Angkor Wat is rightly one of Cambodia’s and Southeast Asia’s must-see sights, as it is one of the most famous temples in the area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also huge. You’ll need to plan out your transportation, whether you plan on just going for sunrise or for a days-long marathon.
From any hostel or hotel, it’s pretty easy to arrange transportation, which will be in the form of a tuk-tuk or motorbike. The hotel staff will help arrange transportation, but it’s best to ask around when out and about for any advice. The price is always negotiable. You can usually get drivers down to around US$20 for a full day, less for a motorbike. Definitely leave a tip if you feel you got good service, and don’t be surprised if you’re asked straight up for one.
You can also rent a motorbike or bicycle. However, I don’t remember there being a lot of maps around, so if you don’t have a good sense of direction or want to get through it somewhat quickly, getting a ride is the best choice.
If I go again in the future, I would do everything differently. I got a ride to the main temple and then, for some reason, decided to walk through. It was three hundred degrees out, so I gave $12 to a tuk-tuk driver who was waiting a few hours for his charges to drive me around. After that, I took a wrong turn and ended up walking for two hours through the jungle before coming back to the main road. A local on a motorbike saw the state I was in and took me around the rest of Angkor Wat and back to my hostel for $10. And then I was sick for the next two weeks and when I got dragged to the doctor, found out that I had damaged my diaphragm from coughing so hard. And that’s when I learned that a little forethought never hurt anyone.
The motorbike guy was very nice and eager to practice his English, and aside from my own stupidity, I had no problems with safety. However, I do have some friends who were followed around and felt uncomfortable while there. They were also on bicycles, so I guess if you want to more or less ensure safety, hire a driver.
Lastly, there are food and drink stalls here and there, but bring snacks and plenty of water with you, along with a load of sunscreen.
How do you get around Angkor Wat? If you’ve had any complications or tips on making the travel easier, please share!