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Getting around in Angkor

Tuk tuk, taxi, motorbike, bicycle, balloon or helicopter

Ruins of a Khmer temple in Angkor
Khmer temple in Angkor

While the town of Siem Reap is small enough to cover most of it on foot, the Angkor Archaeological Park is not. With a total area of about 400 square kilometers, distances between temples are too large to walk. There are many ways of getting around in Angkor including taxi, tuk tuk, motorcycle, bicycle, balloon and helicopter.

As foreigners are not allowed to rent a car of motorcycle and drive it into the Angkor Archaeological Park, you can only rent one with a Cambodian driver.

A taxi, tuk tuk or motorcycle with driver is usually rented for a full day. They can be booked through travel agent or hotel; some of the higher end hotels might charge a little more.

Tell the driver which places you want to go, he will drop you off there and wait for you to come back. Alternatively, you can ask the driver for suggestions, as most of them known the Park very well and know the schedules of tour busses, so you can avoid some of the crowds. As many of them speak very limited English, most hotels will be able to assist with communicating your itinerary with the driver.

If you plan to visit some of the more remote temples like the Banteay Srei or Kbal Spean in the Phnom Kulen Hills, expect to pay more because of the larger distances covered. Likewise, if you want to see the sunrise at one of the temples, expect to pay a few dollars more because of the early hour the trip starts.

Tuk tuk

A tuk tuk, also called mototaxi or moto-ramauk is a motorized rickshaw usually seating two people. This is probably the most popular mode of transportation in Angkor. Although open on the sides, a tuk tuk is covered offering protection from sun and rain. As there are plenty of tuk tuk drivers around, it is easy to find one. Book one through the hotel or talk to a few on the street. Most drivers speak very limited English. A tuk tuk will cost around US$ 15 to US$ 20 for the day; agree on the price before setting off.

Taxi / car with driver

Another way of getting around is to hire a private taxi with driver. A taxi offers protection from sun and rain and will usually be air conditioned. A taxi can be booked through travel agent or hotel. The fare would be around US$ 30 a day, about US$ 10 more to visit the more remote temples.

Motorbike with driver

One of the cheapest ways of getting around in Angkor is by motorbike. As foreigners are not allowed to drive a motorbike in the Angkor Archaeological Park, the only option is to rent one with a Cambodian driver. A motorbike can be booked through most hotels and will cost around US$ 10 for the day.

Bicycle

The option that offers the most freedom is a rented bicycle. It is also the cheapest way of getting around, a bike will cost some US$ 2 to US$ 4 per day, depending on the quality of the bike. Most hotels and guest houses rent bicycles.

Many of the main monuments like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Prasat Ta Keo, Prasat Kravan and the Eastern Mebon are close enough to Siem Reap town to be reached on bicycle.

When stopping at a temple, lock the bike outside; a lock is usually supplied with the rent. Riding a bike you are exposed to sun and possibly rain. The roads will often be dusty and it can get very hot and humid, especially during the hot months of April and May. Apply sun cream, wear a cap or hat and drink plenty of water.

The Baksei Chamkrong temple in Angkor Archeological Park
Angkor temple

Balloon

Balloons offer great aerial views of Angkor. A tethered balloon (attached to a cable) will go a few hundred meters up at a location about 1 kilometer West of Angkor Wat. The balloon ride will last about 10 minutes and cost some US$ 15.

Another option is a balloon flight in the Angkor area. The ride costs about US$ 25 and takes some 40 minutes. Make sure you have been explained the route the balloon follows before you book, so you’ll know what to expect to see.

Both options are dependent on wind conditions. Inquire at hotel or travel agent for more details.

Helicopter

The most spectacular way to see Angkor is from the air making a helicopter ride. A scenic helicopter flight in the Angkor Wat area lasting some 8 to 10 minutes costs around US$ 90. Helicopters can be chartered by the hour as well. Inquire at hotel or travel agent for more details.