Exploring Angkor Wat
There are many ways to get to the Angkor Archaeological Park. By motorbike taxis, tuk tuks, or rent a mini bus. But we chose the cheapest way — Renting a bicycle. This will cost you only about US$1-2. Without knowing how far away it was, we embarked on a journey north of the city center after breakfast. There was heavy traffic, mostly mini buses and tuk tuks, which I assume are also travelers or tour groups heading to the park. Eventually after cycling under the hot sun, we covered approximately 6 kilometers and arrived at this “toll gate”, But first you have to get dayÂ passes from the Visitors Centre.
Type of passes:
*Free entry to children aged 12 and below and Cambodians so there is no need to buy a pass for your driver.
TIP: If you buy a pass in the evening, you can enter the park after 17:00 to view the sunset without it counting as use of a day on your pass, and make use of the full day the next day
Roaming around the different Khmer temples on a bicycle can get tiring. The circuit in the park is so big that it takes a lot of time to cover the distance of getting from one temple to another. Most people would take the 3 day pass and finish the park at a comfortable pace. I was overly excited and attempted to conquer everything in one day but that was impossible given that I didn’t set off at 6am in the morning. Eventually we decided to skip some of the less interesting temples, but I still had good fun exploring the rest!
TIP : Remember to bring lots of bottled water! The local stores within the park premises will try to sell you overpriced drinks or even charge you to “park” your bicycle as you tour the area.Â
Watching the sunset at Phnom Bakheng was one of my favorite parts. You’d have to get there a little bit earlier before the sun sets. Climbing up the steps will be okay at the start, but the higher you go, the steeper and narrower the steps become, and you’ll find yourself on all fours trying to climb up to the top. Once you get up the view is breathtaking. I only wish there weren’t SO many people blocking the awesome view.
The challenge would be climbing down the hill after the sun sets, then cycling back to the city. Going there seemed easy in the day, but returning back to town was a nerve wrecking ride. I felt scared most of the time from the lack of headlights or any reflectors on the bicycle. None of the fast moving vehicles on the road could see us and having to cycle on the road shoulders with no street lamps or headlights can get super intimidating. You can only try to cycle at top speed on the same side of the road and depend on the lights coming from the cars behind you.