I've said it before and I'll say it again - Cambodia is one of my favorite countries I've ever visited. As of now I've been fortunate to visit 30 countries, so I think that's saying a lot! It's been a dream of mine to see Angkor Wat and experience the beautiful Cambodia culture.
I've compiled a list of tips to help make your Cambodian trip that much more memorable. Nobody likes those little hassles that pop up during your trip. Hopefully telling you about some of these tips will help alleviate any of the extra stresses that travel can cause.
Buy your visa ahead of time online.
When planning your trip to Cambodia, be sure to check what the Visa restrictions are for your country of origin. If you’re an American, you definitely need to have a visa to enter the country.
Be sure to apply for this online before your trip. It’s a super easy process. You just have submit a passport photo (no smiling!) and $36. My visa got approved same day. Just have to print it out to have on hand when you land.
You can only buy your ticket from 5am to 5:30pm.
You’ll probably want to purchase your ticket at the Angkor Ticket Center which is only from 5am to 5:30pm - essentially only during day light hours. There are 3 ticket options - 1 day, 3 days or 7 days. These don’t need to be consecutive either! Just within a certain time frame.
If you’re looking to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat be sure to purchase you tickets the day before. You don’t want to be stuck having to buy a ticket and then going to Angor Wat. You won’t get a great view of the sunrise if you get there too late. Read all my tips on how to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
They take your picture that is printed directly onto your ticket. Also, they recently changed the process so that they now accept credit cards in addition to cash.
Hire a car/guide, not a tuk tuk.
Your experience and visit will be that much better if you hire a car to take you to each temple. I wouldn’t hire a tuk tuk for this because most days are extremely hot in Cambodia. In a car, you’ll have access to air conditioning. Second, a car will be much faster between temples especially if you’re intending on seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat, trust me, take a car. We bypassed so many tuk tuks on the way.
If you haven’t experienced a tuk tuk ride, definitely try one out in town! They are a fun way to get around in all other instances.
I think it’s also worth hiring a guide along with your hired car. They are extremely knowledgable and really help you get the most out of your visit. Best part is they are super affordable! I believe we had a private car and guide for 2 for just $30/each for the day.
Think your wardrobe through before your trip.
If you’re a woman, for basically every single temple you visit in Angkor Wat, you have to have both your knees and shoulders covered as a sign of respect. It’s not the most pleasant experience if you don’t prepare ahead of time. You could find yourself wrapped in multiple scarfs, struggling to keep them wrapped just right and struggling in the heat with multiple layers. Pack for these restrictions!
I made sure to bring skirts and dresses that covered my knees and tops that covered my shoulders. Off the shoulder tops proved to be extremely helpful here. You can just lift them up so they actually cover your shoulders while visiting temples.
Don’t exchange your money.
Trust me, this is one country it is completely unnecessary to exchange your currency. Cambodians accept USD everywhere and in a lot of cases, you may not be able to exchange back to USD after your trip.
IT can get really hot - bring a fan, don’t forget water.
Make sure you adequately prepare when heading out to the temples. The heat and humidity can get really intense in Siem Reap. Be sure to stay hydrated and bring a fan to help stay cool.
1. Buy your visa before visiting.
2. Buy your entrance ticket to Angkor Wat before a sunrise visit.
3. Hire a car, not a tuk, tuk.
4. Think about your wardrobe before.
5. Don't exchange your money.
6. Stay hydrated and cool.
Moral of the story: A visit to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia should take a bit of planning. Not much, just a few things to think about before visiting that will make your experience that much better!
Yours Truly // Shannon