Siem Reap, Cambodia – No tour of Siem Reap is complete without a grand tour of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park. If you have more time, you can do your own DIY tour and rent a bike. But, the best way to maximize your time temple hopping is to get a tuk tuk driver and a 3-day entrance pass. This allows you to explore the must-see temples more convenient and efficient.
Tickets must be purchased prior to starting your tour as it will be checked upon each temple entrance.
- 1 day pass costs 20USD
- 3 days pass cost 40USD (can visit 3 days in one week period)
- 7 days pass costs 60USD (can visit 7 days in one month period)
To get the most from your temple visits you will need to plan a temple itinerary. There are two basic touring circuits, small circuit tour (Angkor Wat and nearby temples) and grand circuit tour (outside Angkor City – around the sides of Archaeological Park)
Since we arrived at our hotel before lunch, we decided to take the grand circuit tour first ending the day with a sunset on top of Phnom Bakheng. The next day, sunrise at Angkor Wat and continued with the small circuit tour.
|Arrival||Angkor Wat – Sun Rise|
|Grand Circuit Tour (Banteay Kdei, Preah Rup, East Mebon, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Preah Khan)||Small Tour (Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of Elephants, Ta Phrom)|
|Phnom Bakheng||Cruise on Tonlé Sap lake|
Tip from our personal experience: Wear light, covering clothing to protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes. Bring hat, scarf, sunglasses and apply sunscreen. Wear practical/comfortable shoes for climbing temples and walking on uneven surfaces. There’s a lot of climbing out there! 😀
Grand Circuit Tour
Grand Circuit tour includes visit to following temples which will take at least one whole day.
Banteay Kdei – a Buddhist temple which literally means ‘Citadel of Chamber’
Srah Srang – artificial lake outside Bantea Kdei
Preah Rup – belief to be place for funerals
East Mebon – built during the 10th century dedicated to the parents of the then King
Neak Pean – a temple at the center of lake whose waters are thought to cure all illness
Ta Som – like a miniature Ta Prohm, very photogenic face towers with trees
Preah Khan – huge, highly explorable monastic complex, full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities
Small Circuit Tour
Small Circuit tour includes visit to following temples including Angkor Wat which will take at least half day depending on your pace.
Angkor Thom South Gate
Angkor Wat – The largest temple in the world. The highlight of every tourists’ Siem Reap visit.
Bayon – The temple with many faces. 54 face towers to be exact.
Baphuon – The temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva.
Phimeanakas – Perhaps known as the royal chapel
Terrace of the Elephants – Used as a base for the King to observe his victory army returning
Ta Prohm – Known as the Tomb Raider temple where the magic of nature and man made this temple stand out among the others
Outside each temples you can find markets for souvenirs or drinks or if you just want to rest for a little. But maybe, you can consider buying souvenirs at Pub Street or bringing a refilled water bottle from your hotel instead. 😀
Going through these pictures, reminds me how great this trip was. Hoping for more trips like this on our future weekends. Yangon, Myanmar perhaps? 😀