The first thing you need to know is that the Angkor site is huge, really huge… It’s not a place, but a collection of many temples and even a city, spread over a great distance; walking between the sites is not really viable due to distance and heat.
Tickets: the site is not walled as such, and Cambodians drive, walk and cycle through the site freely – you can not, and you will be spotted…
Tickets must be purchased (there is a booth on the approach from Siem Reap) and are available for 1, 3 or 7 days, the days don’t have to run concurrently (so you can take a rest day) and if you buy a ticket after 4.30pm that evening will not count as one of your days – handy if you want to do a sunset at Angkor Wat. Current prices as a guide (January 2013): 1 day US $20, 3 day US $40.
The ticket will have your photo on it and must be produced on request, in practice you will be stopped when approaching the site by road, and may also be asked at each individual site. Failure to produce a ticket will incur a $100 fine.
These scenes are inside the walls of Angkor Thom, and might give an idea as to the scale of things…
Most visitors get to and around the site on an organised tour, or with a tuk-tuk hired for the day ($15 for the day). Good drivers will take you to requested sites, and also advise on best entry points and where to collect you etc, some provide cool drinks from an ice box.
In this postcard I will cover the three main sites:
Apart from the sheer scale of the monuments, the quality lies in the construction and the carvings which cover almost everything. With a short visit is can be easy to overlook this – take some time to wander in the less busy parts of the monuments if you can.
There are also many more temples than 3/ 4 day visitors get to see – a good driver will take you on request. Some of the remoter temples do not require entry fees as they are off circuit.
I had a 3 day pass and spread visits over 6 days; I saved the last day for a bike ride round the whole site – this gives a great sense of freedom and you can piece the whole thing together at your own pace. The refreshment sellers will look after your bike if you want to go in to a site. If you are not a good cyclist you might want to not do this… it can be very hot and the round trip was over 35km.