TIPS FOR VISITING THE ANGKOR TEMPLE COMPLEX
The Angkor temple complex with Angkor Wat at it’s center, is a topic that has been written and discussed extensively, and rightfully so. What can there be left to tell? I think it’s important to note, that although it's impossible to have the temples all to yourself, with proper planning you can get unobstructed views and some peaceful settings.
Depending on if you go with a guide or solo will determine your itinerary, but many times the guides can be very flexible. I went with a guide and a set itinerary, which worked for me because I didn’t really want to spend time planning. Luckily, he knew all of the tricks to avoid the crowds and I took note.
Mix in some temples that aren’t on the main tourist trail. They may not be as grand, but the smaller less popular stops can reward you with seclusion and people free views. It was nice to have uninterrupted exploring of the ruins every once in awhile.
Change up your eating habits. Take a break after sunrise to eat while the majority of tourists are entering and photographing Angkor Wat. If you arrive at a temple and a bus pulls in, take your lunch early and wait for the group to move on to their next stop.
Walk through the sites backwards. We toured Angkor Wat this way and it made all the difference. Everyone usually starts at the main entrance, which gave us a lovely solo walk around the temple and some really nice photo ops without a tourist in sight.
Of course, you will end up in a crowd at some point, so just try to make the best of it, and don’t let it spoil your experience of these great architectural wonders.
It’s so very hot. I know everyone says this but I’m from South Louisiana, and I still found it quite uncomfortable. I visited mid-February, and the two days I spent exploring were draining and exhausting. Keep this in mind when planning your trip, and don’t overbook your days.
A few of the overgrown temples gave some respite from the heat, but be sure to prepare yourself with lots of water and wet face wipes. These were a welcome comfort to wipe the dust/sweat from my face and neck after each stop.
I spoke to a few people in town that were disillusioned by their visit. I think going in with the right expectations is a big factor and will influence your experience of the temples. A little research and preparation will go a long way in making your visit memorable one.