Bayon Temple entrance

Visiting Angkor Wat in 2024: Complete Travel Guide

This post was last updated on 12/22/2023.

Visiting Angkor Wat is a must-see when you’re in Cambodia and was one of my favorite activities during my one-month trip in the country.

Angkor Wat, which means “City of Temples” in Khmer, is one of the largest religious sites in the world. The temple complex has over a thousand buildings, with the Temple of Angkor Wat being the most famous (it’s on the Cambodian flag). Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century under the reign of King Suryavarman II as a sign of his dedication to the Hindu god Vishnu. Today, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts millions of tourists each year.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Angkor Wat and making the most of it.

How much does it cost to visit Angkor Wat?

There are three ticket options for visiting Angkor Wat:

  • A one-day ticket costs $37 USD and is valid for five days.
  • A three-day ticket costs $62 USD and is valid for 10 days.
  • A seven-day ticket costs $72 USD and is valid for one month.

For multi-day tickets, you don’t have to make your visits on consecutive days. For example, with the three-day ticket, you can visit Angkor Wat any three days within a 10-day period starting from the entry date you selected.

How to buy your ticket to Angkor Wat

There are two ways to buy your ticket to Angkor Wat: purchase in-person at the Angkor Wat Ticket Office or buy online. I recommend buying your ticket online so you can skip the ticket office line and go straight into the complex.

Buying your ticket online

Angkor Enterprise is the only official website for purchasing tickets online. It’s a straightforward process. Create an account, select when you want your entry date to be, upload a photo of yourself, provide your details, and checkout. When you’ve completed your purchase, download the ticket to your phone.

As you approach the complex entrance, just pull up your ticket on your phone to show the guard. When you enter each temple, you’ll need to do the same.

Buying your ticket in-person

The ticket office is right outside of the entrance of Angkor Wat. Here’s the Google Map location. Stop by the ticket office before you go in to purchase your ticket. The office is open from 5 AM to 5:30 PM every day. Note that if you buy your ticket after 4:45 PM, it’ll be valid starting the next day.

Do not buy a ticket from anyone that approaches you outside of Angkor Wat or the ticket office. Tickets require a photo of yourself, so anyone outside the ticket office that says they can sell you a ticket is trying to scam you.

When is the best time to visit Angkor Wat?

There are a few temples that open up at 5 AM: Angkor Wat, Srassrang, Phnom Bakheng, and Prerup Temple. All other temples open at 7 AM. All temples, including Angkor Wat and Srassrang, close at 5 PM. Phnom Bakhen and Prerup Temple are the only two that don’t close until 7 PM.

There isn’t necessarily a best time of day to visit Angkor Wat. A lot of people go as soon as the temples open to see sunrise, and the early wake-up call is worth it. A lot of people also go in the late afternoon and stay until closing to see the sunset. Just keep in mind that mid-day is when it’ll be the hottest.

You can visit Angkor Wat year-round, but it’s best to visit from November through February. This is during Cambodia’s dry season and when it’s the least hot and humid. Since you’ll be outside the entire time and some temples don’t have any shade, you’ll have the most comfortable conditions. However, the tradeoff is you’ll run into more tourists during this time. If you go to the less popular temples though, they can be surprisingly empty.

As of January 2023, tourism is still recovering from COVID-19. Angkor Wat gets 1,800 to 2,000 foreign visitors a day right now. Before the pandemic, it got up to 9,000 international visitors a day. Since there’s still a fraction of visitors compared to pre-pandemic, now is a great time to visit Angkor Wat and take advantage of the quieter temples.

A doorframe inside the Angkor Wat temple

Can you visit Angkor Wat without a guide?

Yes, you can visit Angkor Wat without a guide and many do so. You’ll lose out on the history and context that a guide provides, but you’ll have the freedom to stay as long as you like and set your itinerary. There’s also enough tour groups that visit the most popular temples that make it easy to overhear some information.

So if you don’t mind simply looking and taking in the views, you can visit Angkor Wat without a guide and save some money.

I visited Angkor Wat twice – once with a guide and once without. I think this offers the best of both options.

I had a fantastic half-day sunrise tour through my hostel in Siem Reap, Onederz Hostel Siem Reap. Our guide, David, was funny, personable, knowledgeable, and kept the energy high even as some of us were getting tired toward the end of the tour. We saw four of the most popular temples and I felt the information provided by David helped me get the most out of my visit.

I also visited four less popular temples without a guide. At my hostel, a group of four of us shared a tuk tuk and we simply told the driver which temples we wanted to go to. Even without a guide, I had a great time wandering through temples on our own and taking photos. We also saw a lot less people at these temples, which was a nice change from being surrounded by other tourists and tour groups.

Is one day enough for Angkor Wat?

Depending on what you want to see and your interests, one day in Angkor Wat can be enough. It’s going to be a long and tiring day if you try to cram all the most well-known temples into one day – that’s about 9 or 10 temples. But if that’s all you have, I don’t think you’ll regret it. You can also cut down the list depending on which ones look the most interesting to you. What you’ll miss out on is discovering the less touristed temples where you might be the only one there.

If you have the time and you enjoy ruins like Angkor Wat, I recommend spending at least two days. It’ll be less exhausting and you can see some temples that others rarely go to.

Is Angkor Wat worth it?

Yes, Angkor Wat is definitely worth visiting. If you’ve already seen the many temples of Cambodia and southeast Asia, you might feel “templed out.” But visiting Angkor Wat is still worth it because it’s unlike any other temple you’ve seen. I like to describe Angkor Wat more as religious ruins. They’re the remains of an incredible, sprawling religious site from hundreds of years ago – not the sparkling, dripping in gold temples that you usually experience. They’re still magnificent and over the top, but in a completely different way.

Visiting Angkor Wat feels like you’re discovering the ancient, untouched remains of an empire that’s been lost to time. Some temples have been claimed by nature over time, with trees growing in, around, and over them.

Inside Ta Prohm temple

Is it safe to visit Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat is very safe to visit. While there are still landmines in Cambodia, Angkor Wat has been demined. There are a few things to watch out for though.

Be careful with your belongings to avoid pickpocketing and bag snatching.

Also beware of scams. Only buy tickets at the ticket office or online at the official website. Don’t buy tickets from anyone that approaches you on the streets. Inside the Angkor Wat complex, you might be approached by people offering a tour, information, or to show you something. These are usually unofficial guides who are looking to make some quick guides. Official guides wear yellow shirts and have a lanyard with their credentials.

Lastly, beggars and children might come up to you asking for money. Poverty is widespread in Cambodia, but you shouldn’t give money to them. It can encourage additional or even more aggressive behavior as soon as you open your wallet. By giving money to children, it also encourages their parents to continue exploiting their children instead of giving them a better life by sending them to school.

How to get to Angkor Wat

Getting to Angkor Wat from Siem Reap

By taking a tour

If you’re taking a guided tour, transportation will be included. You’ll most likely take a van or minibus.

By tuk tuk

I recommend taking a tuk tuk if you’re going to Angkor Wat without a guide. It’s the best balance between cost, convenience, and comfort. The largest tuk tuks can fit up to four people so you can share the cost if you’ve got a group. Your tuk tuk driver will drop you off at the entrance of each temple you want to visit, and they’ll wait for you until you’re done.

There are a lot of tuk tuks in Siem Reap, so it’s incredibly easy to hire one. I recommend asking your accommodation what a fair price is for a tuk tuk. They can also help arrange one for you.

By motorbike

Most people who go to Angkor Wat unguided choose a tuk tuk. You’re able to enjoy the views, instead of focusing on driving. You also get a bit of shade with a tuk tuk. But it is possible to rent a motorbike and do Angkor Wat on your own. There are many bike rental shops in Siem Reap.

By bicycle

Although Angkor Wat is only about 6.5 kilometers from Siem Reap, the complex spans over 400 square kilometers. Depending on which temples you want to see, you could be covering a long distance during your visit. It makes a great workout though.

It’s also hot and humid in Cambodia, so you might be in for a grueling day. Make sure you properly hydrate, wear sunscreen, and have a hat. When I visited Angkor Wat, I saw some cyclists so it is certainly doable and can be a fun adventure.

By taxi

Going by taxi is the most comfortable but expensive option. The only real advantage is having air conditioning. Your accommodation can help you get a taxi.

Getting to Angkor Wat from Phnom Penh

To get to Angkor Wat from Phnom Penh, you’ll need to go to Siem Reap first. It’s a one-hour flight or five to six hours by driving (via private car, bus, or van). Here’s what you need to know about all your transportation options for getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and vice versa.

If you’re thinking about doing Angkor Wat as a day trip from Phnom Penh, it’s doable but I wouldn’t recommend it. Driving round-trip takes a total of 10 to 12 hours. Flying round-trip is only two hours total, but you need to factor in the time it takes to get to and from the airport and arriving early for your flights.

What to wear to visit Angkor Wat

Since Angkor Wat is a religious site where you’ll be visiting temples, you’ll need to be respectful by following the dress code. You need to cover your shoulders and legs down to the knees. This means no short shorts, short skirts, and tank tops.

Note there’s a viewpoint within the Angkor Wat Temple that’s very strict on how you cover up. Wrapping a scarf around your waist or shoulders isn’t acceptable. However, wearing a sarong and simply putting a jacket on is acceptable. I’m not sure why this is the case, as it’s the only temple in Angkor Wat that had signs showing what pieces of clothing are and aren’t allowed. There were also staff carefully checking how you were covered up – not just that you were covered up.

Can I wear sandals to Angkor Wat?

Yes you can. Just make sure they’re comfortable since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and climbing up and down steps. If it’s a rainy day, you’ll be better off wearing sneakers since the dirt paths get muddy and you’ll encounter puddles of water.

What to pack

  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Camera
  • Power bank
  • Umbrella (if it’s going to rain)
  • Water (can also be bought inside)
  • Snacks (can also be bought inside and there are restaurants)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper

Are there toilets at Angkor Wat?

There are toilets within the Angkor Wat complex. Some are nicer than others. You should be prepared though, so bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper in case you use a bathroom that’s barebones.

Complete travel guide to visiting Angkor Wat