When is it best to experience Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia?

Today’s post was written by Nikki Selwyn. Nikki has been travelling around South America and South East Asia since the beginning of 2008.

The Angkor Wat temple is the largest temple and a major architectural testament of the world that portrays the rich style of the Khmer architecture. My first impression of the Angkor Wat was – Wow! The temple is remarkably stunning with its huge and massive designs, spread over around 230 square kilometers. Although the temple is open for tourists all round the year, you will get the best experience only during particular seasons of the year. After I had searched the net to compare car hire choices and what would be the most economical,

The best seasons for checking out the Angkor Wat Temple

Similar to other South East Asian countries, Cambodia has 3 seasons – Summer, Winter and the monsoons. The best time for Cambodia tours is during the dry season that lasts from December to March, when the skies are usually clear with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Although the rainy season from April to October fills the moat around the temple and adds to the area’s vegetation (the temple actually looks really beautiful amidst the greenery), it may not be feasible time for tourists.

I visited the Angkor temples in mid November, when not many people plan their Cambodia vacations, and got relatively cheap accommodation. I also searched the net to compare car hire choices to see what would be the cheapest vehicle for me to explore this wonderful and sacred place.

Based on my experience, I’d say that the ideal month to visit the Angkor would be in late November or early December, the beginning of the dry season, when the moat is still filled with water and there is greenery around the temple. There may be heavy rains even during November, but that is mostly in the afternoons, which leaves your mornings open for temple visits.

The best time of the day to experience the glory of Angor Wat

Without a doubt, sunrise and sunset are the two best times of the day when the Angkor Wat is at its most beautiful. Allocate at least 2-3 days of your Cambodia tour to experience the temple completely, and include early morning and evening visits to catch a glimpse of the Angkor at dawn and dusk.

I hired a Tuk-Tuk to reach the temple and bought a three day entrance pass so that I could visit the temple any time during my three days of stay (you could also take a weekly entrance pass if you plan to stay longer). It gave me enough time to explore the style of architecture with its ornate stone carvings and sculptures of beautiful dancers, and the 12th century stone carvings that tell you the history of Angkor chronologically.

Thankfully, it did not rain much during my visit and I was even lucky to have a clear sky in the evening, which gave me an exquisite view of the temple at sunset. Although it rained most if time on the second day, I managed to take a few pictures of the magnificent structure at sunrise, on the last day.

If you don’t mind the costs and want the best conditions for visiting the Angkor, plan your Vietnam and Cambodia tours between December and March when the climate is dry and the atmosphere crowded with tourists. But if you don’t mind a little rain, the best and the most economical time would be in late November, when Angkor is relatively empty and yet exquisite.

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One Response to “When is it best to experience Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia?”

  1. Dan Thompson says:

    Awesome! I’ve been digging around for just this information. About how many people were there when you visited? I had no idea this place was so popular until I started reading other people’s blogs and then seeing the pictures of the MOBS of people.

    Thanks!
    Dan

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