Angkor Wat & All Her Glory

Built in the 12th century by the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world. My visit to this massive historical site was nothing short of mind-blowing.

Angkor Wat is one of many temples in Siem Reap. You can easily spend daysss exploring all of the temples. To enter any one temple, you must purchase a temple pass. One day is $37, three days is $62, and seven days is $72. Having had experience exploring temples in Indonesia last month, I know how exhausting it can be. Knowing this (along with the steep price tag), I decided to do the one day pass. This turned out to be the right choice for me.

There are several ways to “do” Angkor Wat. Big loop, small loop, motorbike, or tuk tuk. Contrary to what I thought, you cannot walk to Angkor Wat. I mean, you could if you wanted to but it’s far af. It is about a 20-minute drive to the temple itself then another ten minutes or so drive between each temple. Mix that distance with the summer heat (upwards of 90-100F), and you’ve got DEATH. You can pay about $20 for an all day tuk-tuk driver, $15 for an all day motorbike, or $3 for a bicycle. I decided to rent myself a motorbike and do the small loop to five of the main temples: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Kdei.

The purple line is the small loop. The red line is the big loop and goes to twice as many temples.

The purple line is the small loop. The red line is the big loop and goes to twice as many temples.

1. Angkor Wat

6AM: Sunrise was beautiful. Although everyone crowds around the lake because the reflection looks good in pictures, you can easily watch sunrise anywhere else in the field. It is HUGE. You want solitude? It’s just a few feet away from the crowd.

Beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat

Beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat

But don't forget the crowds! hahaha

But don't forget the crowds! hahaha

angkor wat 2

Five hours. That’s how much time I spent at Angkor Wat. FIVE! This place was hugeeee. And the detail, so beautiful!

Mind you, this was the 12th century. They didn’t have rulers, machines, etc. They did all this by hand? by mind? Like, what?!

Mind you, this was the 12th century. They didn’t have rulers, machines, etc. They did all this by hand? by mind? Like, what?!

2. Angkor Thom

A ten minute ride down the road. This temple was also gorgeous! Full of Buddha faces and fascinating hallway doors.

angkor thom

3. Ta Keo

This one was a lot smaller in scale, but it was so tall! Each step on the stairs was nearly one foot tall, you had to hold on to dear life so you don’t slip, fall and die. A fear of heights? Good luck.

ta keo

4. Ta Prohm

This is the one with the cool trees that overtake the temple! Loved this one!

Ta Phrom

5. Banteay Kdei

Far less spectacular than the others (can't blame her though, seems completing with gods!), but still special in her own way.

I met Pa, she is 79. She blessed me with long life and good health to live to be 100. I told her I’ll go to 100 only if it looks as good as her. She smiled.

I met Pa, she is 79. She blessed me with long life and good health to live to be 100. I told her I’ll go to 100 only if it looks as good as her. She smiled.

10 hours of temples. Exhaustion is an understatement. I am glad I did the one-day pass because lord knows I would not be up for another two days of temples, temples, and more temples. One day was definitely enough (for me, at least), just make sure to make it worth it by spending ALL day there. Don’t rush it. Take time to explore every corner, admire the history, & aimlessly wander. ENJOY!

TIPS:

Was sunrise worth it? YES. Not only the beauty of sunrise, but you’ll definitely want to get started early because by the time 10am hits, the heat is something else.

Buy your temple pass either the night before (you can buy next-day passes at 5pm the day before) or get to the ticket office by 4:45am & stand in line. There are multiple lines which is great, but it kind of takes a while because they take a picture and print it on the pass. Get there early so you can move on to get your spot for sunrise.

Dress appropriate. To visit temples, you basically need to wear something that covers your shoulders and knees. Mind as well dress cute too since you’re going to be taking tons of pictures ha! But dress light! Because again, the heat.

TOTAL COST FOR THE DAY: $76

$37 Angkor wat
$15 motorbike
$7 breakfast
$9 late lunch
$4 gas for motorbike
$4 hostel (shared room)