture we could have asked in combination with this landscape.
However, I’m sure also with nice weather the Neak Pean and the sump will definitely be worth a visit.
Ta Som Fakten
- Built between 1190- 1210
- Flat temple
- Also described as the simple mini version of the Ta Prohm Temple
- Translated the name would be something along the lines of Ancestor Som and is dedicated to the Mentor of the former king
- The original name was Gaurashrigajaratna, which can be roughly translated to Jewel of the fortune bringing white elephant
A visit to Ta Som
Most probably we will always remember the Ta Som Temple mainly for one thing: Its cat.
During our trip, we befriended so many cats. But anyway we still got excited everytime we would meet another kitty walking around. (While I am writing these lines a cat is laying on my lap. It just came here trying to find shelter from the pouring rain)
We spent around 20 minutes with this cat (Yes, that long…) and an Indian family which also fell in love with the little kitty. (In my defense it was raining and we wouldn’t have walking around that much anyway during the strong raining phase 😉 )
The temple was beautiful. There was a lot to see, but the rain didn’t make it easy for us to get around.
The special thing about this temple was the jungle feeling it provides. The combination of old walls and trees growing out of it is amazing. Even though it was no competition for its big brother the Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Temple).
East Mebon Facts
- Opened in 952
- Dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva
- The temple used to be surrounded by a moat and could only be reached by boat
A visit to East Mebon
The East Mebon Temple is huge and impressive. Actually, it kinda reminded us at Angkor Wat. (Considering the facts it is built similar to the Pre Rup Temple)
In the temple grounds of the East Mebon, you are able to find spectacular elephant statues. Unfortunately, most of them are not complete anymore and are missing some parts. The statues can be up to 2 meters high.
The noticeable difference to other temples is that really few visitors are coming to this temple. This way you can explore the East Mebon in a tranquil atmosphere. Even though this temple didn’t become one of our favorites we can still recommend you a visit.
Banteay Samré Facts
- Name can be translated to Fortress of the Samré
- The Samré was a tribe which used to live in this area
- Shows mainly Hindu reliefs, but also Buddhist ones
- Built in the first half of the 12. Century
A visit to Banteay Samré
Our visit in Banteay Samré was mostly spoiled by rain. Anyway, we tried to make the best out of it. However, here we met a little cat too. So Eduardo “was forced” to stay at exactly the same spot (which actually wasn’t even a really dry spot) until the cat let go of him. After about 10 minutes we could finally look for a dry shelter.
This temple as well provides the huge benefit of being avoided by most tours. Therefore, it is pretty quite and you can wander around without being distracted by other visitors. (For us it was even more beneficial that we didn’t have to share our dry shelter with anyone)
Its architecture is strongly orientated towards the one of Angkor Wat. This means you have a little bit of the Angkor Wat vibe here just without the crowds. Sounds great, right?
Pre Rup Facts
- Built in the 10. Century
- Hindu Temple
- Dedicated to the god Shiva
- Served as a model for Angkor Wat
- Three-staged Pyramid
- 12 Meter high
A visit to Pre Rup
The Pre Rup Temple should become the highlight of our second day. The temple is built like a pyramid and therefore offers a great panorama view.
The many steps that lead to the top might be a little bit exhausting in the afternoon heat. But in the end, you will be rewarded with this amazing view as soon as you have made it up. (And basically it’s just 12 Meters upwards actually)
Eventually, we liked the Pre Rup so much that we even came back on our third day of our Angkor 3 days tour.
Banteay Kdei Facts
- Built from the middle of the 12. Century until the beginning of the 13. Century
- Buddhist Temple
- Translated to Citadel of chambers
- Gets restored recently
A visit to Banteay Kdei
Our visit in the Banteay Kdei can get summarized by only one word: Monsoon rain.
Although we arrived while the sun was still shining the weather changed super spontaneously.
Luckily, before that, we had some minutes to discover the amazing sights of this temple.
What made this temple so special for us was that huge trees were growing out of the old walls. We felt so small next to them.
When the rain started, of course, we were wandering around in the area as far away as we could be from the temple exit. (Thanks to Murphey and his law) Therefore we had to pass through the whole temple in order to get back to our motorcycle in the pouring rain.
We tried to hide some time from the rain. But by now it was already 05.30 pm. Haven’t we read on a sign that this temple was supposed to be closed at 5 pm?
At some point, we realized that there was no other way than walking back in the direction of the exit.
On our way, we even met one woman that was working in the temple. She was also hiding and realized the rain probably wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. She politely informed us that the temple is closed now and left without even checking whether we started walking to the exit.
Luckily, we could just walk by the barrier that was set at the entrance in order to finally exit the temple. (We’ve already imagined climbing the walls in order to get outside or even spending the night inside of the temple)
When we stepped out of the gate again, completely soacked by the rain, we realized that the rain has stopped…
Angkor Day 3
Banteay Srei Facts
- Hindu Temple
- Translated name is Citadel of women/ beauty
- Dedicated 2/3 to Shiva and 1/3 to Vishnu
- Built in the middle of the 10. Century
- 3 Temple towers
- Original name was Tribhuvanamahesvara, what can be translated to Great God of the trinitarian World
A visit to Banteay Srei
The Banteay Srei Temple has been recommended to us more than once. It is located about 53 km/ 33 Miles outside of Siem Reap. Full of expectations of this temple we started our about 1 1/2 hour journey on the last day of our Angkor 3 days tour.
The roads were more or less fine with some exceptions. But after we made it through some floated part and we survived a huge snake suddenly falling from a tree above from us the way was actually quite ok.
By the way, I guess I should mention that the quality of the roads is decreasing the further you get from Angkor Wat.
Anyway, even as a not super experienced driver, the road is doable, I’d say.
As mentioned before our expectations about the Banteay Srei were quite high after it has been recommended to us several times. (Afterwards, we were not quite sure anymore. Did someone actually said something positive about the temple or just about the landscapes on the way there?)
We’ve been hoping for a peaceful big temple far away from the crowds of tourists. I mean, who would be doing all this way just for one single temple except from us, right?
As soon as we reached the big parking spot in front of the Banteay Srei we realized how ridiculous our hopes were. It was already full of huge Chinese tour busses.
The huge temple complex was full of tourist. Probably more crowded than any other temple we had visited the previous day. Already the entrance looked so different to the other temples. Really modern, staff greeting you and handing out maps of the temple grounds.
There were a lot of souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants that you had to make your way through before even reaching the temple. It felt like we had just blundered into a tourist trap.
And the temple…?
The temple was definitely not worth the long drive. We were just really disappointed. The temple was not only really small but also overcrowded with tourists. There were not many details to see either. In the end, we just spent around 10 minutes wandering around.
Around the temple was a park in which you could have a walk. You could rent a little boat to have a little tour on the lake. For a price that was unbelievable for Cambodian standards.
Basically, all the prices around these temple grounds were completely overpriced.
The only interesting thing around was a little exhibition in which you could read about the history of Angkor, especially about the “modern history” from its discovery to today.
And the highlight was after we wanted to leave we even got charged parking fees, even though there was no sign anywhere telling you this parking spot was not free of charge. (Any other parking spot we used around Angkor was free of charge)
The surroundings of Angkor
When you are driving through the archeological park of Angkor you can not only see wonderful temples but also stunning nature and landscapes. From rice fields to lakes up to locals culture and life.
As mentioned before on our third day we returned to the Pre Rup. This time we had better weather, so we actually had the chance to get an even better view than the day before.
Preah Ko Facts
- Built in the late 9. Century
- Belongs to the Roluos Temple Group
- Hindu Temple
- Dedicated to the god Shiva
- Consist of 6 tower buildings
- The name can be translated to Temple of the holy ox
A visit to Preah Ko
The Preah Ko and the two following temple are all located South of Angkor Wat, a little bit off the track. After a long journey through the striking sun, we were happy to finally have arrived.
Even though the tower buildings are quite impressive there is actually not that much to see around. So I guess you will not need that much time for your visit here.
Moreover, there is not much shadow, so it can get extremely hot while exploring the temple. Therefore, you might wanna bring your sunscreen.
- Built in the second half of the 9. Century
- Belongs to the Roluos Temple Group
- Hindu Temple
- Dedicated to the god Shiva
- First temple pyramid of that kind
- Surrounded by a moat
A visit to Bakong
Our visit in the Bakong temple wasn’t actually planned like that. We found it more or less by accident but loved the look of it immediately. That’s why we really felt like going inside.
The road there was really bad though. Not paved at all and full of road holes. So in case you are driving yourself, please drive carefully!
Actually, we have been really lucky to have such a nice surprise as our last temples for our Angkor 3 days tour. Not many tourists were wandering around which gave you the chance to discover the beauty of this peaceful temple in such a tranquil way.
You will also be rewarded with a great view from there.
But also in Bakong temple you probably won’t be able to find much shadow.
- Opened on the 08. July 893
- Belongs to the Roluos Temple Group
- Just 2 of the original 4 tours remained
A visit to the Lolei Temple
The Lolei Temple was just the perfect ending to our tour. We were really happy that we got here. The Lolei Temple is not really big and therefore you won’t need much time to take a look around.
But maybe you want to take some time to walk up to the school which is located next to the Lolei Temple. After the classes are over, some teachers are still around and might even get you a small tour if you want.
One of the teachers here is his self still a student. He is studying English in University but teaching the kids and monks around that couldn’t get there education any other way.
We talked with him about how important education is and how you can get motivated to learn English. It made us sad to know that it’s not a habit yet in this country that every child goes to school.
So if you are around the Lolei temple feel free to make a little donation so that the children of Siem Reap can learn English.