How Much Time Should You Spend at Angkor Wat?
“Angkor Wat is the greatest place in the world! You could spend 7 days there and it still won’t be enough!” That’s what people will tell you. And yes, 7 days is probably not enough time to cover it all, but is it enough? In our opinion, absolutely. We’d say that’s more than enough. But one thing we’ve learned is that everyone is different.
How much time should you spend at Angkor Wat?
Take this quiz to find out…
How do you feel about history?
A. I’m a die-hard history buff. I need to know everything about everything.
B. I prefer the CliffsNotes version.
C. I failed that class in high school
How do you feel about temples/ruins?
A. I have to see every. single. one.
B. I like to visit the most popular/interesting spots, but then I tend to get templed-out
C. I don’t care to ever see another temple again. I just want pictures.
How do you feel about crowds?
A. Crowds don’t bother me. In fact, I think the mix of people from all over the world is what makes the experience.
B. It’s annoying, but I can deal with them for special events/occasions
C. I really can’t stand crowds. I need my personal space.
How much time are you planning to spend in Siem Reap?
A. As long as it takes to see everything (at least a week)
B. 4-7 days, and I prefer not to rush through things
C. 1-3 days, or as little as possible so I can get to the beach
What is your budget?
A. What’s a budget?!
B. I’m trying to keep a moderate budget, but willing to spend a little more than usual for this once in a lifetime trip.
C. I can spare…like $20?
If you answered mostly A’s:
It sounds like the 7-day pass is the one for you! This will allow you to make the most out of your trip and see as much as possible. It will also allow you to take it slow to avoid getting “templed out”. Many people go with the 7-day pass so that they can venture to the temples in the morning or evening, and take a break from temples the rest of the day. This is also a great way to avoid over-exhaustion in the extreme heat, especially if you are visiting between March and May when temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. A 7-day pass will set you back $60 USD. But keep in mind, that is also 7 days of tuk tuk rides, or whichever mode of transportation you go with.
If you answered mostly B’s:
You should consider a 3-day pass for $40! You want to hit the main sites, but you are not willing to suffer through heat and crowds to see them all. You’d like to learn about some of the history and interesting facts, take some good pictures and then spend the rest of your time exploring Siem Reap or getting a massage. Even if you only use two days, it’s nice to be able to take a day off in between visits. You can take your time and not overdo it.
If you answered mostly C’s:
Then you are a lot like us, and the one day pass is your best bet! You can purchase your ticket at 5 pm the day prior to the day you plan to visit, and you will be admitted for the sunset. Wake up the next morning for the sunrise, hit the the 4-5 main temples, take your pictures, and then head for the chips and salsa and margaritas on Pub Street!
Okay so this quiz is meant to be fun, but we hope to give you an idea of what you’re in for when visiting Angkor. Angkor Wat is just one temple of many in the Angkor Archaeological Park stretching over 400 square kilometers. That being said, we found that one day was enough for us. I think a big part of that was due to the heat, the lack of a good guide, and time. Additionally, exhaustion was finally catching up to us after spending a few days in Hong Kong, making a day trip to Macau and then traveling to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. If we were to do it all over, we probably would have planned to stay in Siem Reap a little longer, bought the 3-day pass, and then took our time. Instead, we decided to do it in one day and we found ourselves climbing temples in the middle of the day with temperatures over 100 degrees. Needless to say, that resulted in us being cranky and miserable. All we wanted to do was escape the heat and find some food, air-con and margaritas! We don’t really have any regrets though. We still feel like we saw all we needed to and don’t feel like we missed out on anything.
Some other things to consider that may help you plan:
- You will need to arrange transportation to and from the temples each day. The most popular way is via tuk tuk, which will run you about $15/day, unless you are visiting the outlying temples, some 20 kilometers from Angkor Wat. Other options are bicycles, tour buses, vans or private car.
- Are you interested in a tour guide? We feel having a tour guide – one that spoke better English – would have made it a better experience. English tour guides will run you about $30-35/day and can usually be arranged through your guest house or driver. Many people suggest getting a tour guide for one day, and then exploring on your own the remaining days. Additionally, you could invest in a guide book or audio guide so that you can tour completely on your own.
- What time of year you are visiting will likely have an effect on your schedule. March – May is exceptionally hot, making temple-hopping during the day really uncomfortable. Remember – you will be in and out of temples, some including climbing, without much (if any) shade from the sun. It’s hot! Rainy season is from May – October, so expect showers throughout the day that could put a damper on your plans. November – February is said to be the best time to visit, but then you will likely be dealing with even worse crowds. Make sure to research the time of year you will be visiting so you can plan accordingly.
Check out our video to see how much ground we covered in a day. Have you been to Angkor Wat? How much time do you think is enough time?