Exploring Angkor Wat

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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 day passes from the Visitors Centre.

Type of passes:
1-day ($20)
3-day ($40)
7-day ($60)
*Free entry to children aged 12 and below and Cambodians so there is no need to buy a pass for your driver.

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A photo will be taken on the spot and printed out on your pass. That pass is made of normal paper so keep it somewhere where it wouldn’t get wet or soggy !

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

Angkor Map

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. 

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The place was HUGE. People might think I’m asian so that means I’m small and everything else is bigger in comparison, but no. The whole park measures approximately 400 sq km!

 

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Very intrigued by the motifs on the wall

 

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Central Tower, Angkor Wat

 

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One of the local Cambodian kids selling bracelets and bottled water

 

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One of the perks of traveling around the park on a bike is that you don’t have to enter temples with groups of tourists. If you see a temple that looks too crowded, you can always move on to the next and come back later. Your time in the park becomes more flexible and your photos won’t be unintentionally photo bombed with tourists in the background

 

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Enroute to the next temple!

 

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While cycling we spotted a bunch of monkeys feasting ! These little munchkins would cling onto you and ask for food, so if you’re afraid of monkeys, stay away. They’re mostly harmless though!

 

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Prasat Bayon

 

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The famous Ta Phrom, where Tomb Raider was filmed. This was really touristy and there was a line just to get a picture at this particular spot!

 

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If you explore beyond the touristy “picture checkpoints”, you can find lots of ruins crushed by the weight of nature. Normally these have ropes to barricade people out for safety purposes, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you should just climb in to take a look. Just be careful!

 

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More motifs

 

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Nick and I in some windows at Ta Phrom

 

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.

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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.

Enjoy!

Dara

Wanderer of lands, searcher of souls. Last seen tree hugging and running wild into the mountains. Might have eaten all the ice cream in the tub.

2 Responses

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  2. June 29, 2013

    […] Enjoyed this article? Get more tips about exploring Angkor Wat. […]

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