There is so much more to this area than just the temples. You will need a few days to make the trip worthwhile when visiting Angkor Wat Cambodia
Angkor Archaeological Complex
I was ignorant. I originally thought Angkor Wat was a temple you went to see and that was it. I learned that there are hundreds of temples to visit. Obviously some are nicer and better preserved than others. The most common trips are the creatively named Big Loop and Small Loop. Between the two you will cover many of the top sites at Angkor.
Arrival into Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is the closest city to Angkor. There are 25 airlines that fly into Siem Reap, from many places in Asia including Seoul, Hanoi, Hong Kong and Bangkok (only a one hour flight).
If you want to be adventurous, fly into Bangkok and take my wild overland border crossing.
Check to see that your hotel in Siem Reap has free airport pickup. Most do. Otherwise expect to pay about $5 USD. Note that your transportation will likely be a tuk-tuk.
Though the Cambodian Riel is the official currency, the American dollar is actually the most commonly used currency. Prices everywhere are listed in American dollars.
We found Siem Reap to be very cheap. We had $3 meals and stayed in a nice $27 hotel a five minute walk to the Old Market, and even closer to the Night Market
Electricity in Cambodia is 220 volts. The plugs are the same as those in Europe. Laptops and cell phones are designed to operate on 110 volts or 220 volts so those should be fine. If you come from a country like the United States, all you need is an adaptor.
However, if you come from a country that operates on 110 volts (like the United States), for other appliances you will need a voltage converter.
There are tourist areas where you will spend $10 or more for a meal. Or you can walk a block over and get a delicious meal from a local restaurant for about $3. We opted for local restaurants, usually near the Old Market by the river. The food was delicious.
I don’t know what this is, but I got it for $0.50.
Everywhere I went, everyone spoke English.
After a long day of sightseeing, you can find many places in town offering massages for $5 or under.
If you are looking for clubs, this is the place to go, especially at night. It’s in the heart of the old town.
It’s also where you can watch people eat things like scorpions on a stick and beetles.
Chaos. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. There are lines on the road but few people follow them. There are no stop lights or signs.
Sometimes you are going down the road and there is a vehicle coming at your on both your left and right side.
Leave the driving to the locals.
Transportation around town
If you stay near the Old Market you can walk anywhere. If you stay a little farther out, there are plenty of tuk-tuks to whisk you around for a dollar or two.
The Angkor Archaeolgical Complex is about a half hour north of Siem Reap. You can rent a car (which some people prefer because of the air conditioning).
We chose to hire a tuk-tuk driver (we were in Cambodia; we can drive in a car back home). There are drivers all over who are eager to drive you around. Your hotel will most probably be able to arrange a driver for you. We hired a driver for $15 for the Small Circuit, $17 for the Big Circuit, and a third day for $15 to drive us to some other temples. The driver will take you to a temple and drop you off and wait as long as you want until you are done and then drive you to the next temple. Because of the heat we started at sunrise and finished up around noon or 1:00 each day.
You will need to buy a ticket at the entrance to the complex. Prices are 1 day $37; 3 day $62; 7 day $72.
To get an “extra” day, if you get your ticket within an hour of closing time, you can get in that day without it costing a day.
I would suggest getting at least a 3 day pass as there are too many things to see in only one day.
A tourist visa is required. You can get one on arrival, but it does take time. It is much easier to get an e-visa before your trip. Be sure to use the official Cambodian government visa site. www.evisa.gov.kh The cost was $30 plus a $6 fee.
Visiting Angkor Wat Cambodia Archaeological Complex
There is so much to cover that I wrote a separate post about our tours of Angkor.
It’s friggin’ hot in Cambodia. We went in January and we were very hot in the middle of the day. It’s a little cooler in the morning and evening, but not much cooler.