In the 12th century, King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat as a grand worshipping place and mausoleum. Today it’s the largest religious monument on the planet. This ancient relic of the Khmer Empire is located in Angkor Archaeological Park. It’s packed with so many sights that you can easily spend a full afternoon there. Make sure to purchase a pass to see the temple at the park’s entrance; armed with this ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the park’s extraordinary sights.
Treat yourself to a stunning sunrise over Angkor Wat. This is a popular practice for visitors, and for good reason. Late afternoon and sunset is also an ideal time to experience Angkor Wat. Bring a flashlight if you plan on visiting at dusk, as the temple is not outfitted with lights. There are also many steep staircases to the top of the temple, so it’s a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes.
Impressive gopuras (towers) act as the gateway to the temple. Beautiful courtyards and libraries are packed within the building, but make sure to focus on the walls. Intricate sculptures and carvings are engraved into the surface and create a photographer’s dream.
Browse for souvenirs at the gift shop selling local arts and crafts just outside Angkor Wat. Buy refreshments from the vendors selling street food around the temple. If you’re in the mood for finer fare, try Chez Sophea, a French-style bistro located outside the temple entrance.
Your journey to Angkor Wat will begin from Siem Reap, one of Cambodia’s liveliest cities. The park is located less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) away Siam Reap and you can get there by renting a private tour bus, bicycle or tuk-tuk. Private guides are reasonably priced and will give you an insider’s perspective on the temple.