I had no idea how big Angkor Wat was until we went there. Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares. Many will know this place to be where Tomb Raider/ Lara Croft was filmed at the Ta Prohm temple
We were picked up by coach reasonably early at our hotel in Siem Reap to drive the short distance of about 20 k’s to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. It is very popular to arrive at Angkor Wat early enough to watch the sunrise however we were there just after breakfast.
Prior to visiting the temple, you must first purchase a temple pass at the ticket office which is a few kilometres from the actual temples. The day passes now cost $37US which is a huge increase from the $20 price prior to February this year. We joined the crowds of people already at the ticket office to have our photo taken and our day pass processed. As we were in an organised tour we were taken through much quicker than most tourists. Every place we visited we were very pleased that we had our own tour guide as they always managed to get us through quicker and easier than if we were doing it on our own. Of course speaking the local language is very advantageous.
What a magnificent, amazing place. We entered from the much less crowded east gate, which gave us an opportunity to see the temple without a huge crowd around us. Our tour guide did a great job of explaining everything we saw and leading us through the temple complex.
Every time you turned a corner or stepped through a doorway there was something else amazing to see. I was astounded by the huge size of this temple and its beautiful symmetry.
As the temples of Angkor represent a sacred religious site, visitors are asked to dress modestly. It is not possible to visit the highest level of Angkor Wat without upper arms covered and shorts to the knees.
Although we visited Angkor Wat in spring it was still very hot. It is not necessarily distant walking but it involves lots of walking. I recommend being well prepared with good walking shoes, hats, sunscreen and plenty of water. Some of the fittest folks in our group struggled with the heat and stairs.
We decided not to climb up the narrow steep staircase to the top level, mainly because of the long line of tourists already waiting to go up and also the heat.
We were fortunate to have a local guide whose depth of knowledge and passion for Cambodia and Angkor Wat were phenomenal – our guide’s knowledge and helpfulness took this superb trip to the next level! I cannot say enough about the Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another Must Visit if you are in Cambodia.
After touring the temple we exited from the west gate. That side was much more crowded, but we were able to get the obligatory photo from in front of the lagoon with the temple in the background.
This was an exceptional day visiting an exceptional temple.