Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Angkor Wat...is it worth it?

Posted by Noggins on 26/6/2009 at 10:23

Were travellers on a very tight budget and are wondering if the steep Angkor Wat entrance fee is worth it? We are only planning to go for the day but the cost will be a couple of days budget for us..do people think its worth it? Is it really spectacular or just okay? We've been travelling round Asia for about 7 months so seen our fair share of impressive temples etc, so dont want to go unless its really something special- especially as we are just passing through Cambodia to get to Laos.
Thoughts?

#1 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by BruceMoon on 26/6/2009 at 13:19

Noggins

If the thought of spending money on one of the greatest 'heritage' sites of SE Asia daunts you, don't go.

If you are only planning to spend a day there, don't go.

You say you've seen your fair share of temples... But, you don't say which ones.

Angkor is NOT JUST TEMPLES it's so much more.

To understand the complexity of the place, the 'need' for so many buildings, the longitudinal development of ediface over time, the relationship between the temples and Tonle Sap, etc., etc., etc., one must spend much more time than "one day".

If you do want to engage with Angkor, you'll need to buy a 3 day pass, and spend another day in the Tonle Sap area.

So, my suggestion to you is just don't bother.

Anyway, the beach will be so much better (you don't have to use a brain or spend much money).

Cheers

#2 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


Posted by Noggins on 26/6/2009 at 14:26

Brucemoon- our query appears to have offended you... im not sure why, was just looking for advice...!
We've spent 5 months in India and Nepal...then a few in Thailand and Vietnam, so have seen a lot of different sides of Asia..some of the things we have visited which are 'must sees' according to the likes of Lonely Planet have been a dissapointment/tourist trap, and as we are on a very, very tight budget..we were simply asking for opinions on whether it was a 'must see' from fellow travellers.
Please don't assume that we are chavvy beach loving mindless tourists, just for asking this question..
Sometimes the country itself is more interesting than the sights...were not going to go to something just because you 'have to'
Anyone else got anything more productive to contribute?
thanks

#3 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by Noggins on 26/6/2009 at 14:28

Brucemoon- our query appears to have offended you... im not sure why, was just looking for advice...!
We've spent 5 months in India and Nepal...then a few in Thailand and Vietnam, so have seen a lot of different sides of Asia..some of the things we have visited which are 'must sees' according to the likes of Lonely Planet have been a dissapointment/tourist trap, and as we are on a very, very tight budget..we were simply asking for opinions on whether it was a 'must see' from fellow travellers.
Please don't assume that we are chavvy beach loving mindless tourists, just for asking this question..
Sometimes the country itself is more interesting than the sights...were not going to go to something just because you 'have to'
Anyone else got anything more productive to contribute?
thanks

#4 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by BruceMoon on 26/6/2009 at 15:37

Noggins

I agree that Lonely Planet MUST SEE can sometimes be a waste of time.

Please accept that I'm deadly serious about my views on the Angkorian temples (above).

And, I've also visited many throughout SE Asia.

If money is tight, don't go.

If other (cheaper) things are more important don't go.

Maybe you should ask yourself why Lonely Planet spends 10% of its Cambodia book on just ONE place. Clearly, they must have some sort of tourist value. If you go, give yourself the time to experience the temples properly, and maybe even read up about the place.

Cheers

#5 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by JoHe59 on 26/6/2009 at 19:04

Noggins,

I've also been to many Asian countries and regions (Nepal, northern India, Thailand, Vietnam, southern China, West Malaysia, Java & Bali, Laos and Cambodia), but believe me: you cannot compare any of these places (or more specific the temples overthere) to Angkor . OK, it's pricy (20 US$ for 1 day, 40 US$ for 3 days)and it's full of tourists (like you and me, by the way), but what's the chance you're going to visit Cambodia again when you're older (and richer)? You're in Cambodia, Angkor is THE highlight and in my humble opion a MUST. Don't consider it like a 'must see' that might disappoint you: it won't. I travel also on a tight budget and in Cambodia (and certainly in Laos, where there are no real 'musts') there are so many other things where you can save money. And I have to agree with BruceMoon: 1 day is not enough (3 days is maybe too much, but you don't have a choice) and certainly go to one of the floating villages on Tonle Sap (Kampong Khleang is very nice, don't go to Chong Khneas (read this: http://www.talesofasia.com/cambodia-siemreap-guide-other.htm))
Have a nice trip,
Johan

#6 JoHe59 has been a member since 22/8/2006. Posts: 21

Posted by exacto on 26/6/2009 at 19:46

hey noggins,

i'd say that angkor wat is different enough and spectacular enough to make it worth the cost of admission. that's particularly true given that you'll be so close - most folks spend thousands of dollars just to get to the gate. from what you've said, you'll essentially be able to get there at no extra cost.

i'd been through lots and lots of other temple sites throughout asia, just as you have, and the angkor complex was something above and beyond most others. my friends who have visited with me think the same.

in any case, i think it would be a shame to get so close and not go if you could at all afford it. one day will be rushed, but it will be enough to capture many of the highlights. hopefully you'll be able to get an early start and make the most of an all-day adventure.

perhaps you can save money by sharing your moto-rickshaw for the day and definitely by packing a lunch and bringing your own water with you. hope that helps. take care.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,650
 Where has exacto been? 

Posted by Noggins on 26/6/2009 at 20:47

Thanks for the replies..appreciated. We went to the tourist office today and booked a fairly cheap tuk tuk and guide, did some more research and got a book, and are off there tommorow. We're only doing one day so will just see the highlights, but after the last two replies were looking forward to it and are setting off early to see as much as possible. Also well stocked up on water already to save those extra dollars! :)

#8 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by BruceMoon on 27/6/2009 at 06:20

Noggins

I'm amazed.

You say you are on a tight budget, but you spend money on a guide (who likely as not only reflects what's in the book).

WOW!!!!!!!

#9 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by Noggins on 27/6/2009 at 14:05

Brucemoon..Not thats its any of your business how we spend our money, but we traded in two of our own books for a guide, so paid just 2 dollars for it...im not sure why we appear to have angered you so much...the other people who replied to this thread gave good advice without being patronising. IT is possible to get secondhand books on a budget without buying yourself every shiny new lonely planet from waterstones you know :)

#10 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by Noggins on 27/6/2009 at 14:07

And if you are referring to our tour guide, not the book, he doubled up as the tuk tuk driver..and we had already accounted for the fact we'd need to shell out money on such things..hence why we were questioning spending the money in the first place!

#11 Noggins has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by amazon_blonde on 13/7/2009 at 06:21

tuk-tuk drivers can't work as guides in angkor. unless something has changed in the last few months....
i'll also chime in to say that i think it's really hard to tell someone else whether a certain site is "worth it". you have to figure that out for yourself, and consider who you are and what you want. I'll elaborate:
I've wanted to see angkor all my life and thought it was incredible -- a highlight of this trip. but my husband didn't even know what angkor was before we went. he also enjoyed it, but didn't have the same joy i did. another traveller we met heard all the hype before he got there, and then felt it didn't live up to expectations.
Similarly, i went to Petra with my sister a few years ago and found it a life-changing experience. She thought it was "cool" but didn't understand why I was so obsessed and didn't exactly feel it was a waste of time, but would not have wanted to go out of her way to see it.
I could never hope to tell you whether Angkor is really "worth it" **to you**. If you have to ask, then it's probably not.

#12 amazon_blonde has been a member since 20/12/2008. Posts: 116

Posted by billbevan01 on 15/7/2009 at 22:19

Noggins - oh yes it is. I'm an archaeologist and photographer specialising in World Heritage Sites. Angkor is one of the most amazing historic places you can visit in the World.

The scale, beauty of the artwork and architecture, experience of this vast tribute to human spirituality and secular power, forest setting need to be experienced. They will enrich your life so that you will probably always have Angkor on your mind. In my opinion Angkor Wat and the Bayon are two of the most important architectural wonders of the world with, for me, the lotus bud prangs, being the most exquisitely created proportions of any monumental building. I find its beauty transcends that of the Taj Mahal.

My tips would be - spend as long there as you can so you can reflect, discover hidden corners at times when the tour parties aren't there and revisit your favourite places. That's what I'd say about any major monumental complex mind.

#13 billbevan01 has been a member since 19/6/2009. Location: Global Village. Posts: 46
 Website 

Posted by ideb on 4/8/2009 at 12:00

I am going in August and it is gonna be the highlight of my vacation. I have waited all my life to explore the wonders of the world and this will be my first but hopefully not my last. I will maybe be the oldest female solo backpacker out there in Asia but i don't care!! I am soooexcited and thanks for everyones input cause it has really helped me

#14 ideb has been a member since 3/8/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by BruceMoon on 4/8/2009 at 12:59

ideb

I have a feeling you're in for a surprise - there's some really feisty 'grannies' tooting their wrinkles around SE Asia.

Cheers

#15 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by busylizzy on 4/8/2009 at 14:31

"..there's some really feisty 'grannies' tooting their wrinkles around SE Asia."

... and I'll be one of them soon too. Although I like to see myself as a slightly mature, wrinkle-less aunty rather than a grannie! I also look forward to meeting others like us! :-)

#16 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by BruceMoon on 4/8/2009 at 15:14

Lisa

When do you leave kiwiland for SE madness?

Cheers

#17 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by befree on 4/8/2009 at 15:34

I will be there as well next month….female travelling solo!!!

Ided I am sure this will be the first of many wonderful trips for you.

#18 befree has been a member since 27/9/2007. Posts: 11

Posted by busylizzy on 5/8/2009 at 06:26

Bruce, I'm heading off on 24 Sept - with my first 2 months to be spent in Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara area). I'll then move on to Vietnam, Laos.... etc. I decided to start out in Indonesia as I can speak the language (to some extent) - and have travelled through parts of Indo many years ago, , so there is an element of comfort zone. Nusa Tenggara is one area that I haven't seen before, and it's always been on my list of 'must see' places.

So... I'm nervously excited as I count down.....50 sleeps to go. :-)

#19 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by BruceMoon on 5/8/2009 at 06:42

Lisa

How I envy you.

My wife has a 91yo father who is becoming increasingly debilitated. Thus, we've been limited to one month 'adventures'. I dare say we'll either become more Oz bound. One day, we'll be 'liberated'.

What parts of VN / Laos are you looking at?

Cheers

#20 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by busylizzy on 5/8/2009 at 07:45

Bruce, the rough plan (after Indonesia)is to fly to Hanoi and travel my way down through Vietnam, through the Mekong Delta area into Cambodia. From there I'll make my way up through Laos. I'll finish up with some beach-blob time in Southern Thailand - or possibly keep going through to Sulawesi for another month. I haven't overplanned anything at this stage as I know plans do (and will change) so am just aiming for a conceptual plan at this stage.

I am roughly aiming for 6 months travelling - but have the flexibility (and maybe the finances if I budget well) to keep going for another few months if need be, to cover all the ground that I am targetting. I am also wary of being 'on the move' every day, and want to be sure to have some time to just 'hang out' in an area for a couple of weeks if I so desire.

So.. in short - I have a rough itinerary outline, but haven't fully researched the finer details yet. (I need to keep something up my sleeve for those long busrides!) I'll fly in some cases to make up some time (and to avoid to many of those long busrides).

One advantage of doing this travel later in life is that I am in a better position financially to make choices like jumping on a plane when I've had enough of the hard yakka travelling between locations.

Make the most of the Ozzie travel while you're 'stuck' at home, I guess. (Or even pop over to Kiwiland!) Asia will be there waiting when you become 'liberated' :-)

#21 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by carlocargo on 5/8/2009 at 09:31

hell yes! angkor wat is the bomb! this one's a no-brainer! go now.

#22 carlocargo has been a member since 20/4/2007. Posts: 22

Posted by BruceMoon on 5/8/2009 at 13:29

Lisa

We try and get to kiwiland about twice a year. It's like Australia 25 years ago - not like in backwards, rather, that everyone is still friendly and ready for a chat, etc.

Cheers

#23 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by hotchily on 6/8/2009 at 05:33

Angkor is fantastic. Spent 5 days there and wanted to do so much more - unfortunately ran out of time. If possible see the outlying temples as well as the main complex - it is definately worth it. A trip on Tongle Sap and a stint at the hamock Bar on the way back was a hoot (crispy snake and beer)
To make up for this lack of time spent - we are going back in feb next year along with the main trip to Lao.

#24 hotchily has been a member since 14/1/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by SBE on 6/8/2009 at 06:40

Sounds like we might bump into each other at some point Lizzy ... your dates and itinerary are quite similar to mine!

Hmm maybe I do need some TF stickers after all... ;-)

#25 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,019
 Where has SBE been? 

Posted by busylizzy on 6/8/2009 at 11:36

That would be great! I'll stick the stickers somewhere obvious, and am waiting for the T-shirt (compliments of one of the TF competitions!). Seriously though, let's keep in touch. It would be nice to catch up with TFishers. :-)

#26 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 


Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.