Latagaw Diaries: Tips for Siem Reap Temple Run

Siem Reap is synonymous to the Angkor Wat. However, Angkor Wat is just one of the many beautiful temples you can see in this town.

Peak season for tourists in this area is from September to December because the temperature drops off. However, when I was here last week, the temperature was 30 degrees celsius with high humidity. I was sweating.

If you are planning to see the temples, here are some tips for you:

1. Rent a Tuk-tuk.

If you are coming from downtown Siem Reap and you want to see the temples, rent a tuk tuk a day ahead. Rates are the following:
  • Hotel to Angkor Wat (the tuktuk driver will take you to the ticket booth first then to Angkor Wat): 15USD
  • Angkor Wat to Small Circuit: 15 USD
I recommend Mr. Tong (see post tip #2.) He is nice, honest and speak good English.

2. Take a pic of your Tuk-tuk.

Each tuk-tuk has a distinguishing mark (name of the driver and phone number) and the driver surely looks different from the others but I can't tell. It looks like a sea of green tuk-tuks to me. 

So I would usually take a pic of the tuk-tuk plus the driver just so I know what to look for. If you are lost, don't worry. The drivers would usually recognize you first.

If you like the driver and would like him to drive you again some other time, take a pic of his phone number which is printed on his tuk-tuk. Mr. Tong's is 010 65 65 11. You can ask the hotel receptionist to contact him for you.

3. Angkor Pass.

Passes sold are the following:
1. 20USD one day pass
2. 40USD three day pass
3. 60USD seven day pass

The temple officially opens from 5am to 6pm. We were there at 4:45 am. And there were people queuing already. Don't worry. The line moves fast and counters open early. Ours opened at 4:50 am.

At the counter they will take your picture. This is how your Angkor Pass will look like:

And you would need to present this at every temple you go to.

4. Angkor Sunrise and Sunsets.

Our tuk tuk took us to Angkor Wat, where almost everyone flocks to. My fault because I forgot the name of the temple I wanted to go to. Imagine hundreds of people with their hands, selfie sticks and tripod in the air waiting for the majestic sunrise. Not to mention trying to ward off the ladies selling you pants and scarves.

There are many places to see the sunrise while avoiding the crowds like Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Thom, Phnom Bok, Phnom Krom... They say all these temples face the sunrise anyways. Just pray that there is no rain that day or it would really be awful.

You might want to bring a flashlight as well.

Oh and sunsets are just as dramatic.

5. Food and water.

Although there are stalls offering food, it is much cheaper and safer to bring your own. And more convenient if you feel thirsty in the middle of a temple.

You can ask your hotel to pack you a meal.

6. Sun protection.

  • Umbrella (come rain or shine.) 
  • Scarf to cover your body while walking.
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Sunblock.
7. Small Circuit vs. Grand Circuit.

If you have one day, the Small Circuit is good tour to take. It took us half a day only to go around the three temples: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom and some smaller temples we just passed along. 

Ask your tuk tuk what the temples are included in the tour as ideally the Small Circuit should include: Angkor Thom, Ta Phrohm, and Banteay Kdei, and some of the minor but interesting temples such as the Baphoun, The Terrace of the Leper King, The Terrace of the Elephants, the Twelve Prasats, Spean Thma and Sras Srang before returning to Angkor Wat.

If you have a lot of time to spare and you are staying for a day or two, you should take the Grand Circuit. It includes: is an extension on the little circuit but taking in Preah Khan, Preah Neak Pean to the Eastern Mebon and the various monuments like Ta Som, Preah Rup, before returnin to Angkor Wat and is highly recommended for anyone spending three or more days in the complex.

8. Taboos.

9. Guide is at 15USD.

Find one who speaks english that you understand or else that's money down the drain.

10. Getting around.

There are other modes of transportation to tour the Angkor Wat Complex such as walking (gaaaaaaa), biking, elephant or a hot air balloon ride.


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