Angkor Wat is one of the most visited temples in the world, but despite the fame surrounding the name, there are a lot misconceptions about what Angkor Wat really is and how to plan a visit.
Angkor Wat is the name of a protected area in Siem Reap, composed of many temples with different names.
Angkor Wat is also the name of the biggest and most famous temple.
You can’t walk the distance between the temples, you need to hire a tuk tuk that takes you around or plan to drive yourself. If you have time, I recommed purchasing a 3 day pass for $40 per person because there is a lot to see and the heat and humidity will slow you down. The typical tourist itinerary is the one day pass starting with sunrise at Angkor Wat, visiting the temple in the morning and seeing more temples in the afternoon. The best thing you can do to avoid the crowd is to do the opposite route.
With the help of our driver we planned our itinerary for three days. The cost of the tuk tuk for three days was around $50.
Angkor Wat - Day 1 Route:
North Gate of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, South Gate of Angkor Thom.
Angkor Wat - Day 2 Route:
Angkor Wat. Take the morning to rest and start the visit in the early afternoon because the tourists that do the single day route will be gone by that time.
Angkor Wat - Day 3 Route:
Ta Prohm, Prae Roup, Eastern Mebon, Prasat Banteay Srei.
Some temples are more impressive than others and it depends on your personal taste, but I would put the following on your "must-see" list: Angkor Wat (of course), Bayon for the giant buddha heads, Prae Roup for its majesty and Ta Prohm for its trees merged into the temples.
Siem Reap is a touristy town where you will find cheap and good accommodation. People are generally nice and helpful. Try your best to help locals by eating in small restaurants (the ones with the plastic chairs). Food is cheap and tasty.
Also please give a little something to support Cambodian kids (many hotels and restaurants have a little box for donations).