When you are in Siem Reap, Cambodia, you should not miss visiting the temples of Angkor Wat. The largest religious monument in the world and UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts more than one million visitors every year.
Although most travel guides recommend planning at least 3 or even more days to visit this ancient temple complex, we got only one day in Angkor Wat and personally, for us, this is enough.
Information about the temples of Angkor Wat
The temples of Angkor are the pride of the Cambodian nation. You will find prints of it on the national flag and on certain bank notes. The complex is pretty massive. Approximately more than 70 temples and buildings are part of the Angkor Wat temple complex. The area has 160 hectares, which makes it pretty impossible to visit all of them on one day. The complex was built in the first half of the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II, a king of the Khmer Empire.
Cost for entrance fees and transport
The temples of Angkor are located only 5 km outside of the town of Siem Reap. You have the options of renting a Tuk Tuk, scooter or bicycle to get around. As it is super hot, when we are there, we decide to rent a Tuk Tuk for the complete day. As we have been happy with the driver from the day before, who brought us to the War Museum and Floating Village Chong Khneas , we arranged with him to be picked up in the early morning. We agree on a price of 15 USD and he is going to show us the main temples of Angkor, also called the small circuit tour.
The entrance fees are for a 1-day ticket 37 USD, 3-day ticket 62 USD, 7-day ticket 72 USD.
The 3-day ticket is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase. That means you don`t have to visit the temples for 3 consecutive days. You can do a break in between. And believe me. You will need that, as your feet will hurt.
The 7-day ticket is valid for one month.
As we have only one day in Angkor Wat, we spend 74 USD on entry tickets for two adults.
Opening times of Angkor Wat
- Angkor Ticket Center: Daily from 5.00am until 5.30pm
- Angkor Wat and Srah Srang: Daily from 5.00am until 5.30pm.
- Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup: Daily from 5.00am until 7 pm.
- All other Temples: Daily from 7.30am until 5.30pm. (Except for Phnom Kulen and Beng Mealea. You will need to buy an extra ticket to visit these.)
One day in Angkor Wat – Our Temple tour
Early in the morning our Tuk Tuk driver pics us up from our hotel and takes us to the ticket center, where we get our day passes. We decide to do the small circuit tour which will bring us to the most famous temples of the complex. The small circuit tour is more than enough if you have only one day in Angkor Wat. But you can discuss this individually with your Tuk Tuk driver according to your wishes.
Our first stop brings us to the Angkor Wat Temple which is the most famous one but not the largest one. The temple is surrounded by a channel.
As the temples of Angkor Wat are a religious site, you should dress appropriately. Best is to cover your shoulders and wear shorts at least covering your knees. We recommend wearing light clothes because it can get really hot and humid in that area.
Did I mention, that it can get really crowded? Well, here`s the proof. 😀 Throughout the complex you will see vendors trying to sell souvenirs and maps or offering their photographic services. It can get a bit annoying but as this is the only source of income for those guys, it is quite understandable.
Our next stop is the very impressive Bayon Temple with its many statues and smiling face sculptures. It was built in the late 12th century as the official state temple of Khmer King Jayavarman VII . It stands at the center of his capital, the complex of Angkor Thom.
Here it is not as crowded as in Angkor Wat. It is more of an open area with plenty of animals strolling around. Watch out for the monkeys, as you don`t want to get bitten by them. They are just everywhere and even climb onto our Tuk Tuk.
After spending 45 minutes at the Bayon Temple, we finally loose our Tuk Tuk driver. Usually, we agree before we visit a temple to meet after a certain time at a certain location. But this time, we just cannot find him anymore. Exhausted due to the heat, we just walk down this road and check out the other temples of Angkor Thom. This place is really crowded. Millions of Tuk Tuk after the other. We walk down this road and finally find our driver at a nearby parking area.
Make sure you either take a picture of your Tuk Tuk and/or the driver. Otherwise, you have no chance to find him again.
Our next stop is Ta Keo temple which is supposed to be the first temple built entirely of sandstone. It has got 5 sanctuary towers, which you can walk up. By now we actually have enough of walking and climbing up stairs. The weather is pretty hot and humid. But having done the long journey to Cambodia is enough motivation for us to carry on. That`s what you get when you have only one day in Angkor Wat.
The stairs to the top from Ta Keo temple are pretty steep, so watch your step. The climb up is definitely worth it. You will have a fantastic view of the nearby area.
The next stop takes place at the famous Ta Prohm temple about 1km east of Angkor Thom. It was built in the late 12th century and is one of the most visited temples of the Angkor Wat complex. Many know it as the Tomb Rider Temple, as this is the location where scenes of Lara Croft were produced. It got famous as well for trees growing on top of the houses. As almost every tourist wants to take a picture of that, it may take a while until you get a clear shot. This is by far the most crowded place, we have seen today.
Our last temple for today is Phnom Bakheng, famous for watching the stunning sunsets. The temple is on top of a hill, which we have to walk up. It seems like all tourists in Siem Reap had the same idea, so it was absolutely packed again. On top of the temple mountain is a large queue waiting to climb up on the top of the actual building in order to have the best view of the sunset. As it seems like a waiting time of more than an hour, we quickly give up and enjoy the nice sunset on the way down the hill.
Even though we have had only one day in Angkor Wat, we have seen a lot of temples and lost probably thousands of calories. The complete tour took us around 8 hours, we climbed up hundreds of steps. It was a fantastic day and we could technically visit on another day again to see many more temples. But for us, this one day in Angkor Wat was enough. Been there! Done that. 😀
If you want to do this tour in a more relaxed way, we recommend planning at least two or three days.
Have you ever been to Angkor Wat? Tell us your experience.