One Day in Angkor Wat

One Day in Angkor Wat

Cost

Being the biggest religious monument in the world means that any description of Angkor Wat simply won’t do it justice. Built by the Khmer king in the 12th century the ancient ruins is impressive but slowly decaying as materials crumble, trees begin to take over, and the constant mass of people walking through its doorways and along pathways daily. You essentially have the option of a one-day pass ($20), a three-day pass ($40), or a week ($60). As we were in a rush and to be honest as much as I can appreciate the beauty of an ancient relic like Angkor, I’m not the history buff that can spend hours in each temple and make it a multi-day experience – so we chose one-day.

Two Options for Seeing Angkor Wat

There is essentially two ways to see the temples. The first is to rent a bicycle and head out before sunrise early in the morning from Siem Reap and begin touring the temples slowly at your own will (Bike rental is $2-$4/day). This is a common way to experience the temples if you plan on making it a multi-day experience – pack a lunch, bring some warm clothing, and enjoy a nice lull of biking through the archways of Angkor and having picnics in some beautiful locations. The Second option is to hire a Tuk-Tuk Guide for the morning or full-day and whiz past the coasting bikers and hit all the main spots in a 6-hour span.

What We Chose

IMG_6562

The Batmobile

This is where we met the Batman. Using Trip Advisor, the Batman is the #1 rated Tuk-Tuk driver in Siem Reap and for a good reason. For one, he’s hilarious and is quite frankly the fastest vehicle on the road. He’s knowledgeable about the entire ancient city, he really cares about his customers and more importantly their reviews, and his bright green Tuk-Tuk has a 250cc bike on the front and is littered with Batman symbols. For about 6-hours throughout the temples including a stop for breakfast (where we were brought to a local Cambodian restaurant and enjoyed $1 rice porridge) the cost is $18. While you can find other Tuk-Tuk’s for as low as $12, in my opinion is that they just don’t compare to the experience with the Batman.

The Schedule

Starting at 5:30am we groggily stepped into the Tuk-Tuk and sped off whipping around every other vehicle until we reached Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise over its massive columns. Our route in around Angkor Wat entailed:

  • Sunrise at Angkor Wat – Yes, we started with the big one. While it was serene watching the sun slowly rise over Angkor Wat, the mass amount of people waiting beside you shivering in the cold kind of took away from the experience (we ended up walking in early to avoid crowds). I`d recommend saving Angkor for last since while the tertiary temples are amazing, they don`t compare to Angkor Wat.
    IMG_0545

    Angkor’s Main Pillars

    I've never seen so many DSLR's in one place

    I’ve never seen so many DSLR’s in one place

  • Visit Angkor Thom – This temple is smaller in size but just as intricate in design. There are 54 faces etches into the stone that create a cool aura when walking around this temple.

    You're being watched

    You’re being watched

  • Preah Khan – While still impressive, this temple serves to let you mind rest a little from the expanse of Angkor Wat & Thom.
  • Quick stop to Ta Som – Again, cool, but in my opinion the best is yet to come.
"It'll hold"
“It’ll hold”

 

Take in Ta Prohm – This is the temple perhaps most photographic in Angkor Wat, that`s right it`s the one with the trees growing all over it. If you want to feel like a ruin explorer and be inside an environment that at time you`re surprised you`re allowed to walk through you`ve come to the right place. Take your time here and enjoy seeing how the growth of the jungle has taken over, eroded, and slowly destroyed this temple. It feels like the jungle is trying to swallow it whole. Spend time crawling through rubble, dodging the crowds in the big photo spots, and soaking in the best temple of the day (in my opinion).

Relic hunting anyone?
Relic hunting anyone?

 

Simply Beautiful
Simply Beautiful

 

  • Head on home – As you`re mind has just been re-charged with sensation take the Tuk-Tuk ride back to Siem Reap as a chance to relish in everything you`ve just experienced.
12th Century carving of a stegosaurus in Angkor? Yep.

12th Century carving of a stegosaurus in Angkor? Yep.

If you’re travelling through Cambodia, Angkor Wat really isn’t something to be missed. You’re awestruck at the sheer size and quality of a relic built in the 12th century and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt within the span of two centuries. The intricate carving throughout every temple make the magnitude of the structure seem unreal. The place seems to carry an aura about it. However, after Angkor Wat it’s difficult to see any temple in South East Asia and have an unbiased viewpoint!

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