Angkor Archaeological Park – a World Heritage Site
Located in Northern Cambodia, Bordered by Thailand, and Vietnam at its farther Eastern border.
Siem Reap City has been called the “gateway” to Angkor Archaeological Park, a major attraction of Cambodia. Angkor Archaeological Park stretches across over 400 square kilometers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Its notoriety stems from the past, as far back as the 9th to 13th centuries when the Khmer Empire was in power. The Khmer Empire was one of the most dominant empires in Asia and throughout the ages ruled over parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Malaysia.
While the Khmer dynasty days have long since passed, their greatest legacy still stands today at Angkor Archeological park, which was once the capital of the empire, occupied by over one million people. Visiting Angkor Park is sure to be a beautiful, powerful, and mystifying way to spend time traveling in Cambodia!
Passes to Angkor Archaelogical Park
When planning your trip to Siem Reap, consider how many days you have to visit the park.
Passes to the park are sold in a variety of ways; you may buy a one-day pass for $20; a three-day pass, which is for three days consecutive or nonconsecutive within one week for $40; or even a seven-day pass which is valid for an entire month for $60.
Passes are sold at the main entrance, on the road to Angkor Wat.
Park hours for visiting are any time between 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
You may want to visit Angkor Archaeological Park later in the day; sunsets are said to be especially amazing at the park, especially Angkor Wat.
One day to see a temple may be alright, but to truly see the spectacle of the park, it should be seen in a couple of days, or even a week to take in all of the mystical temples.
Always carry your ticket; if you are caught without possession of a valid ticket you will be fined a new entrances fee. Also, wear light clothing and comfortable shoes. Bring bugspray, and of course, don’t forget your camera!
Tours, Itineraries, and Highlights of Angkor Archaelogical park
As you enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom, you’ll see the line of amazing asuras, giant stone sculptures of squatting men where there used to be a moat. From there, you’ll see amazing giant rocks with sculpted faces to your left and right.
Next, be sure to see the essentials like Central Angkor Thom: Bayon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King. Other highlights are the Royal Palace, Angkor Wat, and Ta Prohm.
There are a lot of amazing sites to see from the long-lost dynasty so be sure to use your time wisely! Below are a few ideas to help you get the most out of your trip to the ancient Khmer ruins.
Suggested Itinerary – Two-day tour of Angkor Archaeological Park
One your first day:
Travel to the South Gate of the park and visit Angkor Thom. Next see the beautiful view of the Bayon, the “Terrace of the Leper King” and the “Terrace of the Elephants.” (Elephants are a much venerated animal in Cambodian culture.) Stroll around to the Baphuon, and last visit the Royal Palace before enjoying the evening Sunset at Angkor Wat.
On your second day, get ready for even more amazing temples and scenic views. Hopefully, you’ve begun to feel the majesty still left behind from the Khmer Dynasty from day one’s amazing temples.
To start on day two, visit Banteay Kdey, then see Banteay Srei, and Ta Prohm. Spend the afternoon scoping out the Floating Village and Silk Factory, then enjoy another famous sunset in Angkor Archaeological Park at Phnom Bakheng.
Adventure Tours, The Rugged out-side of Angkor Archaeological Park
Beng Mealea is just 70 km from Agkor Wat, where you can see the amazing jungle temple that covers over one square kilometer.
Kbal Spean: More jungle adventures may be found here, after a 45 minute hike through the mountains. Translated, Kbal Spean means “The Head of the River” located on the River of 1000 Lingas.
Worth the trek, Phnom Kulen, is the summit of the mountain, and the home of a beautiful waterfall.
Another beautiful temple of ruins off the beaten path is Banteay Chhmar Temple: located in the Banteay Meancheay area, 160 km from Siem Reap City.
Cambodian culture has a sweet spot for elephants; their attraction has spawned elephant transportation tours! You may meet, pet, and ride an elephant from the South Gate of Angkor Thom, on a 30 minute ride, over to Bayon.
The best idea for travelers is to enjoy the view atop an elephant on a hike up the hill around Sunset time. It costs a mere $15 for a round-trip ride, and only $10 if you choose to walk back down instead of ride back.
Staying in Siem Reap City
There are no staying accommodations in the park, but the local city of Siem Reap has many hotels and restaurants to choose from.
Classified at 4 and 5 stars, some of the best hotels in Siam Reap are:
- La Résidence d’Angkor – rated Superb (9.3)
- FCC Angkor Boutique Hotel – rated Fantastic (8.9)
- Golden Banana Boutique Resort – rated Fantastic (8.7)
- Hôtel de la Paix – rated Superb (9.1)
- Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor – rated Fantastic (8.9)
- Siem Reap is home to some of the most astounding ancient temples in the world.
- There is not much else around the area as far as attractions are concerned, and ticket prices are mildly expensive.