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Seeing Angkor Wat

Seeing Angkor Wat

Old Nov 16, 19, 9:08 am
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Seeing Angkor Wat

We’re visiting Siem Reap and are looking for ways to experience Angkor Wat outside of normal hours/privately. Wondering if there’s a way to organize this? Really looking to avoid the crowds!
Thanks!
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Old Nov 16, 19, 12:37 pm
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Originally Posted by wk989 View Post
We’re visiting Siem Reap and are looking for ways to experience Angkor Wat outside of normal hours/privately. Wondering if there’s a way to organize this? Really looking to avoid the crowds!
Thanks!
I'll be interested to see what others say, but my suggestion would be to email the Apsara Authority and offer to make a substantial donation. Alternatively, do this on site in cash.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 2:09 am
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I don’t see any real possibility to do this unless you know the appropriate people. Which period are you going ?
Generally, around 1 pm is quieter because all those horrible package tour groups are gone for lunch and you have only individual visitors. But of course, this is the hottest time of the day.
But also, you have to know that Angkor Wat complex is huge so the effect of crowding is not as bad as in other temples, like Ta Prohm. There is a big dilution effect in Angkor Wat.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 2:12 am
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I forgot to say one thing. Outside hours would mean at night, because the temple is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, so definitely not possible IMHO.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 8:23 am
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Travel back in time. I went in 1994 and there was virtually no-one. It was a dangerous time to visit though. As suggested, lunchtime is good and right before sunset at temples that do not have any sunset views.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
...
Generally, around 1 pm is quieter because all those horrible package tour groups are gone for lunch and you have only individual visitors. But of course, this is the hottest time of the day.
But also, you have to know that Angkor Wat complex is huge so the effect of crowding is not as bad as in other temples, like Ta Prohm. There is a big dilution effect in Angkor Wat.
Temples with sun exposure, like Bayon, are brutal at midday. Yes, hardly anyone is there, then. Outdoor photography is also terrible then with everything washed out.

Several less well known temples, even in the Siem Reap area, are uncrowded and some with no foreigners. Examples, Chaw Srei Vibol, Banteay Ampil, but you don't get the Angkor complex experience. You could take a day trip or overnight to Banteay Chhmar, which is generally very quiet. Preah Vihear is great and uncrowded, but takes some logistical planning and, realistically, an overnight upcountry.

Phimai, Phnom Rung, and Muang Tam in Thailand have locals, but few foreigners. Wat Phu in Lao hardly has anyone. Go while you can.
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Old Nov 18, 19, 2:17 am
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Yeah, don't see private as possible. That's an enormous place to shut down for just some private groups. Albeit, if you go for sunrise and go tour the temples while everyone else is waiting around, that's about as private as you can get while the temperature doesn't kill you.
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Old Nov 18, 19, 3:04 am
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I'd say no way. It's a massive complex and I just visited this July. Unless you are a multi billionaire. They surely won't close a world renowned site for little joe blow from Flyertalk.
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Old Nov 18, 19, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by rjh View Post
Temples with sun exposure, like Bayon, are brutal at midday. Yes, hardly anyone is there, then. Outdoor photography is also terrible then with everything washed out.

Several less well known temples, even in the Siem Reap area, are uncrowded and some with no foreigners. Examples, Chaw Srei Vibol, Banteay Ampil, but you don't get the Angkor complex experience. You could take a day trip or overnight to Banteay Chhmar, which is generally very quiet. Preah Vihear is great and uncrowded, but takes some logistical planning and, realistically, an overnight upcountry.

Phimai, Phnom Rung, and Muang Tam in Thailand have locals, but few foreigners. Wat Phu in Lao hardly has anyone. Go while you can.
I visited Banteay Chhmar this year and loved it. But Preah Vihear is a true jewel and likely the most interesting site outside Angkor.
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Old Nov 18, 19, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
I forgot to say one thing. Outside hours would mean at night, because the temple is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, so definitely not possible IMHO.
That's why I was thinking maybe when it was otherwise closed, but from seeing that it's open pretty much all the time, doesn't seem possible... oh well! Looks like we're getting up early. On a more practical matter, are ticket lines bad? Saw something that said to buy a multi-day pass the afternoon before so that you can go straight in on the morning you want to.

Last edited by wk989; Nov 18, 19 at 4:10 pm Reason: add quote
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Old Nov 19, 19, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by wk989 View Post
That's why I was thinking maybe when it was otherwise closed, but from seeing that it's open pretty much all the time, doesn't seem possible... oh well! Looks like we're getting up early. On a more practical matter, are ticket lines bad? Saw something that said to buy a multi-day pass the afternoon before so that you can go straight in on the morning you want to.
Yes, ticket queue in the morning is insane. Definitely get your tickets beforehand so you can go there directly and get a good spot to chill for the sunrise. There had to be 10,000 people the morning I went, and we got to Angkor Wat about 6am and it was mobbed.
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Old Nov 19, 19, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Bonaturtle View Post
Yes, ticket queue in the morning is insane. Definitely get your tickets beforehand so you can go there directly and get a good spot to chill for the sunrise. There had to be 10,000 people the morning I went, and we got to Angkor Wat about 6am and it was mobbed.
10,000 people? That's crazy!!! I remember some 12 odd years ago, there were maybe a hundred or so when I went in the morning...
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Old Nov 19, 19, 6:23 pm
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search(angkor wat sunrise crowd images)
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Old Nov 19, 19, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
Travel back in time. I went in 1994 and there was virtually no-one. It was a dangerous time to visit though. As suggested, lunchtime is good and right before sunset at temples that do not have any sunset views.
Right with ya...first trip was in early 1997...a few pot-smoking backpackers near the main temple but not too many others, and had a few of the temples to myself except for the "guides" (local kids with pretty good English). You couldn't wander very far off any trails because of the danger of mines, and the Khmer Rouge insurgents briefly overran the area a few months after I was there. To go to Banteay Srei you needed an armed guard. But hey, crowds weren't a problem...I think the only tour company operating then was Diethelm, and I remember only one bus with the "Deeties.". I even took a break on the viewing peak and had it to myself.

Also went with a couple of friends in 2000. More people then, and you could see the writing on the wall. But still pleasant (back then you had to go via PP, with either Royal Air Cambodge or the notorious riverboats for the PP-SR part). What really caused the dam to break was Bangkok Airways being allowed to do Bangkok-Siem Reap nonstops, and also the opening of the road via Aranyaprathet where backpackers could take the bus. People don't know what they missed.

As for what you can actually do now, either try to get on the entourage for Angelina Jolie's next visit (she could get 'em to shut the place down), OR try to be as counter-cyclical as possible (AVOID the Bayon in the morning, Ta Phrom around noon and the main temple and viewing peak in the afternoon).
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Old Nov 19, 19, 8:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Bonaturtle View Post
Yes, ticket queue in the morning is insane. Definitely get your tickets beforehand so you can go there directly and get a good spot to chill for the sunrise. There had to be 10,000 people the morning I went, and we got to Angkor Wat about 6am and it was mobbed.
Wow. Sounds like the stories you hear about high-season Rome or Paris. I thought the turning point would be indicated by the first McDonald's opening, but it sounds like it's already here.

Would also have to wonder how many in that crowd were trying to see it all in one day. A major negative consequence of all the increase in flights by Bangkok Airways and others would be all those with "more money than time" and the kind of footprint that leaves. Cambodia initially resisted granting that BKK-REP route...no doubt the pop-in/pop-out factor costs other places like PP visits.
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