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  • Writer's pictureBarrett B.

Angkor Wat: A travel guide to the mystical temple city and beyond

Updated: Jul 11, 2023



HOW WOULD I DESCRIBE ANGKOR WAT AND THE OTHER TEMPLES?

This ancient city in Cambodia is utterly mind blowing with stone carved temples 5 to 60 feet tall scattered in a dense tropical forest. Vertical monstrous trees line the pathways around the preserved national park in Siem Reap.


This grouping of temples are similar yet completely different. Almost all the visitors I chatted to said they were astonished by the vast territory of this once dominant empire. Yes it's true that there are temples everywhere but as you can see in the picture below this place is more like ancient castles than a prominent Buddist temple (something like you'd see in Thailand). The enormous scale of some of these structures similar to Angkor Wat is well worth a trip to Cambodia.



What's the best thing about Angkor Wat and the other historic temples?

You have free access to explore and walk around. Some of the higher structures are closed off now but for the most part you can roam around and go anywhere you want to go. That's by far the best party about these grounds. In the future I'm sure these privileges will be taken away. It's just a matter of time.



Imagine you see the top of an ancient building in the distance that means at at least 10-15 stories high. My question was, can I go to the top? The answer is YES! At least about 90% of the time. It's surreal to get a birds eye view from the tree top level.




 

TOP 5 FACTS ABOUT ANGKOR WAT


  • Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument on the planet

  • Angkor Wat is featured on the Cambodian flag

  • Angkor Wat means "City of Temples" in Khmer

  • Angkor Wat was shared by two religions

  • Angkor Wat was built in the 12the Century

 

Should I take a tour or just see it by myself?

This is up to you but in my opinion I'd just read about it and see it for yourself. I make a rule when I see a museum or landmark to try and remember 1-3 things that are important. On a tour you will hear an array of fascinating things but you will probably forget most them by the time you get back to your room.


I will say that a tour guide (make sure you get a LICENSE tour guide with a badge) will give you a great tour for around $25-30. Yes it's quite cheap and you are helping the local economy but I'm more of a wonderer and I like to go off the beaten path. If you have time, I'd do both.


Can you see it all in one day? Yes but it would be a waste of time. If you want to take a selfie and run to the next temple you could hypothetically do that but why?? Take at least 2-3 days and pace yourself. You came all this way, so soak it up and revel in the moment.


Can I take photos and video everywhere in the park? Yes. I took so many photos on my phone and Go Pro I actually couldn't get enough. I just recently bought a GO PRO 8 BLACK and I love it! Follow me on my IG to see more videos or photos.


Is it safe in Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat grounds? YES! The people are extremely nice and you'll feel right at home. I took a backpack, some water and just wondered down unbeaten paths in and around the temples and made my own way. I even would recommend that ladies can travel around there alone without any worries.



Need a map of the Angkor Wat and Angkor Archaelological Park, here you go

Sorry for the wrinkles in the map but this is the actual licensed map that is given to you when you enter the park.



Can you eat the food in the national park? YES! I've been there many times and even though there are little mom and pop restaurants in the middle of no where I still recommend it although inside the park the meals were a lot more expensive - $6-7 on average, $2 for drink.


How to get around Angkor Wat and the vast national park?

1. Rent a bicycle for $5-7 a day

2. Take a rick saw with a personal driver for $10-20 a day (depends how long you go for - a half day or whole day)

3. Take a taxi or rick saw and then get dropped off and walk (it's doable but you'll be walking way to far, I don't recommend this)


How about the beer? Let's also mention that beer is quite good and it is also some of the cheapest in Asia. I'm not a big drinker but having a bottle of Angkor Beer really hit the spot for $1. Some places the beer is $.50 for a glass of draft beer. Yes I'm serious and no I can't buy you a six pack and bring it back to you.



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