Angkor Wat. It’s one of those things on every travellers bucket list. See Angkor Wat at Sunrise. See that breathtaking photo, explore the ruins of this ancient site. Some people do one day, others 3. Some take a whole week. Arrive at 5am and watch the sun come up over a Wonder of the World.
I chose a one-day pass for money/time/personal preference, and it was completely enough. The highlight of this one day pass is that, if you arrive after 4pm the day before, it allows you entry that evening and for the whole of the next day, so that you can see both sunrise and sunset, without having to hang around the full day.
Because if we’re honest with each other, it’s exhausting. It’s incredible, beautiful, inspiring, but bloody tiring. If you make it to sunrise, by lunchtime you’ve already been wandering around for 6 hours. We left our hotel at 5am, and arrived back at 3 in the afternoon. That’s a solid day right there – I was knackered.
The best way to see it all in a day is by Tuk Tuk. Mr. Why Not at Angkor Wonder Hostel set us up with his regular driver. The evening before, he took me to the temple to collect my pass and see the sun set over the countryside, for a massive $5. It's a walk through the trees along a very unlit path up to ruins that are currently shrouded by cranes and renovation tents. The next day, the driver picked us up at 4.30am. $18. That was split between 4 of us, and was an entire 10 hours of taxi-ing us around. Not bad really. (For 3 or less people it sat at $15).
One Day: $25
Three Day: $40
Seven Day: $60
TIP: Ask your driver to take you the backwards way around. Instead of exploring Angkor Wat or heading straight to Bayon after sunrise, leave immediately and head the opposite way. You’re less likely to be accosted by hoards of chinese tourists taking photo after photo after photo. You will likely meet them about half way around, but they thin out around 11am. Then, for your final stop, explore Angkor Wat. There are far less people as they will be out too lunch, so you can really take your time and enjoy the atmosphere without being moved along by some tour guide or minibus gang.
WARNING: Remember to charge your camera before heading to the site. Flat battery after only a few pictures will lead to disappointment. And phone photos inevitably lead to a good few selfies.
WARNING(2): Please watch out for ants nests. If you accidentally find yourself standing on one as the sun is coming up, move away quickly. Those little buggers sting like anything. And there are THOUSANDS of them.