Although I have visited many temples in Thailand I was ignorant of Angkor Wat. Although people have told me “go to Cambodia, all the temples are covered in gold” etc. I have ignored them. Partially because, even last year, I was told there are bandits that hold up the buses and the Cambodian people don’t like westerners. Possibly it’s true if you enter from Thailand and I came on a bus from Vietnam. (Which I highly recommend.) I have already mentioned Rocky and his Tuk Tuk and the killing fields but it was a great experience. Siem Reap is even better. I am not going to try to explain, describe or otherwise tell you of the temple. Google it for pictures and history. Here is the link to wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat . I will tell you of my/the experience itself. Angkor Wat was originally created in the 12th century as a temple for the Indian God Vishnu. It was later rededicated to Buddha and became a Buddhist Temple. The main building is massive in itself but the temple grounds encompass just over 400 acres which is overwhelming on first entry.
I was told to go early and be at the ticket office before 5 AM. I got there at 4:40. I was about 18th in line at window 23 of 40 windows! They take US dollars or credit cards. I left at 5:15 with my golden ticket. I returned to my Tuk Tuk Driver who headed for the main temple. The entire process reminded me of Disneyland, except here if you try to pass off a fake ticket you are fined $100.00 US on the spot and turned over to the police for defrauding a national treasure. There are signs telling you this so be warned. Enroute we were stopped three times and my ticket checked. It must be TODAYS ticket and they take your picture and print it on the ticket. Use someone else’s ticket, off to jail. Sweat on it so the picture is unclear ticket voided now invalid, buy a new one. No messing around. I saw someone arguing with a ticket issuer and a guard came up and the person shut up. Its their country not yours.
Angkor Wat is incredible and worth the trip, the ticket and the hassle. It is the lynchpin to a number of temples and other sites and your ticket covers all. There are 2 day and 3 day tickets for the hearty. these come with additional requirements and warnings but the windows are marked and there were a number of 3 day ticket windows with a lot of people waiting in line. I believe the 3 day ticket can be used 3 times over a 10 day period and it is laminated because of rain, sweat and if damaged it is invalid.
My pedometer said 8700 steps before I gave in to heat and exhaustion, I am sure at least half of those steps were up and down stone stairs or wooden ones where there was an incline that did not have actual steps.. This is the off season because the heat is brutal and it may rain. there were lots of backpackers and children so I assume they were there because of school break instead of it being the brightest time to be there. If you have trouble walking around the block this is not for you, but then again I did it with two bad knees and a bad back and the antiquity was worth the pain.