A golden Statue surrounded by brightly covered trinkets

Angkor Wat in a Day

We had one day to see Angkor Wat, a place that many people recommend 3 days to see. Here’s how we visited Angkor Wat in one day and what this amazing place looks like.

I’ll start by admitting this isn’t going to be some sort of academic review or architectural synopsis of Angkor Wat, solely because I don’t know much about the history of it! But what I do know is if you are in Cambodia then it is definitely a recommended visit.

A large ruin in Angkor Wat

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We opted to spend 1 day (5 hours) at the large religious complex when the recommended time is 3 full days. I personally could not have gone round for 3 days mainly because it is largely similar throughout Angkor Wat and the history and subtleties is not something I massively buy into.

A large tree growing out of a ruin

There are different ways you can visit and travel through the complex. Deciding one of these is the first step as they can largely affect your experience. The 4 main ways would be;

  • Tour guide
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Tuk Tuk Driver
A collection of Tuk Tuk's in Angkor Wat

I cannot say how much a tour would be as you can find many locals who will take you round the site, some with good English and some not so much, and you will be able to go to all tour agencies and pick up an official licenced tour.

The cost is so vastly different that I won’t advise on how much you will pay, what I would advise is to shop around and if you ever think ‘hmm that seems expensive’ then it is and don’t pay.

Intricate carvings of Angkor Wat

Walking is not really an option, I only put it there so I can tell you not to try, this place is massive. It is a large town in itself and it would be impossible to walk around it in a week.

Cycling is the cheapest option but you will need to be fit as the distance from the city centre to Angkor Wat and then the subsequent full day of cycling would be a hard day. Plus, very much like walking it is difficult to see the best places if you are short on time.

A man getting a red band tied to his wrist by a monk

We opted for the tuk tuk driver as it seemed the best of both worlds. The driver himself does not offer any sort of description or help, he is solely the driver, so if you are looking for information then the tour would be the best way to go.

However we paid our 15USD and proceeded to the three main temples. The driver drove us to each one, took out his hammock and waited for us to come back. We were completely in control of the pace of the visit and that suited us.

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3 large spires at angkor wat

Entry to the complex will knock you back 20USD for a day ticket but considering it’s the largest religious complex in the world I think that it’s worth it.

Angkor Wat ruins with large preserved faces staring out of the walls

Now Angkor Wat itself is amazing in my opinion. The scale is what made it impressive to me. Take a look through the pictures in the post and see for yourself. Whilst travelling around the larger more well-known temples you will have the opportunity to have a look through one of the many markets available.

Comparing the prices to those back in the city centre showed that you would not be paying a premium on anything buying it from these markets. So don’t miss out on getting something you like because you think you will save money. As always haggle them down!

A statue at Angkor Wat holding some orange linen

One tip on haggling by the way is if you like something just WALK AWAY. They will halve the price and you can start the haggle from the lower price, always trying to get the final price to at least a third of the original.

A collection of stalls on red dirt

One day was enough for us, that could however be due to the immense heat on the day we went that reduced us to fatigued dried husks. Either way we did thoroughly enjoy our time and it is a highly recommended visit from me.

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A large outbuilding to the main temple. The outbuilding is large by normal standards

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Have you been to Angkor Wat? Do you want to go and have some questions? Please comment on your experiences and ask questions below!


  1. I spent only one day there and I think it was enough. By the end of the day, all of the temples started to look like the same 😀

    1. I couldn’t agree more, it was incredible experience but you would have to be a serious culture/religious history fan to stay more than one.

  2. It looks like an impressive sight. I hope to visit it one day, I have been to several temples or religious places in Asia, but never of this size. Cool article!

    1. The size is spectacular. We didn’t even get the full scope of how big the complex is as we only went to the 3 most famous sites.

  3. The famous spot in Cambodia. I am planning to visit this country next after Indonesia next month.

  4. Thanks for the tips! I would have hired the tuktuk driver as well. Good to know they don’t offer any guidance, I would have been expecting that. Geez, that is a huge place to visit! I would go crazy exploring one sight like that for 3 days but figure you (and I both would have) packed enough in that time frame you had. We are professionals. LOL

    1. You can get tuk tuk drivers that offer guidance but we never like a guided tour, I always feel like it makes the experience a little stale and methological. Haha we would have gone crazy as well! Not just because of the size either, it was 37 celcius when we went as well!

  5. Angkor Wat is one of our dream destinations and we hope to get there sometime soon. I know that one needs 2-3 days to visit the place. Really commendable on your part that you were able to squeeze it in one day. The post is really useful if one is constrained on time and needs to see as much as one can in the limited time.

    1. It only needs 2-3 days if you realy want to explore everything it has to offer. We wanted to get a feel for the place whilst exploring the largest most famous ruins. You can definitely do that in just a day. Thanks 🙂

    1. Cambodia as a whole is beatiful and you can’t go to Cambodia and not go to Angkor Wat so Cambodia for two weeks? Sounds like a plan!

  6. Isn’t Angkor Wat and the other temples just amazing? I think it’s one of my favorite sites in the world. We went ahead and bought the three day pass and the last day rode the electric bikes around. It was fun!

    1. Electric bikes?! Well i’m a little intrigued and slightly jealous that we didn’t know about these electric bikes on offer 🙂 Sounds like something we would have also done.

  7. I visited Angkor Wat in 2 days and I regret not having done a third day. I did one day by bicycle and one day by tuk tuk. I think that having only one day you took the right decision with the tuk tuk. I recommend having a book with you to get the most of the complex. Books are expensive in Siam Reap but kids sell almost perfect copies inside the complex for half the price. “Ancient Angkor” by Michael Freeman is fantastic. Thanks for bringing me back some nice memories 🙂

    1. Wow, I’m always impressed by the people who went round by bicycle, when we were there we couldn’t think of anything worse than physical exercise in that heat. Thanks for the tips about the book, I have to agree that whilst we definitely saw a lot of the temple, we didn’t really learn much about the history. Cheers!

  8. We’re yet to visit Angkor Wat but after our experience in Ayutthaya I’d have to agree with you that one day would be enough. Especially in the heat. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

    1. Not many people recommend only one day due to the vastness of the complex, it really depends on your interest in this type of thing. We are in complete agreement about the heat though, so relentless when there is no shade in the complex.

  9. Would love to visit this place someday. I’ve heard a lot of my friends talking about it already. When I visit Cambodja I’ll make sure to go there.

    1. I’m not a big temple guy but I do recommend it. I hope you get to have a look around!

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