Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Things to Know Before Visiting The Best Temples Of Angkor

The temples of Angkor are definitely the top must-see tourist attractions in Cambodia and no doubt among the top must-sees in the world. Visiting Angkor we have the opportunity to adore the talented Khmers for the unbelievably creative works: The ancient city with so developed hydraulic system, the temples and temple ruins unrivaled in scale, in splendor and in exquisite details...

 Most visitors to Angkor have a limited amount of time from one day to a week and most want to see as much of Angkor as possible. Our general advice is DON'T. Do not attempt to rush from one temple to another and do not hurry visiting a site worrying that you are running out of time! The temples of Angkor must be savored, they must be adored slowly and thoroughly; if possible, come back to the temples at a different time of the day and see the difference.

There are a few guidelines you may want to know to get the most from your visits to the Angkor Temples. Keep in mind that there are also exceptions to these guidelines and compromise that you should make weighing on the pros and cons based on your personal wishes. Those of you who visit the temples of Angkor on Paradissa’s Cambodia luxury tours, then our luxury travel specialists will do everything for you for certain.

Firstly, if a temple faces east then you should visit it in the morning and those facing west should be visited in the afternoon. The reason is that you do not have to squint looking against the sunlight and your photos will be nicer.

Secondly, avoiding the crowds when visiting Angkor is hard nowadays as most temples are more likely to be full of tourists all day, but the most quiet time to visit a temple is about mid day when most group tours go back to Siem Reap City for lunch. Mid day is also about the hottest time and make sure you have sunglasses or hats/umbrellas visiting the temples at this time. Bring some drinking water along as you'll have to walk and climb a lot. Also, it is important to know that appropriate attire is required when visiting the temples of Angkor: pants covering knees and shirts having sleeves covering shoulders; people in clothes revealing the body are denied from buying entrance tickets and entering the temples. The visitors should read the full code of conduct when buying the entrance tickets.

The temples with foliage and sunshade all day are Phimeanakas, Royal Enclosure, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Banteay Kdei and farther afield Beng Mealea. The temples without good foliage or sunshade are those of the Roluos Group, Angkor Wat, Bayon, Baphuon, Ta Keo, Neak Pean, East Mebon, Pre Rup, Prasat Kravan, Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre.

Thirdly early morning (5-7 A.M) and late in the afternoon (5-6 P.M) are nice to visit and take photos of the temples of Angkor. The best places for these moments are Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup.

For those who do not want to get up early, do not want to hurry when visiting Angkor, and who have 4 full days for the Angkor temples, Paradissa would suggest an itinerary as below. You can do it differently and still enjoy your visit for certain. Those with longer stays in Siem Reap can come back to the temples of your interests or take a half-a-day excursion on the Tonle Sap Lake. Those with shorter time can decide which temples to be visited and which should be missed easily; except for Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei most temples are within 15km one from another.

Day 1: Have a huge breakfast (you won't have time for lunch) and have easy time checking out how life is about in Siem Reap City. Then depart for the Beng Mealea Temple at 09:30 or 10:00 A.M. You'll arrive at around 1100-1130 A.M when most group tours have concluded their visits. Have Beng Mealea to yourself then. Get lost amid the fable-like world of Beng Mealea and make it as slowly and thoroughly as you can. Late afternoon can be for sunset and Phnom Bakheng or Angkor Wat, or just easy time for cold beer in Siem Reap.

A ruin at the Beng Mealea Temple
A ruin at the Beng Mealea Temple

 

A part of Beng Mealea encroached by the forest
A part of Beng Mealea encroached by the forest

Day2: Depart your hotel at 09:30 A.M or 10:00 A.M and visit the Phnom Bakheng, the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon. Bring along a small bottle of water as you'll have been very thirsty by the time you conclude your visit at Bayon and drinks here are extremely expensive! Walk your way under lovely foliage to Baphuon. Quite some climbing in bright sunlight at Baphuon, then lovely walk amid a forest to the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants.

Your car should be ready to bring you out of the walled city of Angkor Thom via the eastern Victory Gate. Stop and have a brief visit to the twin temples of Thommanon and Chau Say Tevoda. Proceed further for lunch near Ta Keo Temple. Enjoy a visit by yourself at Ta Keo (no foliage or sunshade, some climbing required). Make your visit slowly and thoroughly!

Leave for Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei after that. If you are lucky then group tours should have concluded their visits at these temples after the middle of the afternoon. These two are lovely temples and for no reason should you not make it slowly and thoroughly. Take a lot of photos, your eyes may have been tired by now but not your camera. You'll be more sorry for not taking enough photos than for taking too many, you don't like a photo you can always delete it later! Try to relax as much as possible during your visit though. Later in the day you can decide to visit Angkor Wat or just take photographs here at sunset, or just go back to Siem Reap.

View of the surrounding fresh nature from Phnom Bakheng
View of the surrounding fresh nature from Phnom Bakheng

 

The enigmatic faces at the Bayon Temple
The enigmatic faces at the Bayon Temple

 

A corner of the Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom
A corner of the Baphuon Temple at Angkor Thom

 

The Ta Prohm Temple
The Ta Prohm Temple

 

Inside the Banteay Kdei Temple
Inside the Banteay Kdei Temple

Day3: Take the Grand Circuit. Huge breakfast (no lunch!) and 0930-1000 AM departure for Preah Khan. Another wonderful temple just like Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei. Make it slowly here. Then a lovely walk on a long and narrow bridge to Neak Pean. The temple is nothing but the walk amid the reservoir is lovely! Then visit a small but very lovely temple of Ta Som. Try to relax during your visit, this is a lovely temple. Then proceed to East Mebon and Pre Rup. These 2 lovely temples should not take much of your time. Later make a full visit to Angkor Wat. Spend as much time here as possible and do not miss the magical sunset today.

The reservoir at Neak Pean
The reservoir at Neak Pean

 

The Pre Rup Temple
The Pre Rup Temple

 

The Eastern Gate of Angkor Wat
The Eastern Gate of Angkor Wat

 

The Bakong Temple of the Roluos Group
The Bakong Temple of the Roluos Group

Day4: You may like to start earlier or as late as on the other days depending on your departure flight. If you spend another night in Siem Reap or your flight is in the evening, then make it as late as the other days, else make it as early as 0800 A.M. The morning is for the Roluos Temples: Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei. Then leave for lunch somewhere near Banteay Srei. Visit Banteay Srei after lunch. On the way back to Siem Reap, visit Banteay Samre – a somehow “hidden gem”. You may like to stop and visit Prasat Kravan and take photographs at Angkor Wat before proceeding to the airport or back to Siem Reap.

The Banteay Srei Temple
The Banteay Srei Temple

 

The Banteay Samre Temple
The Banteay Samre Temple