ANGKOR WAT RUINS IN A DAY

After leaving the hotel at 4.30am to catch the beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat, we spent a day exploring the fascinating and expansive complex of ruins. Yes this heritage site can get extremely busy but you can see why once you start exploring. A single day ticket costs $20 with most hotels offering cheap tuk-tuk trips for around $10.

We found a gap in the row of people opposite the temple, next to a small lake – ideal for those gorgeous reflection shots. As the super organised person I am, I settled down on the lake edge and munched on a cereal bar whilst Calum set up his tripod and camera. Unfortunately we visited on a bit of a murky day but did manage to get some nice shots.

Once the sun rises, most people take their photo and start exploring the temples. We hovered for longer to take some more photos (about 20 minutes) so by the time we did head into the Angkor Wat Temple it was fairly quiet, allowing for some great shots. Climb the steps, weave through the pillars and stare in awe at the expansive open squared rooms.

Once you have got your fill of Angkor Wat, head back to the entrance where you’ll be whisked off by your tuk-tuk driver (hence the need to book a tuk-tuk driver for the whole morning) to Bayon Temple. This is perhaps my favourite temple in this collection of ruins, with gloriously carved faces into the stone temple. Climb to the top for some great pictures but be careful of the crumbling stone around the edges of the temple.

Next you can head to Preah Khan temple, Thommanom and Chau Say Thevoda temple – they aren’t as impressive or expansive as the first two but usually tend to be a bit quieter.

Then head to Ta Prohm Temple, made famous from its appearance in the Tomb Raider movie. Here you will find a natural jungle growing around, within and on top of this ancient temple. Again, this place allows for some great photo opportunities but is often very busy and it can be difficult to navigate through the crowd, pillars and walkways.

The Angkor Wat ruins demonstrates an amazing history of people and should be high on many bucket lists. Just remember to catch up on sleep and rest after the long day before heading to Pub Street for a few drinks in the evening.

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Angkor Wat Ruins in a Day
Angkor Wat Ruins in a day
Angkor Wat Ruins in a Day
Romantic Budget Hotels Click The Image Below to Pin
Angkor Wat Ruins in a day
Romantic Budget Hotels Click The Image Above to Pin
Showing 37 comments
  • The Wandy
    Reply

    Wow, seems a great place to visit. I’m a major history buff, would surely refer your post whenever I plan to visit there!!

  • Rachelle
    Reply

    Okay, so I seriously want to go to Angkor Wat next year! Loved this post and pinned it for my trip-planning! I think your shots were awesome, even if you said it was a murky day. It just adds to the mystical presence of the location!

  • Alexandria Iveson
    Reply

    I am dreaming of a trip round Asia, including Angkor Wat – great tips! xx

  • Lydia Smith
    Reply

    Your post and pictures are amazing. I was really convinced about Angkor Wat being a lovely place. If time and finances permit, I might be ending the year’s trip in Angkor Wat. Thanks for the tips.

  • Tasha Amy
    Reply

    I have no idea how you managed to get photos with minimal people in them! I visited in April and had such a tough time avoiding the crowds

    • Katie
      Reply

      Yeah we held back for a bit, we found after a little while, people mingled off into the temple itself. Plus, if you can get on the lake edge then you just get lake in front of you! πŸ™‚

  • Karen
    Reply

    Great article. My mum’s been and it’s on the list. Kx

  • raquel
    Reply

    This post has brought me back such good memories of my trip to Angkor Wat. I really loved the sunrise there too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelly
    Reply

    The grounds look huge! It’s always a bummer when the weather is a bit of a downer, but the temple still looks so impressive!

  • yukti
    Reply

    Angkor Wat is on my wishlist since many years. I would take all your recommendations about tuk-tuks, getting up at 4;30 for catching a sunrise and all for planning my trip. Creative tip given by you is really helpful, as it states how to avoid crowd and enjoy the place peacefully.

    • Katie
      Reply

      Thanks Yukti! Glad you enjoyed the post! πŸ™‚

  • Lisa
    Reply

    Angkor Wat is still on my must see list. Great tips especially lingering awhile after sunrise. THanks

  • Christine
    Reply

    Wow, what a day trip! It looks gorgeous! I hope to visit one day!

  • Mina
    Reply

    I got to visit the Angkor heritage earlier this year and it was a dream come true. I loved Cambodia in general but all the history around Siem Reap is really amazing. Thank you for reminding me that πŸ™‚

  • Sabine
    Reply

    I really loved Angkor Wat, there is so much to see and so many lovely temples. I guess my favourite is Angkor Wat as well. I kept on going back to just sit, hang around and enjoy the area. Loved it!

  • Tatum Skipper
    Reply

    I really love that creative tip drop down menu…my friend actually got married in ruins before, not like this but with all the history and culture behind them, all ruins seem to be amazing. At only $20 too that’s not bad to see a piece of history!

    • Katie
      Reply

      Thanks Tatum, glad you like the drop down! πŸ™‚ and wow getting married there sounds amazing! Bet they had beautiful wedding pictures!!

  • Jen
    Reply

    This is so helpful! I’m planning a one day trip here and had been planning on just throwing myself at the mercy of a driver haha πŸ™‚

    • Katie
      Reply

      Yeah the drivers around here are fantastic!

  • Victoria Alicia
    Reply

    The Bayon Temple looks captivating. Is that some renovations I see going on?

    • Katie
      Reply

      yeah unfortunately we were there just as they were washing it! I think they do it once a year to keep it safe!

  • Ana
    Reply

    This is high on my bucket list, maybe after Peru. Good tips, but damn… 4.30 am. You are my hero :)) I’d rather not sleep through the night :)))

  • Fran Norero
    Reply

    This is such an amazing place with so much history. Really want to go thanks for the info

  • Sandy
    Reply

    Looking forward to visiting Angor Wat next year πŸ˜€

  • Caroline
    Reply

    I am dying to go to Angkor wat! Such a helpful guide and such gorgeous photos!

  • Suzie
    Reply

    I love Angkor! I highly recommend Ta Keo, it is small and pretty unknown, but it sticks up over the rainforest and gives some beautiful views! I’m also slightly biased as it is where my husband proposed to me!

    • Katie
      Reply

      aww that is so beautiful!!

  • Julz
    Reply

    Ahh this is one of these place i want to go to so bad! I hope our travels will take us back to asia and i will het a chance to go. Am pinning for future reference

  • James
    Reply

    There are some useful tips here on visiting the temples. That’s a good tip about booking a tuk tuk for the whole day, you wouldn’t want to get stuck in the heat. Thanks for sharing it will help me with my trip there.

  • David Meldrum
    Reply

    I cannot wait to go here next year! I would pay $20 any day to see this beautiful place! Angkor Wat is absolutely beautiful! Glad you had an amazing time!

  • Vicki Louise
    Reply

    We also only had one day in the Angkor complex, but opted to miss sunrise as we were not fond of crowds and had heard sunset was better in terms of numbers of people. We were also fascinated with Bayon – the faces in the rock are just so expressive!

  • Janine beynon
    Reply

    Angkor Wat is amazing! I can’t pick which was my favourite temple, I loved Bayon and also Ta Prohm, the trees growing out of the temples were incredible.

  • Anna
    Reply

    Looks like a very interesting place. I always enjoy visiting cultural sights when traveling. Great post and useful guide!

  • Kate Storm
    Reply

    I love Angkor Wat! No other temple complex has lived up to it since visiting, lol. We also did the sunrise tour, though we did the opposite of you: we hurried off quickly after the sunrise and got to the temple when most people were still taking their photos, so we had quiet as well. That early morning wake up call is no joke, though–we were SO tired.

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