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There is no doubt that this is Cambodia's star attraction. Its imposing even from a distance, and even compared to the other ruins in the Angkor complex it still blows you away.
Set about 5KMs away from the centre of Siem Reap, Angor Wat is the centre piece of the whole Angkor complex, comprising some 20 plus temples. Built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century its the best known of the eras Khmer achitectural feats.
There's a reason why this rules the roost. Its splendor from the grounds to the fine carvings and structure within are a true delight. You really have to see the place, experience the atmosphere for yourself to truely take it all in.
Whether you go at sunrise, sunset or any time inbetween you are allmost guranteed to be among others. It would be a rare thing to get this place to yourself even for a moment. As Cambodia's biggest tourist attraction its going to be busy and you just have to deal with that.
As a tourist there are 3 types of tickets available to enter the complex and you wont get to see Angkor Wat without one. Day tickets are priced at US$20, 3 day tickets at $40 and a 7 day ticket at $60. You must use your ticket on consecutive days making the 3 day ticket probably the best value for money.
With ticket in hand, Angkor Wat is just one of the many temples you now have access to and I'd advise not seeing it first. Once you've seen Angkor Wat itself its difficult to get so excited about some of the other ruins.
Once you are inside Angkor Wat's grounds theres a whole area to explore. Either side of the path leading to the inner entrance there are outer buildings, a pond that makes for great photos and the food and drink stands.
The distant view of Angkor Wat is probably the best sight but once inside you cant take your eyes off the carvings and sheer grandure of the place. A great deal has been restored which whilst making it more presentable make it difficult to keep track of teh original elements.
A climb up the steep steps to the top is undoubtedly worth it for the view over the temple as a whole. This is also considered one of the best places to see sunset although it is sunrise that gets the best views and majority of visitors. Its worth the early start!
The begging problem in Angkor Wat isnt as great surprisingly as in some of the other parts of the complex but it is still present. Young children will harass you, pestering for money, food or trying to sell you postcards and trinkets. Its generally advised not to give handouts to these children as they are often working for someone else, its hard to say no though.
The other thing to be careful of is mosquitos, I'm sure that if in Cambodia you're aware of the malaria risk but around Angkor and otehr temples the mosquito presence is very high. I've heard light clothes recommended in addition to the usual precautions.
All in all its THE must do thing in Cambodia and Angkor Wat doesnt dissapoint. Take it all in, maybe give yourself 2 visits to see it either side of some of the other temples, time to take it all in. Even if you're in Thailand and debating it I'd just do it! Its a captivating place full of history and knee deep in atmosphere.
10 x8 (25x2cm) Print showing Angkor Wat temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia. View of the Khmer ... more
temple of Angkor Wat, at Siem Reap, Cambodia, showing the central temple complex, east side. The temple was first Hindu, then Buddhist. . Chosen by Mary Evans. Printed on 254x203mm archive quality paper for unrivalled stable image permanence and brilliant colour reproduction with accurate colour rendition and smooth tones. Size refers to paper used. This