Angkor Wat, Cambodia – Is One Day Enough to Explore This Ancient Wonder?

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In all of my travels around Southeast Asia, one of the most unforgettable sights I encountered was the sun slowly rising over the elaborately carved stone pagodas of the temples at Angkor Wat. The sky shifted from dark indigo to pale lavender and as the sunlight flooded over the ancient temples, the details in the stone became visible to the eye.

We spent the rest of the day riding down dusty roads on our rented bicycles, stopping at temple after crumbling temple to photograph the stone faces entwined with vines and the cheeky monkeys climbing on the sculptures. After 12 hours of biking, we rode back into Siem Reap exhausted, sore-legged and happy.

You might be wondering whether you should see this enormous religious site over one day, two days or more – what is the right amount of time?

Angkor Wat Passes

In order to enter the archaeological site of Angkor Wat, the largest ancient temple complex in the world, you must buy a pass. The passes are sold in one day, three day or seven day blocks and they must be used on consecutive days. The prices are $20 for one day, $40 for three days and $60 for seven day passes. Visiting hours for the park are 5am until 6pm.

Angkor-Wat

Should You Spend One Day, or More?

Many people choose the three day or even seven day pass options, because they have travelled across the world to see Angkor Wat and they want to spend as much time exploring it as possible. There are so many temples and they are so spread out that it would be impossible to visit them all in one day. Having a multiple day pass allows you to come and go as you please, perhaps watching the sunrise on one day and then taking the next afternoon to explore other temples and see more. You won’t have to rush or feel like you need to cram everything into one day.

If you are very interested in ancient culture and temple architecture or you want to do a lot of photography at the temples during different times of the day, the 3 or 7 day pass will be worth it for you.

However, on the other hand for most people after a while the temples all start to look the same. Don’t get me wrong – each temple is a work of art and an absolute architectural wonder. However, when the next one is equally impressive and very similar in scale and style, you start to experience temple burnout after four or five. In my experience, a full day of watching the sunrise and then exploring the park was enough time to see the main highlights and the most iconic temples. After that, you might not have the desire to go back again and see more of the same.

Also, budget backpackers might find the $40 or $60 fee for multiple days quite steep, especially compared to the cheap prices of other attractions in Cambodia. If $20 fits your budget better and gives you enough time to feel like you have experienced Angkor Wat, one day is probably the best option. Go with what feels right to you and enjoy exploring Angkor Wat.

photo credit:Global Goose

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

About the Author: Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, packed full with guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style since 2011, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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