Like I posted the other day, I have two tours kicking in of beautiful, mysterious, and ultimately cool Angkor Wat tomorrow and then a second tour on Friday. I’ll be seeing some of my favorites tomorrow like Bayon but will start at the main complex of Angkor Wat in the morning. Here is what you should do if visiting the temples:
- Go to the Angkor National Museum and walk the displays to get an idea of the who, what, when, and why. I went yesterday and learned even more. Some will say its expensive but where else can you go and see centuries of arhived and curated artifacts? So many steles and figures and the room of 1000 buddhas. So much to see and time to spend so if you feel like $12 is too much; you will probably feel the next cost is too.
- You have to choose a pass to visit the park. I will always go for the 3 day pass which costs about $40. Here is where I hear people complaining about the cost. My answer is to give it a F’ing break already people! You are going to visit a vast complex of temples defined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the three day pass you can do two distinct tours and take a day off inbetween. Don’t buy two one day passes as my tuk tuk driver pointed out. Its more expensive! Get the three day pass and perhaps take a day between to rest and consider what you have seen. I will organize my photos and make sure I have captured what I want from the first day.
- Select whether you want to visit sunrise at Angkor Wat. It costs more and I did that last time, but it was cloudy that morning. It was still amazing but just not like the pictures. I will say to be there no matter what as the sky turns either grey or blue is an amazing place to spend a sunrise. It will cost more for the tuk tuk tour if you do the sunrise. Your first stop will be the ticket office so perhaps you decide to do another tour first and have the ticket in hand before going to Angkor Wat itself. The tours have different names and will show you different temple complexes. The tour that often comprises Angkor Wat is more centralized and easier to drive to while the other tour I showed on the map takes longer to get around and then you must park and walk the temple grounds.
- Wear comfy clothing and watch out for the people doing instagram moments. This is a frustrating class of human being that poses the person wearing gorgeous clothing at various places and then takes whatever time to get the moment just right often jamming the walkways. You can also expect different levels of crowds at the various temples so be sure to wear clothing that will protect you if your skin is prone to burn. Its hot in Siem Reap this time of year and it will rain in the afternoons often. An umbrella may not be optional. Also watch out for the selfie sticks. The people that carry these putter length sticks of frustration also jam up the walks and insist on extending them as they walk. I don’t like instagram moments and I don’t like selfie sticks but both are facts of life on the temple tours.
- Be prepared with camera batteries and carry extra SD cards. I have an extra battery and will also carry an extra smaller card just in case. Sometimes cell phone coverage is good and other times its not so if you take pictures and want to share immediately on Facebook or its friend Instagram, you may have to wait until coverage gets better. Also watch your personal possessions and remember where the driver parks. I got lost at one of the temple complexes last time that had 4 entries and the park manager helped me find my tuk tuk driver using a two way radio. They are kind people and will help.
- Finally of note, there are numerous food and water stops along the way. Food can cost more as you can imagine and kindly tuk tuk drivers will often carry water bottles that are ice cold for you. Perhaps tip that driver for the day spent hauling your carcas around 🙂
Then that would be it. I won’t tell you how to enjoy the temple complexes or how long to spend. It will be a longer day both days so enjoy and take good pictures! Watch out for the ‘grammers and their moments. I gave up on Instagram because I despise the pictures of beautiful scenes that always have to have one of the backpackers or travelers or whatever in the picture. I always wish they would just take the damned picture or whatever and let us see the thing without the body lounging around and the stupid captions sometimes that are mini-blog posts. I do like some of them but the whole thing is a frustrating passage sometimes and I wish there were two Angkor Wat parks. One for only instagram visitors and then one for the rest of us.
Now I will exit my rant!