While I’ve now been to Angkor Wat and been overawed by its majesty, I’m still about a year behind in my writing. So, while I wrap up last year’s trip to the United States, here’s a piece featuring a few choice tips on how to do Angkor Wat right.
5 Tips for Exploring the Magic of Angkor Wat
My first thought when I saw Angkor Wat was that I didn’t feel small when I looked at it, in the same way that one feels while looking out at the ocean. Instead, I only felt the greatness of humankind, and the magnificent capacity of man to build a temple complex such as Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and religious monument in the world. It lies just outside the Cambodian city of Siem Reap. Angkor Wat extends over 400 square kilometres and consists of temples, structures, and communications routes. For those thinking of visiting Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a must see.
Here are my top 5 tips for visiting this temple complex:
1) Travel with a small group
I think it is best to travel to Siem Reap with a group of 4 or less. This way, your group will always be able to fit into a tuk tuk, and there is a greater chance that your group will be able to walk around Angkor Wat at the same pace.
2) Stay at a youth hostel in Siem Reap
Youth hostels in the Siem Reap are reasonabl priced, more centrally located thanthe majority of hotels, and the level of cleanliness is generally pretty good. Hotels are isolated and farther away from the city center. I recommend choosing a youth hostel that doesn’t get too loud, which is ideal for your trip to Siem Reap because you might be waking up early for a sunrise tour of Angkor Wat. Also, the youth hostels are located close to the city’s nightlife, and you won’t need to do more then walk out the door to begin a night of food, drinks, and meeting other travelers.
3) Take a tuk tuk
It is best to do a tour of Siem Reap by tuk tuk. You can book this tour at your hostel; each hostel will have their own tuk tuk drivers that work only for them. Most hostels will generally arrange for a tuk tukdriver to take you to Angkor Wat, drive your group around the temples, and then drive you back to your hostel. Don’t be afraid to shop around, though. There is no shortage of tuk tuk drivers in Siem Reap.
4) Do a sunrise tour
It is a must-see to be at Angkor Wat at sunrise. Your tuk tuk driver will take you out to Siem Reap just before sunrise, and then you will be able to see the sun rise over the temples, and see the reflection in the moat around the main temple. Similarly, you can also do a sunset tour. In both cases, it’s best to get there as early as possible to avoid jostling for prime positions.
5) Eat local food
As far as food goes, try to eat at restaurants that serve traditional Cambodian food, rather then westernized food. The food will be better priced, tastier, and more authentic. I ate two meals at western restaurants, a Mexican restaurant, and an Irish pub- but the food was overpriced at both places, and I preferred the food at the Cambodian restaurants. You’re also more likely to meet and strike up conversations with locals at Cambodian restaurants, which is never a bad thing.
About the Author
Peggy Olson is a keen traveler and adventurer, and considers Asia to be her favourite destination. She writes for InsureandGo.com.au – Australia’s travel insurance specialists. Read more about Peggy’s travel adventures here at www.insureandgo.com.au
Do you have any tips for making a visit to Angkor Wat extra special? I’ll chime in with my own real soon!