There’s a good reason Angkor Wat is so popular and rightly dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. It is awe-inspiring in every way: from size, to detail, to monkeys, to flooded forests, to monstrous trees that take over ancient walls – the whole site is a lot more than just a very old, large, religious building. I understand that when travelling around Asia you are going to encounter a lot of temples, but even if you’re feeling a bit templed out, Cambodia’s main tourist draw will not fail to impress.
Many backpackers opt for the one day pass ($20) but I knew I would want to see more so opted for three days ($40). I spread out the experience out over four days so as not to encounter too much temple fatigue. By amazing coincidence my first evening trying to catch one of the awesome but elusive sunsets outside Angkor Wat I bumped into a friend from home who I’d travelled in Peru with last summer so we arranged to spend the next day together touring the small loop by tuk-tuk which includes all the main temples. Then after a day off chilling out in Siem Reap I awoke the next morning at 4.30 and hopped on a motorbike taxi in hope of experiencing a decent sun-rise which paid off massively! I spent the rest of the morning absorbing the immensity of the main temple’s towers and stone carvings and touring around the bigger loop to experience further variety of what Asia’s biggest religious site has to offer.
Angkor Wat certainly delivered more than I ever imagined and was by no means a let down. If you are remotely into temples, make sure you get at least a three day pass. It doesn’t mean you have to spend every hour of every day templing, but you will get so much more out of the experience if you can take the time to do it at your leisure.