Only have one day in Angkor Wat? If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, then a visit to the countries most iconic site, Angkor Wat, is definitely on the itinerary.
Located just outside of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is not only the most popular destination in Cambodia but it is the largest religious monument in the world. Therefore, if you only have one day in Angkor Wat, you’ll want to utilize your time wisely.
In this article, I’ll go over exactly how to see Angkor Wat in one day, maximizing your time, fill you in on any tips you would need to know before you visit and add some Cambodia travel guides at the end of the post to help you plan your travels.
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You may be wondering, is Angkor Wat worth visiting? I have been grateful enough to visit Angkor Wat on three separate occasions. This quote sums exactly how I feel every time I visit Angkor Wat.
“If you are depressed, you’re living in the past. If you are anxious you’re living in the future. If you are at peace, you’re living in the present.”
– Lao Tzu
When I wander around the Angkor Wat complex, I feel that I’m exactly where I need to be in that exact moment. Angkor Wat is a magical place and one of my favorite places I’ve ever been to. I think it goes without saying but, everybody should see Angkor Wat at least once in their life.
If you have the gift of time, I recommend that you spend more than one day in Angkor Wat. The complex is sprawling and 2-3 days to explore it will be enough time to really get the feel of it.
One Day Angkor Wat Itinerary
- 4:30 am Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour
- Ta Prohm
- Neak Pean
- Tak Keo
- Preah Khan Temple
- Angkor Thom
- Bayon Temple
- Elephant terraces
- South Gate
- 2 pm Angkor Wat
How to Visit Angkor Wat in One Day
To visit Angkor Wat in one day is an ambitious endeavor, but with a few tricks and an early wake up call, you’ll be able to see all the highlights of Angkor Wat and then some.
If you follow this Angkor Wat itinerary, you won’t need a guide per se but I definitely recommend getting an Angkor Wat tour guide. It’s amazing to learn the history of the Khmer Empire and find out about neat facts.
If you’re not into having a tour guide the whole day and would rather explore at your own pace, the next best way to see Angkor Wat is by hiring a tuk tuk to drive you around. You can hire a driver for the entire day for $20.
Angkor Wat sunrise
Get an early start and wake to to experience an Angkor Wat sunrise. Yes it’s touristy. Yes it’s crowded. Yes it’s totally worth it! No matter how crowded sunrise for Angkor Wat is, it will always be a breathtakingly beautiful sight.
The magical moment not only provides a stunning view of Angkor Wat bathed in soft morning light but also offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
If you stay long enough, you’ll be able to get a shot without people in it. The photo pictured above was taken with my iPhone 5 back in 2016.
Angkor Wat Small Circuit Tour
Next you’ll hit up some of the highlights on the Angkor Wat small circuit. The Angkor small circuit visits three main temples – Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm.
Once you’ve got your sunrise shots, instead of going inside to explore Angkor Wat Temple, have your tuk tuk drive you to Ta Prohm or as most people know it, the Tomb Raider temple.
This is a very popular temple because of the movie and its really cool. Trees are over grown around the temple ruins and the sight instantly transforms you into a bad ass like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft.
When everybody you rose with for sunrise is at Angkor Thom (typically the next stop on the typical route), you are at Ta Prohm exploring the ruins and avoiding all the crowds.
Angkor Wat Grand Circuit Tour
Next stop on the Angkor Wat itinerary is Tak Keo. Tak Keo is the tallest temple standing over 70 feet tall. Stairs are steep and narrow but the views are worth it.
Then stop at Preah Khan Temple. Preah Khan is a small temple close to the side of the road which makes it quick and easy to explore.
Ankor Thom is the next temple to visit in Angkor Wat. These are the largest complex of the Khmer ruins. Angkor Thom contains the iconic Bayon Temple, with hundreds of faces covering the pillars.
Make sure to keep a look out for the face that you can take a picture up close and personal with. It’s located on the top level of the Bayon Temple.
Continue across the street and follow the path through the woods that will take you to the Elephant Terraces. I feel like hardly anyone goes here.
Next is the iconic South Gate of Angkor Thom. You’ll be exiting these gates since you went the reverse route. That saves the best for last, Angkor Wat.
The most famous complex of all. Crowds should be thinned out by now cause it’s the hottest time of the day. If you are traveling here during monsoon season, prepare for the rain to begin.
Take your time and explore every nook that Angkor Wat has to offer. Imagine what it looked like when it was most thriving and how powerful that it used to be and still is. My favorite part of Angkor Wat is the south side walls.
More Temples to See if Time Allows
If you still want to squeeze more temples in, head back out with your tuk tuk to explore a few of the outer temples that get missed more often than not.
Prae Roup is a good one for sunset, Near Pean is a small temple is surrounded by a lake, or Ta Som which has a tree overgrown on the east entrance.
Angkor Wat Entrance Fee
To be able to enter Angkor Wat you must buy a Angkor Pass. This will allow you to visit Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. Passes must by purchased at the Angkor Wat ticket office at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat.
The ticket office is open from 5 am – 5:30 pm daily. Purchase your ticket the night before around 5 pm so you can avoid waiting in line in the morning.
There are 1 day, 3 day & 7 day passes available which must be used on consecutive days. The Angkor Wat entrance fees are as followed.
- 1 Day Pass – $37
- 3 Day Pass – $62
- 7 Day Pass – $72
Angkor Wat Hours
- Angkor Wat Temple and Srah Srang: 5 am – 5:30 pm (open for sunrise)
- Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup Temples: 5 am – 7 pm (open for sunrise and sunset)
- All other temples: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Angkor Wat Itinerary Tips
- To visit the temples you must have your knees and shoulders covered. Bring an appropriate dress or buy a sarong to where over your shorts.
- ATMS are widely available throughout Siem Reap.
- Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen – this is my go to on the daily.
- Make sure to apply mosquito spray if you don’t want to get eaten alive.
- Book your accommodations in advance if you are traveling to Siem Reap during high season.
- Get an eSIM for your phone to stay connected with a local high-speed data network while you travel.
- Tap water is not safe to drink in Cambodia (or most Southeast Asia countries for that matter).
- Lifestraw Water Bottle – helps me save a little money on buying water and stay healthy with clean drinking water.
- Travel Insurance – It’s very affordable when you consider the alternative.
Siem Reap Travel Guides
Siem Reap is one of my favorite cities in Southeast Asia. Ruins hidden deep into the jungle, getting pampered for a fraction of the cost and the friendly Cambodian hospitality. Check out these guides below for aid in planning your trip to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.
3 Day Siem Reap Itinerary – The best things to do in Siem Reap, where to eat, stay and more.
Where to Stay in Siem Reap – Find out the best places to stay in Siem Reap for all budgets and travel styles.
The Ultimate Guide to Cambodia – The big guide with everything to see, do, eat, stay, how to get around and tips to prepare you for a trip to Cambodia.
2 Week Cambodia Itinerary – How to spend 2 weeks in Cambodia – ancient ruins, secluded beaches and quaint villages.
Laos to Cambodia Border Crossing – Crossing the border from 4,000 Islands Laos to Siem Reap Cambodia.
Is One Day in Angkor Wat Enough?
How Many Days to See Angkor Wat? Many travelers find that spending 3 to 4 days allows for a comprehensive and leisurely exploration of the major temples, hidden gems within the complex and get to experience Siem Reap.
Best Time of Day to Visit Angkor Wat
The best time of day to visit Angkor Wat is during the early morning hours, specifically to witness the sunrise over the iconic temple. The sunrise at Angkor wat is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, with the temple’s silhouette reflected in the tranquil waters of the reflecting pond.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Angkor Wat in One Day
It costs $37 for a one day pass to visit Angkor Wat.
Final Thoughts on this 1 Day Angkor Wat Itinerary
Though time is limited, this condensed Angkor Wat itinerary provides a snapshot of Angkor’s architectural and artistic brilliance, leaving a permanent impression of Cambodia’s history and heritage.