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Cambodia forum

Temples of Angkor on a bicycle?

Posted by johan81 on 13/9/2015 at 12:05

Hi,
I am going to Siem Reap in mid November and I am, of course, going to see the Temples of Angkor . I will stay in a hotel in Seim Reap.
I do not like participating in group tours, I prefer to discover new places on my own so I can take my time.
And I have read a lot and I would like to discover the temple area on a bicyle. Is it possible to hire a bicyle and do it on my own? Is it safe and easy?
How long time will it take fron Siem Reap to Angkor Wat by bicyle and is it easy to navigate?

#1 johan81 has been a member since 13/9/2015. Posts: 2


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Posted by Greenwoods on 13/9/2015 at 21:06

I'd like to know this too! Anyone?

#2 Greenwoods has been a member since 13/9/2015. Posts: 3

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Posted by Muri on 15/9/2015 at 05:56

Most guesthouses and places in Siem Reap town have bikes for hire. I did the same and cycled a whole day through the ruins. Simply rent your bike, drive along the main road between Siem Reap and the ruins, stop at the ticket counter and continue your way to the ruins.

Just some notes from my part:

1 ) At best look for a decent bike to start with, as many rental bicycles are junk. You could end up having quite an arduous day if there's little air in your tires or if you're riding a small bike not designed for westerners. The connecting roads inside the Archaeological Park are all paved, but at the end of the day you're still happy to have brought a good bike with you.

2 ) The Angkor Archaeological Park is huge and you could literally spend days in it. First of all make sure that you start early in the morning to make most of your day. Take into account that it's like a 20 min bicycle ride from Siem Reap to the Archaeological Park and another 15 min of getting your tickets at the counter. It also depends how long the waiting queues in front of the counter are...

3 ) Also consider buying a three-day ticket instead of a one-day. If you are a type of person who likes to take pictures or if you can easily immerse yourself for hours into ruins, culture and archeology, then the 3 days pass is a good option. Otherwise you could briefly visit the most important temples in a whole day, but make sure to start early and to plan a route beforehand. Again, be aware that the park is huge.

4 ) Navigation in the Park is fairly easy. Some hotels try to sell you maps for the Park beforehand, but basically you could also download a map to your smartphone and navigate yourself through the connecting roads between the temples. I'm not 100% sure if there were any clear signposts indicating the directions to the most important temples, but even then it should be easy to find your way if you've got a map.

5 ) I suggest you to take enough drinking water with you, as it can get extremely hot and humid in the park. Of course you can buy food and drinks from the hawkers in the park as well, but this leads me to point 6.

6 ) I suggest you to not buy anything from hawking kids or underage beggars. Seriously, they make quite good money in the park instead of being in school. Sadly it's even their parents that make good use of their kids' crocodile tears, and in some cases they even let their kids doing the work for a whole household. The kids come up with all possible stories like they're collecting money for their school project or their sick parents. Or they approach you with infamous questions like "Hey you, where you from? Ah, Country X? Ah, your country makes good YZ!" etc. But please politely ignore all that stuff. The same problem is now developing in Bagan, Myanmar, and I really hate to see kids begging in overly touristic places, despite the real poverty that exists in these South East Asian countries.

7 ) The only disadvantage that comes into mind when doing the whole thing alone on a bike is that you won't have a guide with you who explains you the history behind the temples. But personally I was fine with it as I prefer to explore things by myself.

8 ) It's also interesting that some temples in the park are massively crowded with tourists, while others, just some couple of hundred meters apart from them, are almost deserted. That's what makes Angkor still authentic, despite all the touristic masses and annoying hakwers. I suggest you too to be a bit adventurous and open for some explorations during your visit. :)

#3 Muri has been a member since 17/7/2015. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 11
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Posted by sunlvr on 16/9/2015 at 17:43

I was thinking of biking around the temples as well. My main question is what do you do with the bike when you are wandering IN the temples??

#4 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37

Posted by Muri on 17/9/2015 at 07:36

@sunlvr: As most temple complexes in the Angkor Archeological Park are connected to each other by paved roads you can simply park your bike at the roadside or directly next to the temple entrances.

Some of the more well visited complexes, like the "actual" Angkor Wat complex, even have their very own huge parking lots. Most hotels / bike rental shops in Siem Reap also supply you with a bicycle lock, which might be recommended if you're riding an expensive rental bike.

Otherwise you simply ride to complex X, park your bike, explore the ruin by foot, return to your bike and ride to the next complex Y, and so on. Easy as pie and absolutely independent. :)

#5 Muri has been a member since 17/7/2015. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 11
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Posted by MADMAC on 19/9/2015 at 11:12

Get you in the mood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkSlz8RXdk4

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by johan81 on 22/9/2015 at 14:03

@Muri Thank you so much for your answer.

No I´m feeling even more inspired! :-)

How is the road between Siem Reap and the temple area? Paved? Did you felt save to ride the bicycle alone? Is there anything regarding the safety that I have to be aware of?

I love taking pictures so that´s one of the main reason why I wan´t to discover the area on my own,

Is it possible to buy the ticket in advance? On the internet? Just so I don't have to que on the morning... :-)

#7 johan81 has been a member since 13/9/2015. Posts: 2

Posted by sunlvr on 22/9/2015 at 14:34

You can go out there the night before. I believe after 4:30pm to buy your passes. Plus they let you in free that night for sunset. :)

#8 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37

Posted by Muri on 23/9/2015 at 02:03

That's actually a great tip from sunlvr, if you don't mind going there the evening before! :)

Otherwise the road from Siem Reap town to the Park is absolutely OK and paved. Believe it or not, there's a even a Google Street View photo series of that road. For further details, just check out that Charles De Gaulle Road in Siem Reap on Google Maps or Earth.

https://goo.gl/maps/UkPjb111N1C2

There might be quite a tour bus traffic in the early morning, with all those packs of tourist groups heading to the main complex for taking sunrise photos. Otherwise I found it pretty safe compared with other places in South East Asia (*winkwink* Vietnam).

#9 Muri has been a member since 17/7/2015. Location: Switzerland. Posts: 11
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