Are you planning to visit Siem Reap and Angkor Wat for the first time? I returned home from Siem Reap last month, and want to share some tips that will make your trip run a little smoother.
Get a visa at the airport: When you arrive at Siem Reap International Airport, you can apply for your visa there. You’ll need to bring two passport photos. If you only have one photo, you’ll have to pay a small extra fee. The wait was only about 10 minutes for me. (Note that this applies for US passport holders. I’m not sure about the rules for other countries, so please check with your embassy.)
Keep your currency in US dollars: Although Cambodia has their own form of currency, they accept and seemingly prefer US dollars. Bring some smaller bills, no larger than a twenty dollar bill. Otherwise, if you need change, expect to get a huge stack of Cambodian Riels. Also, make sure your notes are relatively new. I had an older bill, before they were redesigned back in 2009, and a shopkeeper didn’t accept it.
Get a three-day pass: If you’re planning to visit Angkor Wat for at least two days, I’d suggest getting a three-day pass. The one-day pass is $37, while the three-day pass is $62. The complex is so large that it would be difficult to squeeze everything in one day anyway.
Get a driver for the day: If you’re going around the temples, hire a driver for the entire day. Rather than trying to find a tuk tuk driver and negotiating prices at each stop, it’s much easier to have a driver for the entire day for $20. Ask your hotel staff about it and they’ll likely be able to arrange it for you.
No shorts, no tank tops: When visiting the temples at Angkor Wat, women are not allowed to wear shorts nor tank tops. Gals, you’ll need to cover up your knees and shoulders. I’d suggest wearing capris and a loose t-shirt.
Bring water and an umbrella: Inside the temples, there aren’t many spots that sell water. It’s hot and humid, so bring a couple bottles and stay hydrated. Also, carry an umbrella if you have one with you. I know it probably sounds silly to bring an umbrella when it’s 90 degrees out, but an umbrella will provide shade from the harsh sun and keep you a bit cooler. Oh, and it’ll also shield you from you sporadic midday downpours.
Don’t feed the monkeys: If you come across monkeys in Angkor Wat, I don’t suggest feeding them. I know they’re really cute and it’s tempting, but I’ve seen so many people feed them and the monkeys get really aggressive. They hiss, they climb, and they snatch. Just don’t.