Angkor

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Angkor Money-Saving Tips

Visas and photos

Tourist visas (and a passport) are required to enter Cambodia. Tourists and business travelers may purchase a Cambodian visa valid for one month at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and borders. Both require a passport valid for at least six months from the expiry date, and one recent passport-sized photo.

Language

Khmer is the official language of the country, but English is widely spoken in Siem Reap. 

Attire

Light, loose, comfortable clothes, and good walking shoes are best for touring the Angkor ruins. No matter what time of year, it’s also a good idea to bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and a small umbrella for protection against sun and rain. Take note: Travellers with uncovered knees or shoulders will be asked to cover up before entering the site, 

Tour guides

In Siem Reap, the tour guides will find you. High demand and steep competition keeps quality high and prices low ($15-$25/day) for tours. Have a chat with your guide before hiring to get a sense of what they can offer; most are trustworthy and well-trained.

Temple transportation

Need a ride to the temples? The most affordable way to get there is via tuk-tuk, which can be hired for about $15 per day. Alternatively, you can hire a professional tour guide from the Tourism Association next to the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor on a dime. Hotels will also organize driver-led sightseeing excursions for around $25. In each case, ask the driver to wait for you at stopping points.

Getting around

Book taxis ahead of time through your hotel to guarantee that you end up with a reputable driver. Tuk-tuks, or motorized rickshaws, are also a good (and affordable; short distances cost around $1) option for getting around town. A third option is to rent a bike that will also allow you to make the trip to the temples on your own (about a 20-minute ride).

Commissions

Resist drivers, vendors, and guides who push you towards a particular hotel, restaurants, or store with little explanation, as some receive commissions for the number of tourists they pull in.

Angkor admission

You must possess an admission pass (an 'Angkor Pass') to visit the temples and sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Passes may be purchased at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat. Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. 

Exchange rate

Local currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR); $1 buys about 4,000 riels. Dollars and Euros are the often the preferred currency, but only crisp, new bills are accepted.

Shopping no-no’s

Inside Angkor Archaelogical Park, be aware that if you buy from one street vendor, more will be interested. If you’re not interested in a dealer’s wares, keep from touching it, shake your head and walk away. 

Crowd Control

The main temples of Angkor are packed in the morning hours. To avoid the rush, start your day touring the outer, lesser-known temples then move in to the center in the afternoon.

References

The following books provide excellent insights into Khmer history: The Customs of Cambodia by Zhou Daguan and Khmer Mythology: The Secrets of Angkor by Vittorio Roveda. 

Departure taxes

Keep enough cash to pay a departure tax of $6 for domestic flights and $25 for international departures.

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