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How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Angkor Wat

Do you want to go to Angkor Wat? I have everything you need to know before you go, including the best time of day to avoid the crowds! Hint: it’s not sunrise! Read this before you go and let me help you plan an unforgettable trip to Angkor Wat!

Reflecting pool at Angkor Wat

Where is Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat is in Northern Cambodia, about 3 miles from the city of Siem Reap. If you want to visit Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is definitely where you’ll want to stay. It’s where all the hotels and restaurants are, and where the airport is!

You can easily get to Siem Reap with a short, 1-hour direct flight from Bangkok.

Tower at Angkor Wat

Why is Angkor Wat famous? 

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It’s a massive temple that sprawls across more than 400 acres of land. It’s also remarkable because this temple is nearly 1,000 years old, but it’s still incredibly well-preserved. You can go inside, climb the stairs, and even go up to the second floor for an incredible panoramic view of the entire complex.

Detailed carvings at Angkor Wat

When was Angkor Wat built?

Angkor Wat was built almost 1,000 years ago, in the early 1100s, and it took 30 years to complete. It was originally built for Hindu funeral rituals, then later it slowly transformed into a Buddhist temple. Inside you can see both Hindu and Buddhist symbols.

Angkor Wat

How was Angkor Wat built?

The temple was built from sandstone bricks that came from the base of a nearby mountain. Between 5-10 million bricks were delivered by a network of hundreds of canals. The temple would have taken much longer than 30 years to build if it weren’t for the canals giving the builders a shortcut!

Entrance to Angkor Wat

When is the best time to visit Angkor Wat?

Cambodia is hot and humid year-round and also has a monsoon season. The best time to visit Angkor Wat is during the dry season, from November to March, when the days are a bit cooler and definitely dryer! It’s better go to in November or March as December and January are peak tourist months.

If you don’t want to fight through the crowds, the best time of day to visit Angkor Wat is around 1 PM when all the big tour groups are at lunch.

We were there at the end of November, arrived around 1 PM, and stayed for about 2 hours. There was a huge difference in the amount of people from when we arrived and when we left!

Colorful Buddha statue

How long to spend at Angkor Wat?

Visiting the temple itself only takes about 2-3 hours. But you’ll definitely want to spend at least 3-4 days in Siem Reap. There are so many other amazing temples nearby that you’ll definitely want to visit while you’re here.

What’s inside Angkor Wat?

It’s hard to imagine this ancient temple is almost 1,000 years old. The massive towers, detailed Buddha statues, and intricate carvings on the walls are still in such unbelievably well-preserved condition.

When you go inside the temple, there are a few things you won’t want to miss.

View from 2nd floor at Angkor Wat
View from the second floor

Go up to the second floor

Be sure to go up to the second floor for a panoramic view of this massive temple complex. During peak season, they limit the amount of people who can go up to the second floor, and sometimes you have to wait in line to go up. However since we went at lunch, we had the 2nd floor almost completely to ourselves, even though we were there at the end of November, which is starting to be peak season.

Note: For some reason the locals call it the third floor. There’s only one set of stairs to go up though. When we got to the second floor we kept looking for another set of stairs for the “third” floor, but there is only one set of stairs.

Lord Vishnu with 8 arms
8-armed statue of Lord Vishnu at Angkor Wat

Statue of Lord Vishnu

Angkor Wat was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. One of the first things you will see when you enter the temple is his statue.

Lord Vishnu is easy to recognize because he is always portrayed with the head of a Buddha and 8 arms! He is also draped in a bright yellow cloth and surrounded by offerings. 

The statue of Lord Vishnu is 16 feet tall and was carved out of a single piece of sandstone. 

Buddha with Naga statue

Buddha & Naga Statue

Inside Angkor Wat you’ll see many Buddha statues, some with their heads chopped off. Even the damaged Buddhas are still lovingly decorated and given offerings. 

My favorite was the Buddha and Naga statue. In Hindu mythology, there is a 7-headed snake. The name for this creature in Sanskrit is Naga. And now you know a word in Sanskrit! ;)

Ancient writing on columns at Angkor Wat
Ancient writing on the columns inside Angkor Wat

Detailed carvings and writing on the walls

Definitely take your time and keep an eye out for the small details. I was amazed at the incredibly intricate carvings on the walls and columns inside Angkor Wat.

Library at Angkor Wat
Ancient library inside Angkor Wat

Booking a tour at Angkor Wat

I always get more out of my trips when I have a local guide who can explain things, answer questions, and offer tips and recommendations that only the locals know.

If you’re looking to book a tour, we highly recommend Indochina Voyages if you want a friendly, knowledgeable, English-speaking guide (and reliable driver) who will make sure you see all the best things to do. They were the ones who gave us the great tip to avoid the crowds and go at lunch!

They can also take you to the other nearby temples so you get the most out of your time in Siem Reap. In between each temple we were very grateful for the air-conditioned vehicle, refreshing cool towels, and cold bottled water!

Detailed carvings at Angkor Wat

Questions about Angkor Wat?

Do you have any questions about visiting? Is there anything you want to know before you go? Leave me a comment below and we’ll do our best to help!


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145 Responses
  1. Shawna

    I just love your pictures so much! This post has so much information and I love it as we are planning a trip for hopefully in the spring next year if the world calms down. Thank you for sharing all of these tips.

  2. Tiffany Hightower

    I love following your adventures around the world. I also love your recipes. How are your puppies? I can’t remember the last time I saw you talk about them.

  3. Rebecca

    I will never be able to travel but I can live vicariously through you. If you think about it in the future please consider sharing more about the trips for instance where you stayed, itinerary, etc. On a side note you shared where to eat in Phoenix a while back. I tried the Starbucks Pink Drink you mentioned shortly after you posted and what a treat it was! So good. Thanks for mentioning it or I wouldn’t have known about it.

  4. Jenn

    Thanks for letting me “vacation” during a pandemic. Enjoy all of your posts and especially your photos. I’m planning to visit the French and Swiss Alps next year, God willing. Any tips are greatly appreciated!

  5. Susan

    Love your travel posts! I’d love to know what trips you have in mind for the future so I’ll have something to look forward to! Your pictures are wonderful and you’re always so thorough.
    Have you ever been to Tuscany? I’d love to read about your travels there, the land of my ancestors and my dream trip.

    1. Amanda

      Hi Susan! I think the next three places on my bucket list are Chichen Itza, the Amalfi Coast, and Patagonia! And yes we have been to Tuscany!!! It was so beautiful and I’d love to go back!! Here are our blog posts about Tuscany. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!! :) xoxo

  6. Pamela

    I love reading your travel posts and especially seeing your phenomenal photography! Can’t wait to see what’s to come once the world gets back to normal.

  7. Lynn

    It is really amazing to see beautiful parts of the world I wouldn’t have been able to visit myself. Every time a new post comes up I save it to read when I am relaxing. Thanks for sharing

  8. J

    Hi Amanda!
    I love seeing all the beautiful photos and the amazing trips you and Kevin go on!
    You give us everything in detail as though we were there with you! Seeing all the places through your eyes is an adventure in itself! Well done!
    Stay safe and be well in these scary and uncertain times!

  9. Lynne Davis

    Amanda, I have followed you for probably 12 years, and I so enjoy your posts! You take stunning pictures, and you always include great information for travelers. Cheers!

  10. Teresa

    What a beautiful place, so much wonderful history. Thank You for the beautiful views on my quarantined vacation.

  11. Marilynne Wasielewski

    I love that you share all this beauty, from all your trips, with us. This one is on my bucket list and your tips and photos are the best I’ve ever seen on this amazing destination. Thank you so much for bringing this amazing world a little bit closer to me and all your readers.

  12. Kristen

    As always your photos are stunning and your writing makes me want to visit every single location you post about.

    1. Emily Rocks

      So beautiful! I love discovering all the travel gems in your posts! Can’t wait to be able to travel again! Thanks amanda!

    2. Lynn

      It is really amazing to be able to see beautiful parts of the world I wouldn’t have been able to visit myself. Every time a new post comes up I save it to read when I am relaxing. Thanks for sharing

  13. Ashley

    Do you use any apps for self-guided tours of places like this? Do those exist–one’s that will talk you through it so you can listen and not read as you go?

  14. Laura

    This looks like such an AMAZING trip. You always bring things to life with your photos and personalized information. I would LOVE to take a tour with you sometime (hint for a new field for you :-). Thanks for keeping the travel world in front of us during these home-bound days :-)

  15. Rob Schabert

    I enjoyed your visit, information and photos, as I do for nearly all of your posts. Thank for your efforts on our behalf! Now more than ever, while travel is more difficult, I appreciate your travels and posts.

  16. Lori East

    I love your amazing photographs and insight into these mesmerizing views! My husband works in an oil refinery and has many friends from overseas that we plan to visit one day! I hope we can make it happen and see some of these spectacular places!

  17. Terijo Jones

    Looks like I’m not the only one who saves these emails to refer to in the hopes of going there one day! And not the only one missing your travel adventures now (besides yourself I’m sure!) Thanks for taking us along on your adventures and I look forward to more and hopefully being there one day myself.

  18. Lori McCleskey

    I love how you share your travels with us – we get to see places I’ve never even heard of and will never travel to, but I do enjoy it very much! Thanks for sharing

  19. Laurie Gommermann

    I love visiting so many different countries through your eyes!
    Very interesting, entertaining and educational. Love your exploits,
    Can’t wait to see where you go next.

    Love your gorgeous pictures and detailed descriptions of things to do, see and where to eat and stay!

    My middle son used your info on recent travel trips to Italy and Peru.

    THANKS!

  20. Shanna Uptergrove

    400 acres really got me! My sister is a traveler so I am most definitely going to be sharing this article with her. I think my 20yr old nephew would really like this place, he had studied Buddhism a little bit on his travels in Asia. This place sounds so neat!

  21. Connie R.

    I will never be able to go to any of the places you’ve been, but love seeing all the beautiful photos you take. It almost feels like I was there too. :)

  22. Cec

    Since it is going to be a very long time before I travel anywhere on a plane and do the tourist thing, checking out all the fabulous posts of your travels is very welcome. This temple is stunning and your photos do it justice, especially when being there isn’t possible. Thanks for thinking of us followers with the giveaway. Stay safe.

  23. Stephanie J. Schiltz

    I am an armchair traveler unfortunately but I adore your blog and have for a few years. I often forward your posts to my daughter , who is our world traveler. Keep up the good work. Love to live vicariously through you!

  24. Cyndie

    I’ll probably never get to the places you travel to, so thank you for letting me live through your experiences. Your photos are the most brilliant colors of any I’ve ever seen. Good Job!

  25. Sue

    Wish you would return to the original format of recipes and decorating. While I live to travel, it’s just not in the books, but I can cook. Are you ever at home with your husband and dogs any more?

  26. Melissa R

    I’ve never heard of Angkor Wat before. Thanks for the great information! I’ll be honest I wish your blog wasn’t just all travel posts. I miss your recipe and other posts!

  27. Sandi DeBruyne

    I love traveling through your eyes. As someone who doesn’t fly, it is amazing to see all the adventures you take across the world. I have followed you for years and it is awesome to see the photos and details you share. ALMOST as good as being there. Thank you for sharing your travel adventures with us!

  28. Kathryn

    I never heard of Angkor wat . Thank you for sharing it with us. Looks like a wonderful place to visit! Stay safe!

  29. Lisa Syler

    I envy you these opportunities! This architecture is stunning! Would love to see it in person for sure! Thanks for taking us there in words and photos!

  30. traci ridaught

    I always look forward to your trip pictures. You make me want to go to places I’ve never heard of before your visits. Thanks

  31. Molly

    I’ve never really thought about going to Cambodia, but these pictures look so beautiful! Really reminds me of how beautiful the world is! Thank you for that :)

  32. Elizabeth Carroll

    Looks amazing! It’s always hard for me to wrap my head around how old these structures are, and how they have withstood the test of time. Thank you for bringing us here and educating us on this site! It’s beautiful!

  33. Sereynita Altarejos

    Angkor Wat is also in my bucket list. I see myself and my husband being there and taking in the view, the culture, sights, taste and sounds, one of these days. Thanks for paving the way and always sharing your experiences.

  34. Karla

    Love your posts and all the amazing pictures!! Someday I hope to travel to some of the places you have featured and I will be using your site as a guide!!

  35. Maria W

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time now. Your photos are amazing. I can’t figure out how you’re able to travel the world like you do but keep going! It’s enjoyable to read about it from my armchair!

  36. Jennifer

    You must miss traveling so much, I know I DO! Can’t wait till we can all adventure again. Hope you are well and staying healthy!

  37. Monica Saleh

    Woah! Didn’t even know Angkor Wat was a thing until this post! Cannot visit one day! My husband and I love you and Kevin and check your website out when making any travel plans and probably follow your footsteps at every destination we travel to. Your site was also so helpful in making big purchase decisions like our Breville espresso machine. Best. Purchase. Ever! Mmm! Can’t wait to travel again! We miss it so much! Thanks for providing this platform for all of us :)

    1. Amanda

      Oh my gosh, that is awesome! So glad you are enjoying your Breville espresso machine, we love ours too!! :)

  38. Meg

    Wow. Amazing how long its been around and still preserved in great condition. And love that you can explore it and see all those details!
    Thank you for sharing! Your tips have been so useful in the past, we totally lived by it on our trip to Croatia last year!

  39. Traci

    I should’ve listened better in geography instead of watching the cute crush I had in the class. Your website is like my karma for that. I may have to Google where most of the places you visit are but you’ve also helped me develop a pretty lengthy bucket list of places I’d like to visit one day and an appreciation for the history that’s there.

  40. Miwa L

    What an amazing and beautiful place! I’ve always wanted to visit this area, maybe I will one day – you certainly have inspired me!

  41. Lindsey

    I love learning about the history of places. This truly was fascinating to read about and can’t believe it was built 1000 years ago. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  42. Lauri Hoke

    Your travels are how I see the world vicariously… the words you use to describe what you’ve seen, as well as the spectacular photos, just take me away! :) Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  43. Erica

    Your post & photos make it seem so easy to take a leap to this amazing destination! Excited to return to traveling!

  44. Jag

    This is definitely on my list of places I want to go to. I will for sure be taking your suggestions because you never steer us wrong. Many of your tips have enhanced my trip experiences. Thank you!!

  45. Lisa

    Beautiful. Dreaming of times when we can travel again. I was supposed to check in for a cruise out of Rome today…

  46. Deb Hooper

    It’s no wonder your blog has been up and running for so long. I can’t even remember now how long ago I first subscribed. You write beautifully and your pictures are icing on a cake. How fortunate you are to be able to travel like you do and enjoy the wonders of the world and then make it available for those who aren’t able to and to share the best for those who can. However, I do miss puppy pictures. I hope they are doing well.

    1. Amanda

      Hi Deb!! Miley and Howie have since passed away, but now we have Winnie and Kirby!! Winnie is a champion in dog sports and even competed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show this year! And have you heard of TikTok? Kirby is a TikTok star and has almost 400,000 followers. That’s more followers than I’ve ever had on any social media combined, lol!!

    1. Mandi

      I just recently learned about Angkor Wat! What a unique place. Your pictures are lovely and, as always, your blog is so descriptive and helpful! I hope you’re able to travel again soon!

  47. Stacie Robertson

    I have been there and it is amazing and extensive. We were there in August so it was very HOT! I recommend an umbrella for shade covering. The second story was also closed due to a religious holiday (bummer).

    1. Amanda

      Oh my gosh, we were there at the end of November and it was near 100 degrees. I can’t imagine in August!! Were they selling the cute colorful parasols when you were there? I kinda regret not getting one now! :)

  48. Kristy Foust

    Stunning absolutely stunning. Love seeing your trips to places I will never see but through your posts we get to in all it’s beauty.

  49. Kathy Harding

    This is absolutely stunning! I’m not much of a traveler, but I love reading all about the places you visit and seeing your gorgeous photos!

  50. Kimberly Harris

    Looks amazing! I’m adding it to my bucket list. I’ve known people to visit Phenom Penh but I’d never heard of this.

  51. Maria

    Great pictures. I’ve alway appreciated your travel recommendations and used a few when I was in Prague and Poland. Thank you.

  52. Sharon

    I enjoyed your narrative and photo essay. It’s so amazing that a place this old is still so wonderfully preserved. I’d enjoy visiting.

  53. Bryn

    I have traveled vicariously through you for so long and think of you often during our time at home and wonder how wanderers are handling this time. I hope you are doing well

  54. Jane

    Thanks for sharing abut places that some of us haven’t heard about. I’ve been reading your blog for years. I know it’s been hard for you not to be traveling!! But I miss your recipes. I’ve never been disappointed after making something you’ve posted. Thanks again!

  55. Terri Ballard

    I had never heard of Angkor Wat, but after this article, it’s on my bucket list also. Thank you for all the great suggestions and for bringing the world a little closer.

  56. Dan Calvert

    Amazing photography and history lesson! I think I will stick with touring America but appreciate getting to see other places that I never would have known about without following your blog.

  57. Christa (cfile)

    Bautiful sculpturing and architecture! Thanks for showing places that some of us will never get to visit. A virtual tour :)

  58. Kathy Ludwig

    Love seeing your posts. I admire your photography and I’ve learned a lot from your pics and travel blog.

  59. Andrea Watters

    I love seeing all of your beautiful photos! The intricate carvings in this temple are amazing and truly a lost art. Thank you for sharing!

  60. Amy Tong

    Such a beautiful place! Wish I can visit some day! ?? Had been following your blog and subscribed to your newsletters a long time. Readinging your posts is like I’d travelled with you through your pictures. Always excited to receive your newsletters because you always take me to adventures and places that I haven’t got a chance to visit just yet. As you said, I can’t wait for the world to open up for travel again. ? Stay safe and healthy! Look forward to your next newsletter and blog post!?

    1. Amy

      Love all your travel tips! I’d love to see a post about how you get such great travel shots – this time you went when people were at lunch. But how do you handle rainy days? Overcast? We travel two months of the year, and we may do a round-the-word family trip in the future. I want my photography to be better before tackling such an adventure!

    2. Amanda

      Honestly I get super bummed on rainy and overcast days!! I know some photographers who can take gorgeous dreamy photos on overcast days, but unfortunately I am not one of them! There is a free phone app called QuickShot and it will let you replace the sky in your photos with a blue sky, puffy white clouds, sunsets, etc. It’s not perfect but I definitely love to play around with it! :)

  61. Amy Tong

    Such a beautiful place! Wish I can visit some day! ?? Had been following your blog and subscribed to your newsletters a long time. Readinging your posts is like I’d travelled with you through your pictures. Always excited to receive your newsletters because you always take me to adventures and places that I haven’t got a chance to visit just yet. As you said, I can’t wait for the world to open up for travel again. ? Stay safe and healthy! Look forward to your next newsletter and blog post!?

  62. Hannah Lewis

    I’d never thought to visit Cambodia before, but it looks absolutely stunning and is definitely now on my list! Thank you for sharing such useful information and beautiful pictures with us. xx

  63. wendy barnes

    Just wanted to stop by to let you know how much I love your blog. The wonderful details you give are invaluable. Makes me feel fully prepared for any destination. Thanks again! Can’t wait to start traveling again.

  64. Hawley Halliday

    You guys are so AMAZING!!! You take the greatest photos & give such AWESOME information about each destination you visit! I wish/hope to do what you do some day & think you are two of the bravest people on the planet ?

    1. Connie

      Although I recently returned to the US after living in SE Asia for 6 years…I had never heard of this place! I enjoyed seeing this beautiful visit through your eyes.

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. Meet our Boston Terriers. Take a tour of our house. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.

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