Angkor Wat Guide

Scattered across a 1,000 square mile region of northern Cambodia are the ruins of one hundred or so temples and monuments. These magnificent structures are the remnant of a thousand year old Khmer civilization that once reigned over all of Cambodia, portions of Vietnam and China, and across the Bay of Bengal. The most famous of these ruins is the temple complex of Angkor Wat, sometimes spelled Angkor Vat or Angkor Watt.

The best way to experience Angkor Wat Cambodia is to allocate at least one week to the exploration of the massive temple ensemble. Many Travelers mistakenly approach Angkor Wat as though it were a Japanese pagoda or a European cathedral – something that can be examined in a day. Angkor Wat, however, is not a mere monument. It was once a thriving metropolis that contained all of the elements of a modern city, such as irrigation, religious edifices, agriculture, and military operations.

This site was inspired by Ara, our Siem Reap Tour Guide. She spent a couple days as our local guide and arranged for our tuk-tuk, for a temple guide and showed us around her city. If you are planning to visit Siem Reap, let her arrange your trip. makaralon1lon1@yahoo.com

A traveler whose journey will span only a few days can still absorb the essence of Angkor Wat, as long as he or she is not trying to “see it all”. As a rule of thumb, it takes about three days to see the “highlights”, or principle monuments of Angkor Wat. For this reason, short trips should be focused on a broad understanding of Angkor Wat, not an in-depth analysis of the temple’s every nuance.

When to Go

Cambodia has three primary seasons, each offering a unique array of features. As a result, tourists visit Angkor Wat year-round. Peak travel season is marked by dry and mild weather, which begins in November and ends in March. Heat and humidity define the months of April and May, giving this season a summery air. The rainy season begins in June and lasts until September. Rainstorms during these months can inhibit transportation to and from the ruins. Despite this inconvenience, the rainy season is when Cambodia’s forests are the most animate and green.

Don’t Miss

•    Sunrise Angkor Wat & Sunset ove Srah Strang: The temples are best viewed in the colorful light of the early mornings and late afternoons. Go to Phnom Bakheng or the terrace of Srah Srang to watch the sun fall into the Cambodian forest. Bats sometimes swarm overhead during the sunset hours, putting on a dazzling and unforgettable show.

•    Ta Prohm: Unlike most of Angkor Wat, which has been the focus of ongoing restoration since 1908, Ta Prohm has been left alone. Massive trees now strangle the temple, disjoining its stone building blocks, reminding us that even the grandest of man’s temples ultimately belong to Earth. This mangled temple appears as a battleground between man and Mother Nature. Ta Prohm is one of Angkor Wat’s most awesome sites.

•    Full Moon over Angkor Wat: If your trip to Cambodia happens to coincide with a full moon, be sure to soak up Angkor Wat’s ambiance under the pale blue light of the second brightest object in our sky. The moonlit ruins are especially enchanting around Angkor Wat’s central tower or the upper terrace of the Bayon.

The Best Way To Experience Angkor Wat

The most authentic gateway into Angkor Wat is through the expertise of a local Angkor Wat guide. Many Cambodian guides are the direct descendents of the Khmer people – architects and builders of Angkor Wat and other nearby temple ensembles.

•    Hen Sarom’s Tuk Tuk Tours: Hen Sarom has a good repuation for introducing travelers to the mysteries of Angkor Wat via tuk tuk (a rickshaw with the front-end of a motorcycle). He speaks fluent English and has designed a wonderful array of itineraries to complement a range of trip lengths and objectives.

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