If you’ve been dreaming of a trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you should pack your bags and go for it!
Our family spent 5 nights in Siem Reap so we could tour temples, experience a culture totally different from ours and eat great food. We were not disappointed!
In this post, I’m going to show you the temples that we visited and give you a few tips too.
First up, you need to get an Angkor Pass to the Angkor Complex. Tickets can only be purchased at the Angkor Ticket Office, the official ticket center. We opted for the 3 day pass (which is valid for 10 days).
Don’t miss the Angkor National Museum ! Some people suggest that you head here before touring temples. That way you get an overview on the history before you go.
But, however it works for you timing wise, you should plan a trip. It’s really well done! We thoroughly enjoyed the great museum.
Angkor Wat was the first temple that we visited. After getting our passes, our driver dropped us off here and we walked across a floating walkway towards the huge temple complex.
Tip-If you go to the temples by car it will cost you more but you will come back (hot and sweaty) to a cool car with ice water and cold, wet washcloths! You can go by motorbike or tuk tuk, and that’s cheaper but it’s hot and dusty.
On your ride to the temples, you will see lots of bottles of yellow liquid at roadside stands. This is actually gasoline for the motorbikes because there aren’t gas stations near the temples.
Tip-There is no need to pre-arrange a guide at the major temples. There were licensed, legit guides readily available.
In my previous post, I gave you an overview of Angkor Wat. It’s a huge complex and a lot of it will be walking in the hot sun with no shade so plan accordingly. It’s pretty amazing and awe inspiring!
The next temple was probably my favorite. It had less crowds than Angkor Wat too! It was the late 12th century Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom, the capital city of the Khmer empire.
This awesome temple is known as the “face temple” and has huge heads with smiling and serene faces looking down at you!
The entrance to the temple is pretty amazing. As you drive across the moat you will see 54 “devas” or guardian gods on one side and 54 “asuras” or demon gods on the other side. They recreate a famous story from Hindu Mythology-The Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
While exploring the temple, a young monk approach us. He wanted to say hello to the girls and have his picture taken with us. With his permission (remember the rules from my previous post!) we took one with him.
The third temple that we visited was Ta Prohm. This temple is affectionately known as the “Tomb Raider Temple”.
Much as Lord of the Rings is a national treasure for New Zealand, Cambodians love to talk about Tomb Raider and Angelina Jolie.
Ta Prohm is a cool temple set in a jungle setting also built in the late 12th century.
On our way to the temple, we encountered lots and lots of monkeys.
Tip-visit this temple before 9am to avoid busses of tourists!
The next temple that we saw was Pre Rup. Pre Rup means “turning the body”. It’s said that this temple might have been used as a Royal crematorium.
The last temple that we toured was Ta Som. It’s a small temple, late 12th century and not crowded.
We really enjoyed it here!
There are many temples to visit and you can easily spend a week. I’m sure we missed many great sights but you just can’t see it all in one short trip. That’s too exhausting!
My general advice is to go very early, take a break during the day, then go back in the late afternoon/early evening. Drink water!
And most importantly, be a good tourist! Be respectful, don’t litter, dress appropriately and smile!