The 8 Best Angkor Wat Tours of 2019

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The Rundown

Best Private Tour: Buy Private Angkor Wat Tour Tickets with Viator "Includes a private air-conditioned vehicle, a dedicated and knowledgeable tour guide, and all the flexibility you could possibly want."

Best Small-Group Tour: Buy Full-Day Angkor Wat Tour Tickets with Viator "This tour maxes out at 15 people, so you’ll have plenty of personal attention from your knowledgeable guide."

Best Sunrise Tour: Buy Sunrise Tour of Angkor Wat Tickets with Viator "Enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore Angkor Thom, Bayon, and the Terrace of the Elephants."

Best Sunset Tour: Buy Angkor Temple and Sunset Viewing Tickets with Viator "Watch the sun set over Phnom Bakheng with Pre Rup and Angkor Wat below."

Best Tuk-Tuk Tour: Buy Angkor Tuk-Tuk Explorer Tickets with Viator "These little three-wheeled or motorcycle-pulled rickshaw vehicles are a bit noisy but they’re awfully fun and quite practical for getting around."

Best Bicycle Tour: Buy Angkor Temples Bike Tour Tickets with Viator "You’ll visit Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm Temples and have ample time to explore each."

Best Extended Tour: Buy 3-Day Siem Reap Tour Tickets with Viator "Takes a deep look at both the Angkor temples and other points of interest in and around Siem Reap."

Best Adventure Tour: Buy 5-Hour Angkor Wat Zipline Adventure Tickets with Viator "Includes 21 ziplines, sky bridges, and rappelling abseils through the jungle canopy, among monkeys, with temples in the distance."

01 of 08

Best Private Tour: Private Angkor Wat Tour from Siem Riep

Angkor Wat is a bucket-list destination

©GettyImages 

Tours aren’t expensive in this part of the world, so even this private tour isn’t much of a splurge, and if your budget allows for it, it’s worth it. Your tour includes a private air-conditioned vehicle, a dedicated and knowledgeable tour guide, and all the flexibility you could possibly want — spend extra time on that which interests you and move at your own pace. The general itinerary (again, flexible) includes stops at Angkor Wat itself, plus Angkor Thom, the last-known capital of the Khmer Empire, with the Bayon Temple at its very heart, as well as the Banteay Kdei Temple and the eerie Ta Prohm, overgrown with the massive roots of spung trees.

At each stop, your guide will illuminate the history and point out major and less-noticeable archaeological features. Your driver will supply cool drinks and towels between visits, which, along with the air conditioning, offer an awfully nice break from the jungle heat.

02 of 08

Best Small-Group Tour: Full-Day Small-Group Angkor Wat Tour from Siem Reap

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat
Getty / Lucas Schifres

Small-group tours offer some of the flexibility and pacing of private tours but with a smaller price tag and with the opportunity to meet some new people. This tour maxes out at 15 people, so you’ll have plenty of personal attention from your knowledgeable guide as you travel via air-conditioned minibus through the various major sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

You’ll visit several of the park’s major Khmer temples, including Angkor Wat, Bayon, the Elephant Terrace, and Ta Prohm, learning about the context of the time periods in which each was built and getting a sense for much of the Hindu and Buddhist symbolism carved nearly everywhere you look. Bottled water is included, as is hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Please note that the entrance fee to the park itself is not included, but the minibus will stop at the ticket sales booth on the way into the park so you’ll be able to purchase it then.

Take a look and visit more sacred sites in Southeast Asia.

03 of 08

Best Sunrise Tour: Sunrise Small-Group Tour of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap

Angkor Wat sunrise from inside the temple complex
Pat Law Photography/Getty Images

Wake up before the crack of dawn and head to the Angkor Wat complex in darkness, approaching from the eastern side and heading to the edge of one of the ancient library pools. There, you’ll watch the sun rise over the mist-shrouded temple, each facet of the bas-relief outer walls becoming slowly illuminated by the first rays of morning.

You’ll spend the next few hours exploring within the temple, largely free from other tourists and relatively cool. From there, you’ll take a rest and enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore Angkor Thom, Bayon, the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King, and finally, the mysterious Ta Prohm, once the home of nearly 3,000 monks but long abandoned to the jungle. Water is provided throughout the day.

04 of 08

Best Sunset Tour: Private Full-Day Angkor Temple and Sunset Viewing

Temples of Angkor Wat
Getty Images/Daisuke Kishi

If getting up before dawn isn’t quite your thing, no worries: the Angkor temples are also absolutely stunning when bathed in the golden light of dusk. This tour begins in the daytime and its first stop is Angkor Thom, with its huge statues of demons and gods and Bayon, with its famous giant head statues. After a bit of exploration, you’ll head out and make a quick lunch stop before moving on to the tree-covered Ta Prohm temple and then, the piece de resistance, Angkor Wat itself, where your guide will explain both the visual symbolism and the practical history that surrounds you.

Finally, you’ll climb Bakheng Hill and watch the sun set over Phnom Bakheng with Pre Rup and Angkor Wat below. It’s a stunning sight, and you’ll definitely want both your camera and practical hiking shoes.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Tuk-Tuk Tour: Half-Day Angkor Tuk-Tuk Explorer from Siem Reap

Sunrise Tuk Tuk ride, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Michael Sugrue / Getty Images

Tuk-Tuks are ubiquitous throughout South Asia. These little three-wheeled or motorcycle-pulled rickshaw vehicles are a bit noisy but they’re awfully fun and quite practical for getting around. Your guide will meet you at your Siem Reap hotel in the morning or afternoon pickup time of your choice and then zip you out to the Angkor complex.

Your itinerary is largely flexible and depends on your needs and interests, but it’s suggested that you start at Angkor Wat and then move on from there to Angkor Thom, with a fair bit of exploration time at both. Tuk-Tuks are open-air, so you don’t have the luxury of air conditioning, but the breeze feels nice and your driver/guide will have cold water waiting for you and will happily stop so you can buy a coconut or other fruit or cold drink along the road.

At the end of your half-day tour, you’ll be zoomed back to your Siem Reap hotel. 

06 of 08

Best Bicycle Tour: Angkor Temples Bike Tour from Siem Reap

Angkor Temples Bike Tour from Siem Reap

Courtesy of Viator

So long as the jungle heat doesn’t bother you, biking is an extremely nice (and not particularly difficult) way to see the Angkor temples. This tour begins at a bike shop in Siem Reap, where you’ll be outfitted with all necessary gear and a mountain bike that fits.

From there, it’s straight on to the park. You’ll visit Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm Temples and have ample time to explore each. Travel between the sites is via smaller roads, often those that cars and Tuk-Tuks can’t travel easily, so you’ll catch glimpses of lesser-known sights on the way. A tasty Khmer lunch is included, as is a variety of fruit and cold drinks.

The way back to the bike shop is via a less-traveled rural road, from which you’ll get a look at modern rural life in Cambodia. The total amount of cycling is about 18 miles, broken up by lots of walking and resting, so it’s important to have a moderate level of fitness, and beginning cyclists may have a hard time with some of the dirt paths. The terrain is mostly flat, though, and on largely low-traffic roads. 

07 of 08

Best Extended Tour: 3-Day Siem Reap Tour: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon & More

Ta Phrom Temple near Angkor Wat Cambodia

David Santiago Garcia / Getty Images

 

This three-day, two-night tour takes a deep look at both the Angkor temples and other points of interest in and around Siem Reap. The first day, you’ll explore the Angkor Park, with thorough guided tours of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Pre Rup.

In the evening, you can enjoy the night markets of Siem Reap or rest. On the second day, you’ll begin with a stop in a small Cambodian village to get a taste of rural life. Next up: a jungle trek to the River of a Thousand Lingas, a series of Hindu sculptures carved into the stony banks of a river over a thousand years ago. You’ll also make a stop at the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, a refuge for animals that have been rescued from illegal trafficking.

From there, it’s back to Siem Reap for the evening, where you can again enjoy the nightlife or take an optional cooking class, get a massage, or any number of other activities. (Your guide will have suggestions.) On your final morning, you’ll visit the majestic Tonle Sap lake, an important biosphere that also contains fascinating floating villages, which you’ll visit via boat.

Finally, you’ll take scenic back roads to return to Siem Reap and make a stop at a Cambodian Buddhist monastery, where you can see how contemporary religious orders live in the region, bringing the connection with the ancient monuments full-circle. 

Plan your trip to Cambodia with our guide to the top things to do in Siem Reap.

08 of 08

Best Adventure Tour: Five-Hour Angkor Wat Zipline Adventure from Siem

5-Hour Angkor Wat Zipline Adventure from Siem Reap

Courtesy of Viator

Okay, so this isn’t exactly an Angkor Wat tour, but it’s an awfully fun side excursion while you’re in the area, and it does all take place within the Angkor Archaeological Park. This massive zipline course includes 21 ziplines, sky bridges, and rappelling abseils through the jungle canopy, among monkeys, with temples in the distance. How cool is that? The tour includes pick-up and drop-off from your Siem Reap hotel, access to the adventure course, all necessary gear, bottled water, and a traditional Khmer meal. This excursion offers a particularly nice break for families who might have teens growing a bit restless with lots of archaeological exploration, or really for anyone who wants a different taste of the park.

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