Travel to Cambodia often has Angkor Wat on the top of the itinerary. Of course, it is also the core reason for more than 6000 tourists to visit the country day after day. But, the heritage visit might become uncomfortable because of the huge crowds which require you to stand in a long queue.
This is the common scenario: you have tried to drag yourself out of bed at 4 AM, hoping to see get flawless sunrise shots at Angkor Wat. But, other visitors share the same thinking. And a few hours later, you find yourself waiting in a long queue line to take a picture in front of a section of the Wat. You seem to end the day with the sore feet, overwhelmed mind, and lots of similar-looking photos that probably mean little in ten years later. However, it is a real scenario that most of the tourists usually experience. That’s why it’s necessary to know how to avoid a long queue line in Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument.
#1: Have a thoughtful itinerary in Angkor Wat
First of all, you need to know that there are top 4 touristy sites including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prom, and Phnom Bakheng. The popular itineraries run by most tour agents often starts before sunrise and people gather at the West Gate to capture the sun rising above the mighty Angkor Wat, around 6:00 AM or sooner. Then, the crowds will keep exploring Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prom, and Phnom Bakheng at last.
In that sense, you can enjoy the queue-free journey by setting up the thoughtful itinerary in the opposite direction. Go to see the sunrise over Phnom Bakheng first and then head towards the temples in the counterclockwise direction, ensuring that you arrive at Angkor Wat around 2:00 PM.
#2: Make the most of the lunchtime
Know that the major area of Angkor Wat is most packed in the morning, and turns to be quite empty at 2:00 PM! Make the most of the lunchtime when the crowds are having lunch and you take that opportunity to get the faultless pictures of the UNESCO Heritage Site. But note that the heat at noon is excruciating, so the temple grounds become less-crowded. Hence, if you agree to see the archaeological landmark of Angkor at the lunchtime, make sure you come prepared with the comfortable shoes, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, little-wet towels (which is handy to clean hands and face), and the sunburnt-resistant clothes. As you are visiting the temple heritages, make sure you get the legs and shoulder covered to show a sense of respect.
According to the experienced travelers to Angkor Wat, the ideal time to visit the Angkor monument includes the lunchtime, after 4:30 PM, and sunset. On the other hand, the most unideal time to arrive there includes the sunrise and from 9:00 to 11:00 AM.
#3: Understand the weather in Angkor Wat
The best months to see Angkor Wat are September and October when the rainy season comes to an end. In these months, things become green and fresh while the sky is clear. Thought rain might sometimes last until September, it is too little to create any trouble. Anyhow, it’s necessary to bring umbrellas, just in case. Some other travelers might say November is the best time to visit Angkor; however, know that November is also the month that marks the start of the peak season with big crowds of travelers alike.
About the worst month to get to the Angkor, it must be said that April is the hottest month in Cambodia which costs you effort, sweat, and endurance to get around the heritage. The weather becomes unbearably hot and dry in April. Also, the period of 14-16 April marks the celebration of Khmer New Year when the famous Angkor Wat is surely packed with both locals and overseas guests. In the New Year Festival, around half of Cambodians gather at the Angkor temples, and Angkor Wat is always on the top of their lists.
#4: Buy the tickets in advance
Together with not doing the same as everyone else, the good tip to avoid crowds at Angkor Wat is to buy the ticket in advance. One day before the temple visit, remember to take time purchasing the ticket so that on the day of the actual visit, you do NOT need to stand in a queue to get the tickets and enter the temple via the main entrance following the lines of other travelers.
#5: Pack a bag with the necessary foodstuff
Have some snacks and cookies packed in your bag so that you will never be exhausted because of feeling hungry amongst the crowds or under the hot sun. Also, bring enough water to avoid dehydration. Though it’s possible to buy the water bottles sold by the vendors around the temples, it’s best to bring at least one bottle of water at your disposal. As a result, you will not waste much time bargaining with the vendors over the price of a water bottle or else. Since you get the necessary stuff, you are unlikely to spend time in looking for the vendors’ booths along the expedition.
If you do not want the influx of guided tours to clutter your Instagram photographs, then make the unique itinerary in Angkor Wat which is different from what the others usually do. Besides, know the ideal time of the day to arrive at the main heritage, around 2:00 PM. Just adjust a little so that the lunchtime turns to be the excellent time to shoot the solemn and awe-inspiring landscapes of Angkor, with no crowd or outsider.
With the handy snack and water to use during the trip, it’s believed that you will not get tired with the sore feet as well as the empty stomach. With the Angkor Pass in hand, you can skip the queues in the peerless archaeological evidence of the Khmer Empire and the proud of Cambodia today. Apply the tip and enjoy the queue-free travel to Angkor Wat!
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