7 Tips For Making The Most Of Angkor Wat

7 tips for making the most of your time at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat from the reflection pool. You can get this print from my Pixels store.

Almost every visitor to Cambodia visits Angkor Wat. While the main temple is amazing, it's not the only thing to see inside the Angkor Wat National Park. Ta Prohm and Preah Khan are both incredible and more interestingly you can still get great photos in the middle of the day due to the heavy foilage around both sites. Here is my top tips for visiting this UNESCO heritage site.


1. Get There For The Dawn

I know it means a 4am start but lets be honest, you are getting up for a pre-dawn start at Angkor Wat. It's worth it.

People are usually amazingly quiet and it really is something to see going from pitch black to seeing the sunrise over the roof of the temple. Please note that people can get very competitive over the best reflection pool spot, so take care and remember where you are. Just because someone else acts like a tool doesn't mean you have to.


2. Take Note Of The Scale

Let yourself we awed by the shear scale of it all. Stand in a corner and appreciate the size of everything around you. The details are infinate but it's the scale that is really mind blowing.

Can you imagine what it must have taken and how long it must have taken to build something like this?

3. Get Inside Early

If you are a good photographer and you are wanting the perfect shot over the reflection pool, sure stay there and snap away. HOWEVER if its the experience you are after, leave the pool, head in around the back and go into the temple when you are the only ones there.

We managed to get at least an hour inside the temple, on our own.

Angkor Wat main temple all to ourselves.

How many times is that going to happen in your life. Get inside. It's worth it. Don't waste the time either, find a spot and for at least 10 minutes sit and contemplate whatever you want to but just enjoy the serenity and the location.


4. Pay Attention To The Details

Once you are inside Angkor Wat there is so much to see. Its easy to get lost in it all and dismiss the little details. Take this carving for example. I was looking at this for a few minutes before I could see the people. I thought it was just a pretty filagree carving but once I saw the people I saw EVERYTHING.

Originally a Hindu temple build to honor the god Vishnu the main temple was eventually changed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. The various influences over the temple aren't immediately obvious, however as you move through you can see instances of items that don't quite seem to belong. You will understand what I mean once you are inside.

5. The Plant Life

While the buildings are amazing the plant life and how its taken hold of some parts of the park completely is quite something to see. From the waterlilies flowering in the lakes to the strangler figs taking over Ta Phrom, the vegetation will blow your mind.

6. Take Time For The Whole Park

The Angkor Wat park isn't just for the main temple. There are many many more temples and ruins inside the park. Getting yourself a good map or driver will ensure you don't miss the main sights and if they time it correctly you can see almost all of it in a day.

Some of the lesser ruins are actually pretty educational as to what life might have been like at Angkor Wat's peak. A lot of people hired pushbikes but I do think that a tuk tuk is your best option. Negotiate a day rate and stick with the driver.

7. Brand Your Driver!

When your driver leaves you at the first temple, get out of your Tuk Tuk and tie something you will remember around the bike. Trust me when you come out of that temple at 9am and there are hundreds of Tuk Tuk's in the carpark – you will be glad to recognise yours. Make sure you ask your drivers name and record it somewhere.

It is so embarrassing to be scouting for your driver, who you only met for 20 mins, in the dark not even knowing his name. Make note of what he was wearing, or his hat or something significant so that if he is not at the Tuk Tuk, you can go looking for him with some hope of actually finding him.

I hope these tips will help you to make the most out of your day at Angkor Wat National Park. Please let me know what you loved the most and of course any of your own tips to get the most out of this beautiful UNESCO Cambodian site.


More photos of Angkor Wat Temples

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Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 101 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She's always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes.

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