A few things you should bear in mind before going there. Here are some tips that may be useful while planning your visit in Angkor.
- How to get there
Basically, there are two main ways to get to the temples (by foot is not the option since there are far away from the center of Siem Reap). You can hire a bike (quite popular among the backpackers, because it’s very cheap) or a tuk-tuk driver who will take you to the temples you would like to see.
This time I would skip an active way of travelling – a bike, and choose a tuk-tuk. There are a few reasons why. Firstly, the temperature in Cambodia is very high so it won’t be a pleasure to ride a bike all day in 95 ºF. Secondly, the complex of temples is huge, just like the distance between them. You will spend most of the time on biking, instead of actually sightseeing.
A tuk-tuk is a good idea because it’s faster, more comfortable and Cambodian drivers know exactly how to get to any temple you want to see. I hired my driver from the hotel I’ve stayed in, and it cost only 15 USD for one day of service.
When you arrive to Angkor, you can choose from a few options of tickets: a 1 (20USD), 2 or 3-day pass (both for 40 USD).
- When to go there
One of the most popular tips about visiting Angkor is to go there before the sunrise. Watching the sun coming up between the temples sounds ideal. There is only one problem. Everybody wants to see them. Can you imagine tons of tourists with their cameras and iPhones trying to take a perfect selfie? Definitely not recommended.
There is a way to avoid the crowd. Forget about the sunrise and go there right after, around 7:30 am. Most of the tourists come back for the breakfast to the hotels, which is a good moment to walk around without the crazy crowd. The same situation will occur during the lunch hours. It’s a good time to visit the most popular temples.
- What to wear
The first to remember is that you visit the temples so you need to dress modestly. This is the holy place and must be respected. Forget about shorts, mini skirts and cover your arms.
I’ve heard many advices about the proper shoes for sightseeing Angkor temples. Most of the people tell you to wear comfortable sport or trekking shoes because you will have to climb the ruins. Firstly, you won’t climb at all because it’s strictly forbidden. Secondly, there is a lot of red sand and dust in the area so your shoes will be destroyed after a few hours.
After reading all these genius tips, I was so worried that I don’t have a proper shoes (I’m not travelling with any tracking equipment). Fortunately, I had no choice and I did my sightseeing in flip-flops. Guess what? No problem at all! I could do everything. People tend to exaggerate about the equipment so don’t always believe in everything they say.
- What to bring
You will probably spend a few hours walking around the temples, most of the time in full sun. That’s why don’t forget about hydration! You don’t need to carry 10 liters of water. There are small shops everywhere, so you can always buy something to drink (choose water or fresh coconut instead of soda). Also, remember about carrying some healthy snacks (otherwise you will need to buy junky food). A sun cream would be useful to protect your skin during the day.
- Which temple choose
It’s difficult to choose one temple over another because each of them is unique. To read more about which temple to choose, click here.
- Additional attraction (?)– An elephant trekking
Please don’t do it! If you consider yourself as a mature, intelligent human being, you won’t hurt any animal just for 10 minutes of pointless fun. It looks good, sure. Who doesn’t think about a perfect shot on elephant’s back, just to have something to show off at work? If only you give yourself a few minutes to think and open your eyes for things that are not always comfortable, you will have a chance to change something in our reality.
Elephants are not prepared to carry anything on their backs. Especially, a 800 pounds platform with people. The elephants’ spines are not created for doing this. Do you really want to cause a pain to this amazing animal?
Another point is that keepers force them to walk by using the hooks. Probably you’ve heard some fairy tales about elephants’ skin. It looks thick so they don’t feel anything, even hooks. That’s a huge lie. Did you know that elephant’s skin is as delicate as that of a human? These animals feel everything and it hurts them a lot.
Make a change, don’t take part in these touristic attractions. The are other ways to meet these fascinating animals. Click here to read about happy elephants in Thailand.