Cycling Angkor Wat
The 8th wonder of the world... What an incredible sight to witness
All the descriptions, reviews and stories weren't enough to match the reality of being there. Wandering through 1000 year old stone buildings draped by the largest of tree roots is a magical experience.
Cycling Angkor Wat is definitely the best way to appreciate the surroundings. It gives you a greater understanding of its size and its natural environment. There are two loops taking you through the heart of this complex, being on a bike you choose when you want to stop and explore, and when you want to leave. Not being ushered along by tour groups or tuk tuk drivers gives you the piece of mind needed to appreciate this marvellous site.
We arrived at 3 in the morning after having taken a night bus from Phnom Penh, and were cycling in the dark to the city centre of Siem Riep. Slightly disoriented after a short sleep and being dropped of 10km from the CBD we started to plan our next call.
Is it worth it to find a hotel now? Only for like; 3 hours of sleep? So of course, we didn't... we instead found a room for the following night, left our bags at reception and headed off for the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
We cycled off into the deserted darkness; heading along unlit roads, completely blind of our destination... However it's actually an easy cycle, dead straight and flat as a pancake. We road along Charles de Gaulle on that morning as this is where the ticket booth is located. - Don't worry you won't miss it, by now there will be plenty of tuk tuks pulling over for their customers to pick up there tickets. For the following days you can take the other road parallel to it.
Booth - is an understatement, there's at least 10 different windows where you can purchase your ticket. We had opted for a 3 day pass to give us plenty of time to explore this wonder. It was also the better choice as we knew on the first day we would be soon very tired after a sleepless night. Plus the size of the 1 day queues were horrendous.
- 1 day - 20$
- 3 days - 40 $
- 7 days - 60$
We brought our tickets and carried on along Charle de Gaulle, this time now with a surprising number of tuk tuks. There was one benefit of the tuk tuks and that was that we now had a fully illuminated road and we wouldn't have to worry about directions...
We arrived at Angkor Wat, locked our bikes up and then headed in for the sunset. An interesting spectacle, but slightly marred by the hordes of tourists that had now arrived.
We hopped back on the bikes and did the shorter loop on the first day before heading back to Siem Riep.
The second day we took a more adventurous route and followed the river out of the city towards Angkor. It's a lot quieter along here but you get the opportunity to pass through some local life. It's fairly easy at first by keeping the river to your right hand side, but then at times you'll be forced away from it.
Keep your bearings and remember where north is to find your eventual way..! It becomes quite a crazy maze of roads but with the help of one or two locals we were put back on course to eventually arrive at Angkor.
There are a few options for eating and drinking within Angkor Wat, but of course it's going to be more expensive... We visited the market in the centre of Siem Riep and stocked up on fruit and nuts to keep us going throughout the day.