Angkor Wat, the cradle of Khmer culture, was once a city of one million people but largely abandoned until rediscovery in the mid 19th century. It is a breathtaking temple complex of sandstone towers, spires and halls covering 500 acres (208 hectares) including a moat and a long causeway serving as the main entrance on its western side. It is believed to be the funerary temple for King Suryavarman II. An architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, reliefs and sculpture make it one of the world’s finest monuments.
Angkor Wat is about 30 minutes from Siem Reap center located inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, which also hosts Angkor Thom and its Bayon Temple with the Terrace of the Leper King as well as 100’s of other temples and lost cities.
Tours from Siem Reap are readily available, so are balloon flights. Best viewed at dawn from the northern reflection pool with the rising sun blazing up behind its spires to provide a glimpse to the way it looked in the 12th century. It is also less crowded at this time and cooler. A fun way to visit is by remarque (tuk tuk) booked from your hotel. Daily hire and driver will cost US$15, a personal guide will cost about US$10. You will need a temple pass to the Angkor Archeological Park to see Angkor Wat and other key temples: costs are one-day US$20, three-day (US$40) and seven-day (US$60). They must be used on consecutive days. Visiting hours are 5:00AM – 6:00PM. It is a bit of a walk to get to an advantage point. Take bottled water.