Introduction To Angkor Wat

WELCOME TO SIEM REAP-ANGKOR

Set in the northwest of Cambodia, Siem Reap is best known for being home to the incredible Angkor Wat, a sprawling World Heritage-listed complex of ancient temple ruins. While Angkor is surely one of the globe’s most amazing historical sites, Siem Reap province is also home to an array of other ruins, such as Beng Mealea and Bantaey Srei, so if Khmer ruins are your thing, this province must be explored. Ruins aside, the province is expansive, running along the north coast of the Tonle Sap and north to Oddar Meanchey province. Few visitors get around here.

The provincial capital of Siem Reap is also a transportation hub, with many people coming through here en route to Phnom Penh, Poipet (then Thailand) or by boat to Battambang.

Siem Reap’s international airport now takes in more tourists daily than the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Mass tourism has well and truly arrived to this part of Cambodia.

This section as intended as a guide for visiting the monuments at Angkor. It can be either read in advance of a visit or afterwords to reinforce the experience, or used at the sites to enable the visitor to be an active spectators. Historical quotes from early visitors to Angkor are included where appropriate to try to capture the spirit of its past glory.

Legends and symbolism are also included whenever feasible to give the visitor additional background for a better appreciation of Angkor.

VISITING THE MONUMENTS

It is based on the amount of time the visitor has to spend at Angkor and take into consideration the roads, proximity of the temples, and favorable light condition. For some temples it is important to begin at the principal entrances are indicated in the text.

Angkor provides wonderful photographic opportunities. The monuments and the surrounding jungle afford unlimited textural and lighting opportunities for composing a picture. Clouds are common and tend to diffuse the light, which is somewhat flat, even though it is intense. As most of the temples face east the best lighting conditions are in the morning except for Angkor Wat where the best light is in the afternoon because it faces west. The temples surrounded by jungle such as Ta Prohm and Prah Khan can be photographed with good result when the sun is directly overhead and shining through the foliage.

THE TEMPLES COMPLEX LIST

  • Angkor Wat
  • Ta Prohm Kel
  • Phnom Bakheng
  • Baksei Chamkrong
  • Prasat Bei
  • Thma Bay Kaek
  • Angkor Thom
  • Bayon
  • Baphuon
  • Elephant Terrace
  • Leper King Terrace
  • Phimeanakas
  • Royal Palace
  • Tep Pranam
  • Preas Palilay
  • Preas Pithu
  • Prasat TopSuor
  • Prat Towers
  • Khleang
  • Thommanon
  • Chov Say
  • Tevoda
  • Spean Thma
  • Chapel of Hospital
  • Ta Nei
  • Ta Keo
  • Ta Prohm
  • Banteay Kdei
  • Srah Srong
  • Prasat Kravan
  • Bat Chum
  • Pre Rup
  • East Mebon
  • Banteay Samre
  • Neak Pean
  • Preah Khan
  • Banteay Prei
  • Krol Ko
  • Ta Som
  • West Mebon
  • Ak Yum
  • Preah Ko
  • Bakong
  • Phnom Bok
  • Phnom Krom
  • Wat Athvea
  • Banteay Srey
  • Kbal Spean
  • Phnom Kulen
  • Beng Malea
  • Koh Ker
  • Banteay Chmar

ANGKOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

Admission / How Long to Stay

You must possess an admission pass to visit the temples and sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. Free photos are provided at the main entrance, though this can be a time consuming process at peak entrance hours.

Visiting hours are 5:00AM - 6:00PM. Angkor Wat closes at 6:00PM, Banteay Srey closes at 5:00PM and Kbal Spean at 3:00PM. Always carry your ticket. It will be checked upon each park entry and at major temples. There is a significant fine for not possessing a valid ticket inside the park. A regular admission ticket is not required to visit Phnom Kulen, Koh Ker or Beng Melea, but there is a separate entrance fee of $20, $10 and $5, respectively.

What to Bring

Wear light, airy, covering clothing to protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes. The sun can be intense so bring a hat, sunglasses and perhaps sunscreen. Consider buying a traditional Khmer scarf (krama) to keep the sun off your neck. Carry a raincoat during the wet season, though you will probably only need it in the afternoon. You should have mosquito repellent for sunrise and sunset hours. Wear practical shoes for climbing narrow steps and walking on uneven surfaces. For serious temple explorers, a flashlight, notebook and compass can come in handy. Books, refreshments, trinkets, postcards and film are available from small vendors throughout the temple complex.

Transportation to and around the Temples

The temples are too far apart to make foot travel practical (though some hearty visitors are hiking it anyway). Transportation options include: two-person motorcycle trailers (‘moto-romauk’) car taxis, motorcycle taxi (‘motodup’); bicycles. Transportation to the temples is usually hired by the day. Prices go up for distant temples (e.g. Banteay Srey, Phnom Kulen, Kbal Spean, Koh Ker, Beng Melea). Kimsan can arrange transportation for you.

Motorcycle Taxis and Trailers (Moto-romauks, ‘tuk-tuks’)
Bicycle Rental
Electric Bicycles
Motorcycle Rental

Tourists are no longer allowed to rent motorcycles or cars, or drive a vehicle in Siem Reap.
And other ways of getting around the temples…

Elephant Rides

During the day, elephants await customers near Bayon and at the South Gate of Angkor Thom and they offer rides between those two points. $15 for a 20-30 minute ride. In the evenings the elephants move from Bayon and are stationed at the base of Phnom Bakheng, ready to transport passengers up the hill for sunset ($20 for the ride up and, if you chose to ride down instead of walk, $15 for the ride down.)

Helicopter Rides
Balloon Rides

Price $15 per person and it takes 10mn