In October and November 2001 we cycled from Vientiane (Laos) to Siem Reap in Cambodia. We traveled through Eastern Thailand, following the Mekong River for some time and visited the famous Khmer ruins in the southern part of East Thailand. We entered Cambodia at Poipet to end our trip at Siem Reap. This page is about that small part we traveled in Cambodia and particularly around the temples of Angkor Wat.
The extensive Angkor Wat temple complex is located 7 kilometers north of Siem Reap. You can rent a car with driver and guide or, as most people do, ride around on the back of a small motorbike.
Of course, the best and most independent option is to pedal around on your own or rented bicycle. It is not necessary to be accompanied by a guide to enter the Angkor Wat area. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance of the Angkor Wat area.
Along with the hundreds of souvenir shops there are plenty of simple eating places to stop and rest.
Maps, guides and routes
With a good printed guide the Angor Wat area can be visited on your own. There are several bookstores and souvenirs stalls that sell books about the area.
All hotels, guesthouses etc. distribute free maps and booklets about the area. These simple maps are sufficient for finding your way along all points of interest.
Routes and roads
Roads are paved but a bit bumpy. The whole area can be easily visited in two or three day trips from Siem Reap.
Rent a bike
Those without their own wheels can hire a bike in Siem Reap for US$ 3,- per day. Want to know more about getting to Angkor on your own bike? Check out our Thailand-Laos-Cambodia tour report.
Points of interest
The Angkor Wat complex consists of several groups of temples and other structures. The whole area is covered with dense tropical forest and the narrow roads that lead to the various ruins are lined with giant trees.
The roads around the Agkor Wat area are quiet and perfect for cycling The highlights are Angkor Wat itself and the walled city of Angkor Thom with the Bayon inside.
Giant temple. The whole complex measures 2 by 2 km’s. The building itself has no less than 3 floors! This is where souvenirs sellers are most active. Lock your bike to one of the trees near the entrance and take your time.
Surrounded by an impressive wall with 4 even more impressive gates. Have your picture taken when you bike through one of the enormous gates.
Is it safe to bike around Angkor Wat?
Yes, it’s entirely safe. Only if you venture deeper into Cambodia and far away from the Angkor Wat area you may encounter the danger of landmine’s and bandits.
How much time do I need to visit the whole area?
Probably two or three full days. Beware of ‘temple-burnout’. Including too many monuments in a day is not a good idea. Start with a trip around all major points and return to your favourites later for a detail view.