Angkor Archaeo-logical Park is home to the magnificent
temple ruins of Angkor,
including the legendary
of other ancient ruins of the, Angkorian-era Khmer Empire.
Angkor Park is a World Heritage site and
encompasses more than 400
square kilometers just outside
Siem Reap City in northwestern Cambodia.
Reap City is the gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Park.
There are no hotels within the Park
grounds and most visitors
Siem Reap where almost all of
restaurants are located.
Siem Reap City
is just south of the Angkor Archaeological Park with the Park entrance
located only 3km north of town. With the exception of
Roluos Group of temples 13km east of
Siem Reap, the most important temple ruin
6-25km north of town, the closest major temple being
Angkor Wat. To arrange
your visit to the Angkor Archaeological Park you
will need to decide how long to stay, purchase an admission pass,
arrange transportation to the temples,
obtain a guidebook or tour guide
and plan out your temple
ruins contained within the Park represent the remnants of the millennium-old
capitals of the old Khmer Empire. The Khmer people
were and are the dominant ethnic group in Cambodia. The name ‘Angkor’ refers
both to the
Angkorian-era Khmer Empire that stretched across much of
mainland Southeast Asia between the 9th and 15th centuries A.D.,
and also refers to the capital city of the empire that was
centered north of Siem Reap Cambodia.
Most of the
temples within the Park were constructed
between the 9th and 12th century A.D.
and represent the pinnacle of ancient
Khmer architecture, art and civilization. At its height, the
Age of Angkor was a time wealth
and power for the Khmer Empire. The capital city
at Angkor was populated by more than a million people, Khmer
kings constructed vast waterworks and grand temples and the
Empire's military, economic and cultural
dominance held sway over the area of
modern Cambodia, as
well as much of Thailand, southern Vietnam and Laos.
There are dozens of ruins within the
Angkor Archaeological Park, others further afield. The temples
vary in importance, interest and condition and are spread over a
large area, often kilometers apart. In order to get the most of
your visit, it is best to prepare a preliminary itinerary. Your
itinerary should depend largely on the length of your visit and
your level of interest, though some ruins are must-sees. Any
itinerary should include the legendary Angkor Wat and Bayon.
These two temples offer the most spectacular and unique examples
of Angkorian art and architecture. On the road trip to Bayon,
you will also see the South Gate and other minor
As it is within walking distance of Bayon, even the briefest
visit can usually include central Angkor Thom with its
artistically interesting terraces and massive
‘temple-mountains,’ Baphuon and Phimeanakas.
As time and interest allows, build the rest of your itinerary
around visiting each type of major ruin – temple mountains such
as Pre Rup, Ta Keo, Bakong and West Mebon; flat, sprawling
monastic complexes such as Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and Banteay Kdei;
and unique monuments such as Neak Pean and Srah Srang. The
Roluos Group, which is comprised the monuments of an early Khmer
capital, lies about 13 km west of Siem Reap. It is a bit out of
the way, but offers some fine examples of early Angkorian art
and should be included in two or three day itineraries. Of
special note is the artistically exquisite but more even distant
temple, Banteay Srey. If there is any way of squeezing it into
your itinerary, it is well worth it.
How Long to Stay
You must possess an admission pass (an 'Angkor Pass') to visit the temples and sites in the
Angkor Archaeological Park. Passes may be purchased at the main entrance
on the road to
Angkor Wat. One-day tickets only can be purchased at the
secondary tollgate on airport road entrance near
Angkor Wat and at
Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60)
blocks. The three day pass is valid for one week, i.e. 3 days to be used
within the week, not necessarily consecutively. The seven day
pass is valid for one month, i.e. 7 days to be used within the
month, not necessarily consecutively.
A one-day visit allows you
to see the highlights of the most famous temples but very little more.
Three days is sufficient to visit all of the major temples once, a few
of the minor ones and have a little extra time at your favorites. Seven
days is enough time to really explore some of your favorite ruins and
visit many of the minor structures as well. One passport-sized photo
is require at time of purchase of three and seven day passes. If
you do not have a photo, free
photos are provided at the main entrance, though this can be a time
consuming process at peak entrance hours.
Visiting hours are 5:00AM -
Angkor Wat closes at 6:00PM,
Banteay Srey closes at 5:00PM and
Kbal Spean at 3:00PM. Always carry your ticket. It will be checked upon
each park entry and at major temples. There is a significant fine for
not possessing a valid ticket inside the park. A regular admission
ticket is not required to visit Phnom Kulen, Koh Ker or
Beng Melea, but
there is a separate entrance fee of $20, $10 and $5, respectively.
There are dozens of temple ruins in the
Angkor Archaeological Park spread across more than 400
square km. all in different states of ruin and displaying a
range of artistic and architectural styles. To get the most from
your limited time at the Park you will need to plan a
temple itinerary. Your personal
temple itinerary depends largely
on how much time you have and your level of interest, though
some temples are ‘must sees.’ See the
suggested itineraries page for much more.
What to Bring
Wear light, airy, covering clothing to protect yourself from the sun and
mosquitoes. The sun can be intense so bring a hat, sunglasses and
perhaps sunscreen. Consider buying a traditional Khmer scarf (krama) to
keep the sun off your neck. Carry a raincoat during the wet season,
though you will probably only need it in the afternoon. You should have
mosquito repellent for sunrise and sunset hours. Wear practical shoes
for climbing narrow steps and walking on uneven surfaces. For serious
temple explorers, a flashlight, notebook and compass can come in handy.
Books, refreshments, trinkets, postcards and film are available from
small vendors throughout the temple complex.
and around the Temples
The temples are too far apart to make foot
travel practical (though some hearty visitors are hiking it anyway).
Transportation options include: two-person tuk-tuks (moto-romauk)
average $10-$15/day; car taxis $20-$30/day; motorcycle taxi (motodup)
for $8-$10/day; bicycles for $2-$3/day.
To avoid misunderstandings, negotiate the details of the driver’s
services carefully - exact price, what time you expect the day to begin
and end, availability during lunch and evening hours, limitations on
your itinerary, different prices for small/large circuits, etc.
There are always additional fees for transport to distant temples off
the main circuits (e.g.
Kbal Spean, Koh Ker) Negotiate the fare with your driver.
Bicycling around the temples has become quite popular. If you have the
time to spare, the roads are good, the terrain is flat and the distances
are about right..
Moto-romorques (a.k.a. 'tuk-tuk') are the most common and popular form
of transportation in town - the semi-enclosed trailer offering a
comparatively pleasant ride. Tuk-tuks are omnipresent in Siem Reap. Just
step to the curb and they will find you. For short trips around town,
foreigners are expected to pay 3000R-US$3. Bargain! Full day
rates for transportation to the temples: $10-$15/day. Additional charge
for transport to distant temples.
Private car taxis offer a comfortably air-conditioned way to tour the
temples, though they are the most expensive option. Rates: $20-$30 per
day plus additional charges for transportation to distant temples off
the main circuits. Taxis from the airport to town also offer taxi/tour
services to the temples.
Angkor Temple Guides
Angkor temple tours and transportation.
Custom tours. Very reasonable prices. English spoken
Charles De Gaulle Blvd,
Pro Angkor Travel
Tour guides and transportation
Car and bus rental
PP: #99, Sisowath Quay, Phnom
SR: #752, Route #6,
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap Shuttle
Professionally chauffeured vehicles, Camry, Mercedes, Lexus, Jeep.
Tours and packages. Temples, city, cultural, Tonle Sap Lake
Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Siem Reap Taxi Driver
Licensed local taxi driver and guides.
English spoken. Arranges all sorts of transportation
Motodups are motorcycles on which the passenger rides pillion. Though
motodups are the least expensive motorized option, these days two-person
‘tuk-tuks’ (moto-romorks) are the most popular. Bargain! Motodups should
be a bit more than half as expensive as tuk-tuks. Additional charge for
transport to distant temples. Full day rates for transportation to the
Charter and Rides
Helistar Cambodia offers scenic
helicopter tours of the temples beginning at US$90/person for an 8
minute jaunt around Angkor Wat. It isn't a particularly cheap way to
tour but the view is spectacular and memorable. Helistar Cambodia
offers specialized tours, aerial photography and charter services.
Multiple aircraft in service. Located at Siem Reap International
Airport, Domestic Terminal. Office on National Route #6 (Airport Road),
Borey Angkor Arcade, diagonally opposite the Total station, about
1 kilometer west of town center. Walk-in customers welcome.
Bicycling have become a popular way to visit the temples. The roads
between the main temples are paved and the distances are about right for
a bicycle touring. Many of the hotels have bicycles for rent. $1-$4/day
depending on the type and quality of the bike.
Tourists are no longer allowed to rent motorcycles or cars, or drive a
vehicle in Siem Reap.
And other ways of
getting around the temples...
During the day, elephants await customers
near Bayon and at the South Gate of Angkor Thom and they
offer rides between those two points. $10 - $15 for a 20 - 30 minute ride.
In the evenings the elephants move from Bayon and are stationed
at the base of Phnom Bakheng, ready to transport passengers up
the hill for sunset ($15 for the ride up and, if you chose to ride down
instead of walk, $10 for the ride down.)
Take a tethered helium balloon ride 200
meters straight up for an amazing aerial view of Angkor Wat, Phnom
Bakheng, West Baray and the surrounding countryside. Bring a camera
and binoculars if you have them. The big, yellow balloon is based about
1 kilometer west from Angkor Wat on the road from the airport to
Whether you use a
guidebook or hire a tour guide, it is essential to
have some sort of guide lest the temples become just so many impressive
piles of rocks. Tour guides are particularly helpful in explaining the
bas-reliefs and history of the temples. Tour guides can be hired through
most hotels and travel agents. Most guides ask $20 - $25/day.
You can either hire a tour guide and transport separately (usually
through your guesthouse or a travel agent) or book a group tour through
travel agent in town such as
Asian Value Travel. Group tours remove many of the hassles, and depending on
your requirements, cost about the same or less than doing it yourself,
especially for the lone traveler. On the other hand, you do lose some
freedom and a bit of the adventurous atmosphere of Angkor. Some places
focus on specialty tours such as distant temple,
Tonle Sap and
photographer’s tours by
Peace of Angkor
Tours and dirt bike/4WD
adventure and cultural tours by
Hidden Cambodia Adventure Tours.
Angkor Temple Guides
San Park is an experienced tour guide and reliable driver,
specializing in the temples of Angkor. very reason- ably priced.
Charles De Gaulle Blvd,
Angkor Tour Guide Service
Angkor park tour packages and tour guides (English Mandarin, French
Japanese), transportation (car, mini-van, transport to distant
temples,) hotel reservations.
Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Angkor Thom and Transportation
Transportation, multi-lingual tour guide, tour packages, city
tour and daily tour at reasonable rates.
Holystone Angkor Travel & Tours
Specializing in Angkor temple tours, transportation and guides.
Individual guides and group tours.
Ta Phul Street
Pro Angkor Travel
Tour guides and transportation (car, van, tuk-tuk)
Pub Street, Old Market area
Guidebooks and other Angkor related books can be purchase at
bookstores and many of the souvenir shops. Bootlegged books are sold
at the Old Market and by vendors throughout the Angkor complex.
Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques.
(Thailand: River Books, 2006) Beautifully photographed,
authoritative guidebook to the temples of Angkor and the Angkor
Archaeological Park. One of the top guidebooks to the temples.
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples by Dawn F. Rooney
(Odyssey Publications, Hong Kong, 2006, 5th edition) Popular,
complete, accurate. The most complete English language guidebook
available. One of the top guidebooks to the temples. Recommended.
The Monuments of the Angkor Group
(Les monuments du groupe d'Angkor) by Maurice Glaize. Classic
1944 guide to the temples written by a former Conservator of Angkor
(1937-1945). Available in English and French and also online.
books page for more Cambodia related books.
Angkor Observed by awn F. Rooney. (Thailand: Orchid Guides,
2003) A nostalgic picture of the early days of tourism to Angkor
drawn through excerpts from 19th/20th century journals and
A Field Guide to Siem Reap Pagodas by Ray Zepp. (Cambodia:
2000) A knowledgeable, easy-to-read introduction to Cambodian
Buddhism and local pagodas.
The Customs of Cambodia by Zhou Daguan (Chuo Ta-Kuan). A
short but unique and fascinating eye-witness account of royal and
ordinary life in 13th century Angkor.
A History of Cambodia by David Chandler. (Bangkok Thailand:
White Lotus, 1994) A complete, scholarly but accessible account of
Cambodian history from the dawn of Funan to the present.
Images of the Gods: Khmer Mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand
by Vittorio Roveda. (Bangkok: River Books, 2005) A sweeping
photographic exposition and historical analysis of ancient Khmer
sculpture reliefs from Angkor and across the region.
Khmer Heritage in the Old Siamese Provinces of Cambodia by
Etienne Aymonier. (Bangkok Thailand: White Lotus, 1999, orig. 1901)
Turn of the century report/guide. Locations and temple descriptions
of familiar and remote temples.
Travels in Siam, Cambodia, Laos and Annam by Henri
Mouhot. (Thailand: White Lotus, 2000 reprint, orig. 1864).