To give you a quick history, the collection of temples that surround Siem Reap compose what still remains of the ancient civilization of Angkor. Originally built 800 years ago in honor of the Hindu god, Vishnu, the Khmer people began to use the temple as a Buddhist sanctuary when the predominant religion of the area changed to Buddhism. Today the temples are still cared for by Buddhist monks alongside tourists from all over the world who have come to see this amazing feat of mankind and learn about this ancient Hindu civilization.
Getting to Angkor Wat is easy! You’ve got two choices. First, you can fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap and it’ll only take you an hour. Second, you can grab a tour bus from one of the many bus stations in Bangkok. While a bus trip will take you about six hours, including a stop at the border to transfer buses and organize your visa-on-arrival, it’s definitely the cheaper option. A bus ticket will cost you 750 Baht while a round-trip flight may cost up to 9,000 Baht depending on how late you book and at what time of the year.
But the good news is, once you arrive in Siem Reap, life is quite cheap. Hostels offer beds for as little as 5 USD per night and even 5-star hotels can be found at 100 USD or less. Entry into the park costs 20 USD for one day or 40 USD for three days. Food is also very affordable. Eat on the street for no more than a dollar per meal or relax in the restaurant of your choice for no more than 5 USD. Once you’ve arranged all that, there’s only one thing left to prepare for.
Transportation to the temples! In Siem Reap, it comes in many forms. The most common is the tuk-tuk (remorque) which can be found all across the city. To hire one as your personal chauffeur for a day usually costs 15 USD and will make your trek across the sprawling temple complex much quicker and more comfortable. Additionally, if you’re not shy of the price, a car or bus can also be hired to bring you from temple to temple. But in my opinion the best way to travel is by renting your own bicycle or scooter, the former costing as little as 3 USD per day and the latter no more than 15 USD. This way, you have complete freedom to explore. Since ancient Angkor includes many temples and ruins, you may want to venture to some of the more obscure areas. Plus, cycling your way around is great exercise! But whichever way you choose to get around, you’ll love your time at Angkor Wat.
So if you’d like to see a bit more of Southeast Asia outside of Thailand, look no further than the nearby city of Siem Reap and the ancient city of Angkor. Its beauty and majesty will certainly astonish you and you’ll not soon forget it. It is truly a wonder of human achievement.