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Top Trip Memories

  • Exploring the temples
  • Watching the sunset at Phnom Bakheng
  • Taking a ride in tuk-tuk
  • Looking at the wall art that tells the story of Kurukshetra battles
  • Spending a night in Siem Reap
  • Meeting a monk
  • Seeing the Bayon at Angkor Thom 
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Tour Tips

  • The distance between temples may not seem that far on paper, but the heat and lack of signposts mean that walking between temples is not a good option. Try a bus tour or renting a car and driver instead.
  • A source of some confusion is that Angkor Wat is the name of both the temple complex and its most famous temple. There are far more temples to see in the area surrounding Angkor Wat temple.
  • Angkor Archaeological Park covers 400 square miles and consists of countless ancient temples. Allow yourself at least two or three days to visit the area, as one day alone barely scratches the surface.
  • Angkor does not offer accommodation or other tourist facilities. Visitors to the area base themselves in the town of Siem Reap, 4 miles from the temples.
  • Getting up at 4am may not sound appealing, but it's worth it to take in the sunrise over the famous towers of Angkor Wat temple.
  • A guidebook, or better yet, a guide, will provide a lot of information about the area, and direct you to sights you may otherwise have overlooked.
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Angkor Wat Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

4,959 Reviews

  • Excellent 3,960
  • Great 996
  • Average 2
  • Disappointing 1
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

When I was researching potential tours of Southeast Asia, I was looking for Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai specifically) and Cambodia (Siem Reap/Angkor Wat specifically)

Discover Southeast Asia

5.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
When I was researching potential tours of Southeast Asia, I was looking for Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai specifically) and Cambodia (Siem Reap/Angkor Wat specifically). The other destinations on this tour were just added bonuses. I am so happy that I chose this tour; it took me to places that I have never gone to -- like Luang Prabang which I had never heard of -- even though I consider myself to be a savvy traveler. I am happy that I went to Vietnam to learn about that country's perspective on history and to marvel at the beauty of Halong Bay. This particular tour offered the right mix of culture, history, escorted adventure, and individual discovery. It seemed to appeal to everyone in our group of ten travelers who ranged in age from their 20s to their 60s.
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I would say it was the best experience of my life

Indochina Discovery

5.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
I would say it was the best experience of my life. I was worried about the trip as i thought perhaps there may have been alot of younger people who were not like minded on it. This trip allowed me to meet many amazing people from all over the world and see and experience things i could never imagine being possible. The thing that made the trip so amazing for me was mainly our guide Chenda. If it wasn't for his knowledge and wisdom throughout the trip and giving us an incite into his life in Cambodia it would not have been the trip it was. I particularly enjoyed when Chenda took us to local home stays and to local places to eat. These experiences I will never forget. I felt at all times due to Chendas professionalism and caring nature i always felt very safe and at ease with where i was and what was doing. I felt the trip was so well organised and was so diverse every day. I struggled with how sad i f
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A transforming and magical journey to Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali and Java.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia: Borobudur, Bagan and Angkor Wat

5.0
April 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
In all our years of travel, we’ve never experienced a more transforming and magical journey than the one Toni planned for us. Her meticulous planning ensured that there would be no surprises during our month in Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali, and Java, and what surprises we experienced were the serendipitous ones that happen when you allow yourself to seize the moment when it happens. Our guides, excellent English-speaking people and very knowledgeable, quickly got to know us and would make adjustments that would allow us to experience an unscripted moment with the wonderful people in each country. It was those unexpected moments that left us feeling like we left each country having stood in the shoes of the people for one brief moment. That perspective made us come back to our own country with new eyes and appreciation for what we have and what we don’t have.


The resorts were all remarkable, each unique, staffed by the kindest people, each attending to our needs, some of them so happy to test their English skills with us, leading to remarkable conversations about their lives. Restaurants were chosen to give us an overview of the food in the country, and the food was always delicious. Ancient temples, historic buildings in cities, beautiful rides in the country, food markets, candlelit dinner at a Burmese village home, boat rides on magical Inle Lake in early morning, watching the fisherman at work, floating gardens and villages, harvesting in the rice fields, 4 wheeling on a volcano, being surrounded by students practicing their English on Borobudur, the list goes on and the memories will never end.


But what set this trip apart was that Toni wanted to make sure we truly understood the people. Juxtaposed to the beauty was a trip to the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields in Cambodia, a heart-rending visit that we initially didnt want to make but realized afterwards that we had to make. It opened our hearts to the horror of what these people had endured and the wonder at the hope they all showed in spite of losing so many family members. Growing up in America, we’d read the stories in the newspapers, but it was only in being there that they became real to us. We’ll never forget the hour we spent on a boat with our Cambodian guide, anchored in the middle of Tonle Sap Lake, listening to his story. We felt such a connection to him and were so moved by his hopefulness and his vision of what his country would be for his children. It was this same young man who managed to make us feel like early French explorers discovering the ancient temples of Cambodia for the first time. We felt like we were truly in an Indiana Jones movie on an adventure of a lifetime. Words can’t describe those four days of discovering the temples of Cambodia. It was hard to believe the vision the Cambodian Kings had, the tenacity and ingenuity of the builders and that these temples are still standing, thanks, in part to the restoration of them by so many countries in the world.


Leaving Cambodia was difficult but Bali called to us and we were unprepared for the natural beauty ahead of us. Not only did we enjoy some beach time, but we quickly headed to the Ubud region and were stunned by the arts there, the countryside, and the people. We took a walk through the rice fields on Christmas day but before the walk we met a family in their home. There was a little 4 year old boy, shy, unable talk to us, but being a musician, I decided to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to him. I made it through 6 notes and he ran to his bedroom and returned with a little keyboard and played a perfect Twinkle on it. I was reminded that music is universal and in that moment we “spoke” to each other through music. That was our common language, as it also was in Burma when we sang nursery rhyme songs with children in a village, or took gamelan lessons in Bali. What we also took away from this trip was an understanding of world religions, since we had a Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic guide in three different countries. We listened to their devotion to their beliefs, heard their family stories of faith, witnessed their reverence of their holy temples, heard Islamic prayers 5 times a day, were blessed by Hindu priests, even had a healing ceremony on Christmas Day in Bali with a man who couldn’t speak English. We began to understand what made each nation tick, what kept them believing in a hopeful future when politics intervened in their lives. We witnessed their smiles, saw their tears when we were in the temples being blessed, and were so moved by their faith. So, if you want to experience a trip of a lifetime, go to Toni. You won’t be disappointed.
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Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia: Borobudur, Bagan and Angkor Wat

5.0
February 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure. The trip design could not have been better. We absolutely loved the trip! We are even considering becoming Myanmar ""repeaters"", as our guide called those who chose to visit Myanmar more than once.
Out guides understood our interests and often expanded our itinerary to include additional places and experiences. We made an impromptu visit to a wedding just outside of Mandalay. We were warmly welcomed and take to a table where we were offered ice cream and cake. Then the new couple insisted that we were part of the professional wedding photos that were being taken. In fact, all over Myanmar the Burmese people wanted photos taken with us. We also encountered a house building party in Kengtung where we were offered coffee and food. The house owner shared the plans for his new house with us.
Staying at the Inle Princess was perfect! We felt like VIPs. The setting was absolutely beautiful and mystical. The Park Royal was a perfect city hotel with a wonderful breakfast and very cozy bar. All the staff was very friendly. We enjoyed happy hour at the Bagan lodge. Our pool side suite was fantastic! The laundry service was fast and good. The Sala Lodge was a perfect retreat after a hot day of ""temple exploring"" and we loved the staff. We enjoyed our stay at the amazing Kyaing Tong Resort. The Conqueror resort was also a fun stay due to a firework and balloon launch arranged by our guide with the hotel staff partying with us.
Hsu Mon Aung, our Myanmar guide was amazing! She was totally professional in taking care of us but she felt like a friend from our first meeting. She was the best ambassador for her country and through her warmth and compassion was able to connect us with many Burmese people. We entered their homes as welcomed guests. During the full moon festival we were unable to go to Taunggyito to see the balloons, so Hsu organized our own balloon launch at the Conqueror resort, including music and fireworks. She knew that I had really wanted to see the balloon festival. We felt so fortunate to have had her traveling with us, Hsu checked us in at every hotel and airport. Our bags were taken care of before we knew it. At the restaurants she helped us select foods that were Burmese and would keep us healthy. We did a lot of laughing and sharing stories in the car.
In Kyaing Tong we met our regional guide who we called ""Sy"". Sy had a fantastic personality and knew the tribes well. The people were always happy to see him. He and Hsu worked well as a team. At the local school, we donated tablets, pencils, etc., and I was able to teach the children the ""Hokey Pokey"" translated by Hsu and Sy. Su and Hsu brought medicines to the hill tribes. Keo was our guide in Siem Reap. One of his best skills was skirting the crowds at the temples. We often entered through a seemingly remote jungle path vs. the highway. At our request, he also showed us less touristy temples that were not on our itinerary. Our guide Hsu was also very resourceful! At the Pho Win Daung caves the monkeys were very aggressive, so Hsu paid two young ladies with monkey food to keep the monkeys away from us.
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Absolutely brilliant. Loved every minute of it and never felt like I missed out once.

Cambodia & Vietnam on a Shoestring

5.0
January 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
The trips really seem to fit as much in to every day of possible which I really appreciate as I hate missing out on things. Also, I love the program's that g adventures supports like streets and hope.

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Angkor Wat Trips & Tour Advice

The world’s largest religious complex, Cambodia's Angkor Wat (which means “City of Temples”) covers some 400 square miles. At one time, 750,000 people were said to live on the site, but it’s been abandoned for centuries.

It was built by a Khmer king in the 12th century as a Hindu temple, and later served as a Buddhist shrine and place of pilgrimage. Its remarkable stone structures -- with spires reaching heavenward and walls lined with bas-reliefs and other artworks -- lie amid the forests near the Cambodian city of Siem Reap.

Visiting Angkor Wat is a top itinerary item for tours to Cambodia, but be prepared for a lot of crowds.

A common misnomer is that Angkor Wat and Angkor are the same thing, when in fact Angkor Wat is just one temple in the enormous ruin city, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, city of Angkor.

Countless temples are strewn throughout the temple complex, and even with several days to spend exploring, it's impossible to see them all. Below we’ve compiled a selection of some of the unmissable temples. You could reasonably see these, plus the crown jewel of Angkor Wat itself, in two days, but if you’re one to prefer taking your time to explore and especially if you enjoy travel photography, you definitely will want more time than that.

The Main Temple of Angkor Wat

The most famous of the Angkor temples, and the one after whom the temple complex is named, Angkor Wat is instantly recognizable. But pictures will not do the temple justice, and the sight of the gigantic towers and sprawling grounds are far more impressive in person. It's worth the effort to make it to the temple by sunrise, to watch the sky change color above the imposing towers. Or better yet, take a ride in a hot air balloon to take in the view from the air.

Built between the years 1130 - 1150, the temple of Angkor Wat is the most famous and well known perhaps because it is still in use today. A Hindu temple designed to represent the home on earth of the gods, its massive scale is truly impressive.

Most historians agree that the temple was used both as a tomb and temple, a fact supported by its western facing carvings and doors, and the bas-reliefs were designed to read in a counterclockwise direction.

To protect this magnificent site, be respectful of areas that are off limits, dress appropriately, and take your time. The many gorgeous carvings along the walls reveal epic stories, myths, and describe a people close to their religion and extremely devoted. Breezing through to check the site off your bucket list will ultimately leave you disappointed and rushed - this is a site which begs to be examined and appreciated for all its historical significance and beauty.

How to Get to Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is actually the large main temple within the ancient city of Angkor, which is what you’ll actually spend more time exploring during your visit. These fascinating ruins became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, though despite valiant and ongoing efforts to keep them in as good shape as possible, a continuously growing influx of tourists have made protection an enormous challenge.

Tours to Angkor Wat typically leave from Siem Reap, which is about a 20 minute drive away.  There are several ways you can arrange to see the site, including renting a car, renting a bike or motorized scooter, or going by hired tuk-tuk. Walking is not recommended, only because the heat can be intense, and you’ll be walking by multiple moving vehicles going at different speeds, and some places have very little sidewalk.

Renting a car can provide a nice breather between temples as you enjoy a reprieve in the air conditioning. But if you can stand the heat, the cheaper options are nicer as you have less crowds to deal with as you try to park.

There are 3 different passes you can decide between, once you arrive at Angkor. A Day Pass, A Three Day Pass, and a Week Long Pass. (The US dollar is widely accepted throughout Cambodia).

Forget any illusions you may have about Angkor Wat being empty and devoid of other people. It will definitely be full of other tourists exploring the ruins. Even the much lauded sunrise tour, to be among the first to get to the site, is a deceivingly busy activity. Though you may elect for this opportunity, you won’t necessarily be getting to the site when “no one else is there” which is how some tours sell this experience.

What to Wear for Angkor Wat

To visit the temples of Angkor, appropriate and respectful attire is expected. This includes long pants covering the knee, and covered shoulders. There are guards at each temple entrance (they will require you to show your pass, so they can add a punch to it) and they have been known to refuse entry for improper attire.

One major thing to keep in mind is the heat - particularly considering that you will be wearing conservative attire. Given this, try to find clothing that breathes easily, and doesn’t cling. Avoid cotton and other materials that are absorbent and thick.

High humidity is uncomfortable no matter what so anything you can do to minimize feeling icky is helpful - remember, you’ll be outside for the vast majority of your Angkor Wat tour. Make sure you bring a lot of water, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Exploring Angkor requires extensive, very steep stairs, so you’ll want good shoes, ideally with ankle support.   

Cambodia remains fairly warm throughout the year, however there are some differences in wet vs dry seasons. The humidity is the highest during the hot and rainy season, between June and August. This is going to be quite uncomfortable for traveling, especially if you’re not use to humidity. It also coincides with summer in the northern hemisphere, which is one of the busiest travel times of the year, so the crowds will be heavy.

March through May is also quite warm, coming off of the cool season. Temperatures range in the 70s and 80s F, with high, but mostly bearable humidity.

The ideal travel months in terms of weather in Cambodia are November through February. This is the dry season, and you’ll also experience fewer crowds. During this time, temperatures average between high 60s and 70s F, with less humidity.

Temperatures are also cooler between September and November, and it is less humid, but it will most likely be wet and rainy.

Photography Tips for Angkor Wat

The spires, steps, carvings, and countless pathways at Angkor Wat create unbelievable compositions for stunning photographs. Photography enthusiasts, amatuer through to professional will always find something new to capture through the lens at Angkor Wat.

Here are some top tips for getting the best photos out of your Angkor Wat visit:

1. Bring multiple lenses - Angkor is one of those rare destinations that offers incredible variety for the type of photography you want to do. A telephoto lens will help you get up close with the many wall carvings and intricate designs within the temples. While a wide angle will be ideal for capturing the depth and scope of the temples and city.

2. Go on a photography tour - Especially for enthusiastic amateurs looking to bring their photographs to the next level, a photography tour is the perfect avenue to learn. Not only will you be able to visit incredible sights, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from a professional. And in a place like Angkor, where there are so many small walkways, multiple temples, and multiple views, your guide will know all the best places for photographs, including those that are “hidden.”

3. Lens cloth - in humid weather, like that you will experience in Cambodia, lens fogging is common. While this can create an interesting effect, it may not be the one you intend. Bring your camera out of it’s protective bag a good few minutes before you plan to shoot, and have a lens cloth handy throughout the day.

4. Comfortable neck/shoulder strap - Angkor Wat is full of incredible photo opps, and you will quickly get exhausted with pulling your camera out every 5 seconds. It is also typically very humid, and your generic camera strap may get itchy and uncomfortable in the heat. Fashion yourself a personalized lens strap with any kind of durable, soft, water resistant material to help with the burden of carrying your camera all day long.

5. Filters - Especially if you elect to do the popular sunrise tour at Angkor Wat, consider a filter to help display the subtle color and lighting of the sky as effectively as possible.

6. Practice shooting in shadow. Angkor provides a lot of wonderful opportunities for dramatic contrasts and sharp light shafts. Get to know your camera’s manual settings, and possibly practice with an external flash. You won’t want a strong flash, but one used with a diffuser might help bring out details in your shadowy photographs.

7. Bring a monopod - You will be walking around a lot in the hot sun, and a tripod will get cumbersome. And you don’t really need one for Angkor, as you’ll find many places to place your camera to keep it steady, or use a monopod. You’ll definitely want this option for shooting extended exposures in low light, but for the most part, it should suffice rather than a bulky and heavy tripod.

8. There will be people around. Embrace the fact that there will be a lot of crowds. You can pretty easily manage to get some pictures without people that are tight in portrait style, but your wide shots will almost certainly have people in them.

Angkor’s Other Temples

Angkor Wat is the most famous of the Angkor temples, and the one most people initially visit to see. However upon arriving, it may quickly become apparent that there’s so much else to see, and that Angkor is far more expansive than often thought by first time travelers.

Bayon Temple

The massive stone faces that adorn Bayon temple set it apart from the many temples of Angkor. Take your time exploring the different levels, as there are 214 of these faces to be found. Bayon was built in approximately 1190 AD, a Buddhist temple which incorporates Hindu elements as well.

Take your time as you explore the outer wall of this temples first level. Unique and intricately detailed carvings depict everyday life for the people of the time. As you continue through in a clockwise direction you’ll pass more panels depicting various tasks, important events (such as soldiers going or returning from war), and customs. Certain details seem much unchanged to the way provincial Cambodians live today.

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm, with its crumbling walls and jungle setting, gives visitors the sense that they have stumbled upon the ruins of a lost city. Gigantic trees entangle themselves among the rocks, and visitors can enjoy exploring and clambering over the massive roots. Some of the best photo opportunities can be found here, as the endlessly fascinating and foreboding theme of nature overcoming man made structures to reclaim the land once again is prevalent. This is also the famous “Tomb Raider Temple” as a famous shot from the entertaining franchise featuring Angelina Jolie took place here.

Built in 1186, Ta Prohm is one of the only Angkor temples to provide inscriptions within the stone walls that give an indication of why it was built, and a record of its inhabitants. It was built in dedication to the mother of Jayavarman VII.

Preah Khan Temple

Ta Prohm can become crowded quickly as it is the more well known of the overgrown temples to see. Preah Khan provides a wonderful alternative where fewer tourists venture. In a similar overgrown style to Ta Prohm, visitors can often enjoy having Preah Khan to themselves and feeling like a true explorer.

This temple, the name of which means “sacred sword” most likely served as the temporary residence of Jayavarman VII while his bigger home was in the process of being built.

Preah Khan was dedicated to over 500 divinites and hosted no less than 18 festivals during the year. While it was active, thousands of people lived and worked here to help maintain the space, as it saw so much buzz and activity.

Prasat Kravan Temple

Though on the smaller end of the Angkor temples, Prasat Kravan packs a punch. Especially when it comes to the beautiful and intricate stone carvings on the walls of its interior. This is a Hindu temple, built in the year 921, unique for the fact that it was not built by or for royalty at the time. It is set apart from the main complex, but it you have extra time during your Angkor exploration, dedicate it to Prasat Kravan.

Phnom Bakheng Temple

Built on a hilltop overlooking the temple complex, Phnom Bakheng is an ideal location from which to watch the sunset. Though make sure you allow enough time to get there early - 4pm is a good bet - as only 300 people are allowed up to the main sunset viewing area at one time. This is strictly enforced for safety as well as preservation. The sunset from this vantage point is well worth it however, so try to calculate it into your Angkor tour.

This was the first temple-mountain built in Angkor, for the ruler  Yasovarman I. It has five tiers and seven levels, representing the seven Hindu heavens.

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