I'm visiting Angor Wat for 2 days this week and I'm wondering whether I can just cycle out to the temples or should I get an organised tour? Any recommendations (on a budget)? Is there specific spots for sunrise and sunset and are all of these always swamped with people?
Hope you can help.
i think it's a better idea to join a tour or hire a private guide. Cycling along the way might be fun but a bit far and dusty.
Sunset at Phanom Bakeng Hill is nice but load of tourists.
I took a private guide for one day around us$ 60 including transportation, car and licensed tourist guide to visit Banteay Srei, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom and Angkor Wat.
I recomend to sicle around the Temples, get up orly and see the sunrice over Ankor and after thet take some time to see Ta Prom, Bayon, the teras of the Leperking, Ta Keo. In my opinion its not that far, in about 15-20 min you get there from Siem Reap. On the way bac in the evening at the beginning of the town is a funy fun park on the right hand, check it out ;o) As well dont miss the Deth Fish restaurant, I'm sur you never have eaten in a such cool restaurant, it's a bit pricy but still cheap.
You only get a 1,3 or 7 Day pass for Ankor, maybe think about to take one day more it would by better value! And you cant see all of Ankor in 3 days.
Have fun and just know that this place is full packt by tourists, I didn't like it that much because of all that people and the hassle of the locals which is really anojng! But the temples are gorgeouse!!!
Personally I would hire a tuk-tuk for a day or two- I did that for 2 days, and biked one day (3 day pass). It is an easy ride by bike from most guesthouses in Siem Riep, but some of the temples are quite far apart- you will be very tired if you do the entire circuit by bike, especially when it gets hot.... You can get a driver for like $10 per day- and I split that with another guy I met in my guesthouse...
I've visited Angkor twice (first time for 3 days, second time just for a day) and I think cycling is a great way to see the temples and I don't think there is any need for an organized tour. The first time I went I hired a motorbike and driver. He wasn't exactly a guide because he told me nothing about the temples, just drove me between them all and then slept under a tree while he waited for me. But it only cost a few dollars. In one day with a motorbike you can visit a pretty good chunck of the temples. Then for a couple dollars I picked up one of those Angkor Guide Books which told more info than I could absorb in 3 days. As a historian I did read it quite thoroughly. If you only have a slight interest in history, and are happy just being awed by the architecture, then even your travel guide, like Lonely Planet's:Cambodia, will have a decent amount of info to give you an idea of what you are seeing.
The other 3 days that I spent at the temples I just cycled around. The ground is very flat so it's not a strenuous bike trip at all, but be warned that distances are not short. If you do a loop of Angkor, Bayon, and Ta Prohm expect to bike a good 25-30km during the day. But if you spend your first day on a motor bike seeing everything, then you can just relax on the bicycle and spend some more time slowly visitng some of the temples over again.
Angkor is a very touristy place, but there is a trick to beating the crowds. Probably 90% of people who are visiting Angkor, especially those just on a day trip, all follow the same loop. They go out in the morning and straight to Angkor Thom/ Bayon, east to further out temples and to Ta Prohm in the afternoon, then Angkor Wat in the evening and finally up the hill for sunset. But if you do the trip in reverse then you'll beat the crowds. Head to Angkor Wat first. Visit Ta Prohm earlier in the day and in the late afternoon visit the Bayon. I've visited the Bayon on two different occations at about 4-5pm and both times I had the whole temple to myself while the rest of the crowds were over at Angkor Wat. Other times of day there have been hundreds of fellow tourists.
I've never made it for sunrise yet, but I think everyone heads to Angkor Wat. I've gone up the hill for sunset every day I've spent there and every time it's been very crowded with a disappointing sunset. But it's a great view of the area and still a nice way to finish off the day.
Thanks a mil for your advice. 25-30km is nothing over a whole day so I'll do a bike on one of the days I think. Motorbike sounds like a great option so thanks for that Degolasse and the route tip - wise move. Always good to have a restaurant recommendation so cheers for that as well Pascal
too hot to cycle there. What I did is buy a reference book and rent a Taxi. There Taxi is so cheap, mine is only 20usd a day.
I and a friend rent a Tuktuk for 3 days, the service came from the guest house we stayed in. One day trip from the guest house in Siem Reap to Angkor complex cost us usd12. You could be very flexible with your time arrangement by doing that. The driver took us for the Grand tour and the small tour of Angkor complex. He also advised us what to visit at what time of the day.
The first day we watched the sunset from Phnom bakeng, which I don't recommend. It's so crowded you could not take any picture without a person in front of you. Angkor Wat is best to visit in the early morning. There are much less people when I was there at 5.30am, and it was so serene.
I agree with Degolasse on visiting Ta Phrom earlier in the day and Bayon in the late afternoon. terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the elephant will be best to visit around 3 or 4 when it's not too hot.
In siem reap, make sure you visit Dragon Soup, try their Chnang D'ae (hot pot soup), cheap and a treat for your hungry stomach
Tuk Tuk is the best way to go I think. Our driver was incredible helping us fit in as much as possible in a one day trip, which was great because we had no idea what we wanted to see. Also we were only charged 15 dollars for the day.