The City of Angkor
- 💸 Price $47 per person + $25 for tuk tuk
- 📌 Location Cambodia, Siem Reap
- 🕝 Duration 1 Day
- 🐍 Wildlife spotted Lots of Monkeys, a snake
- 🎒 What to bring Water, suncream, mosquito spray, hat and camera
A Brief History
The City of Angkor is a massive ancient city of the Khmer Empire located in North-Western Cambodia, in the Krong Siem Reap province. The entire Angkor temple complex measures around 400 km2 and consists of hundreds of temples which were built between the 9th to the 15th century. Angkor Wat is an architectural masterpiece within the City of Angkor and the largest religious monument in the world – covering an area four times the size of Vatican City.1
We spent one day at Angkor Wat and the ticket cost us $47 each. If you go for 3 days you can get a cheaper rate but we thought that was a bit too many temples for us. We hired a private tuk tuk driver for the day for $25 and paid around $10 for lunch (the prices for food are a bit more expensive than in Siem Reap).
How Much To Pay The Tuk Tuk Driver?
The price for a tuk tuk driver can vary widely and we heard of people paying anything between $15 to $50. We wanted to make sure we weren’t being scammed but at the same time we were paying a fair rate for a full day’s work. We liked our tuk tuk driver and he even sent us a video of his son saying “Thank You” afterwards so we were happy to pay a little extra.
Should You Rent A Bike?
We also met people who had hired bikes to ride around the City of Angkor. As we mentioned in the introduction the City of Angkor is really big so our advice is get a tuk tuk driver if you are only going for one day and want to see all of the main temples. However, if you have bought a ticket for a few days, renting a bike would definitely be a good option for day 2 or 3.
08:00 - 09:00 - Pick Up Tickets and Drive to Angkor
09:00 - 10:30 - Angkor Wat
11:00 - 12:30 - Ta Prohm
12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch
13:30 - 14:30 - Walk Around Lake Nokor Thum
15:00 - 16:00 - The Temple Where We Got Lost
16:30 - 17:30 - Played With The Monkeys At Angkor Thom
17:30 - 18:30 - Sunset At Phnom Bakheng
We started our day in Angkor Wat, the most famous temple in the City of Angkor and it did not disappoint. We arrived at 9am, having decided to skip the sunrise - we had heard from people that had been before us that it was a little disappointing. When we arrived at the entrance we were hassled by a bunch of guides who were trying to sell us their services. We waved them off and decided to walk around ourselves but later regretted the decision.
We climbed up to the top of Angkor Wat. This climb is steep and a little scary, but well worth it for the 360 degree view of the giant complex and it’s beautiful gardens. After that, we decided to take a walk around the outside perimeter of the temple walls and we found it amazing how alone we were in this wonder of the world heritage site, quite different to the main attractions in Europe.
After our walk we headed towards the exit, where we found so many stalls selling coconuts, sarongs and temple paintings. We had expected these stalls to be full of high price tourist tat but everything was very cheap and the sellers were extremely kind. We bought a little canvas painting of Angkor Wat for around $10 as a souvenir.
Ta Prohm (The Tomb Raider Temple)
This was our favourite temple in the Angkor complex. We were fascinated by the fantastic root system of the ancient 600 year old trees. This is where part of the first Tomb Raider was filmed. If you have to choose only one temple, this is a must see.
After ticking off the two most famous temples we decided to take a break for lunch. We were in need of an energy recharge as the day was very hot and we had been doing a lot of walking in the sun. At first, our tuk tuk driver dropped us off at a touristy restaurant but after looking at the prices we left and asked him to drop us off at a chicken stall we had noticed down the road. This turned out to be the best BBQ chicken we had had in our whole trip.
Lake Nokor Thum
After filling ourselves up at lunch we were in need of some digestion so we decided to take a walk around Lake Nokor Thum. Our tuk tuk driver suggested we walk part of the way around and he met us there but we told him we wanted to walk the full way around to take a break from the crowds. The lake had such a relaxing vibe and it was only us and a few local people that we bumped to on our way round.
The Temple Where We Got Lost
We were then dropped off at another ancient temple. Our tuk tuk driver said “Follow this path, the temple is on your left, I will meet you at the other side”. This seemed easy but we still managed to walk for half an hour in the wrong direction before giving up and turning back. Luckily our tuk tuk driver was waiting for us at the temple when we got back!
Angkor Thom And The Monkeys
The day started to be more and more hot so for the afternoon part we chose something more relaxing. We wanted to spend some time with the monkeys, so our tuk tuk driver brought us to Angkor Thom park where we could sit down and watch the monkeys playing together.
The Sunset At Phnom Bakheng
The golden hour started to get closer so we climbed a hill called Phnom Bakheng which is a small temple and one of the best spots for sunset, although a little overcrowded. We sat here and watched the sun go down. After the sunset our driver took us back to our hotel and we were shattered from a big day. We were sad to say “Goodbye” to our tuk tuk driver who was a great guy who we had really enjoyed spending the day with.
If you decide to go to Cambodia, don’t forget to visit these iconic temples, this was the experience of a lifetime for us! We suggest taking a tour guide as they explain to you all the history and architecture and also that you avoid the weekends as they are overcrowded with locals who can visit for free. Make sure you bring with you water, suncream, hat and of course a camera so you go back home with some beautiful memories of this symbol of Cambodia.