Angkor Wat has been capturing the imagination of travellers, artists, scholars for generations. Nestled amidst forests and padi fields, it was once voted as the most spiritual places on earth. It had been one of my dreams to visit it, so you can imagine my excitement as I arrive at this holy grail of travel destination.
Angkor Wat is one of the world’s largest hindu temple complex, but it’s merely one of the many ruins found in Angkor Archaeological Park. It can be a daunting task trying to plan your visit, i.e. how many days, what’s the best way to see it, etc. You can get a 1-day, 3-day and 7-day pass. Honestly 1-day is too little and 7-day might be too much.
I like to travel slow in order to see more, but it’s just not possible to see all the sights of Angkor by bicycle. So what I do is, to go by tuk-tuk to see all the main sites on the first day, and the further ones on the second day. Then on the third day, I rent a bicycle and go back to the sites that I like to spend more time there.
The first 2 days are overwhelming, so much to take in and I get emotionally drained by the end of the day. I have a very wonderful 3rd day. I have the whole Bayon to myself watching the hundreds of faces change colour and texture as the sun comes up. It is my favourite moment of Angkor. And as I cycle I see more: workers doing repair works on some ruins, uniformed school kids waving at me, some even race me on their bicycles
You can get a tuk-tuk from USD10 to USD15 per day to take you around the main sites. But more expensive to the other sites further away. You can rent a bicycle almost everywhere in Siem Reap. Don’t pay more than USD2 per day. Remember that the sites is 6km from Siem Reap so start off early and be prepared for rain. .
It can be difficult to get away from the hordes of tourists in Angkor. Most tour follow certain route (sunrise at Angkor Wat, follow by Bayon, sunset at Phnom Bakheng), so try to avoid these sites at these times.