Ride to Angkor Wat
As per schedule, next morning, we were ready at 4:00 AM, though it was bit difficult for me as well as for my family to wake up at 3:30 A.M and to get ready to start the day, but whatever at stake was priceless, so we had to bear that pain. But, to cut-short our pain we decided to go without bath, and we were confident that others visitors would also follow the same pattern and since time was very precious and we could not afford to miss the sunrise.
Lee was professional in his work and as per his instruction, we were waiting at the hotel lobby, when he arrived at 4 o’ clock. He requested us, the previous day to adhere to the timings, since we had to reach the location, buy tickets and then we had to walk to the temple. So, all these activities would consume time and in order to avoid any delay, we had to be punctual. As soon he arrived, we boarded the taxi and headed towards the temple.
There are several ways to reach the temple, but prior booking is required, if sunrise at the temple is to be seen. Plenty of cabs, buses, tuk-tuk, etc are available as per choice and convenience to reach Angkor Wat and they are available throughout the day.
Lee greeted us for the beginning the new day and informed us that we were going as per schedule. It took 15 minutes, from our hotel to reach first point of Angkor Wat which was ticket booking counter and on the way, Lee kept us informed about the Angkor Wat, ticket price and other necessary instructions. He parked the vehicle and asked all of us to de-board the cab and follow him to the ticket counter. The ticket counter arena of Angkor Wat was very big and as I remember there were more than 30 counters for ticket booking, he saw the Que on the counters and asked us to line up in that counter, where the que was very small and we were almost third in the que, which took only 15 minutes to get the tickets for all the 4 members.
Ticket guide for Angkor Wat
Good facility has been developed for visitors reaching Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat, which is a World Heritage Site and it attracts millions of visitors around the year. The ticket booking counter is 2 kms before the Angkor temple and only those passenger vehicles are allowed to enter the protected Angkor site area, who carry passengers with valid pass. So, the premise is free of touts, local public transport and any kind of unwanted encroachment. The ticket counters have been made inside a proper building which has more than 30 counters to buy tickets and seeing the number of counters, it is a fact that tourists visit in large numbers here and it is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the Cambodia.
The booking counters were similar to the railway booking counters in India with multiple windows for booking tickets but the maintenance was very good. The building was clean with proper lighting, big fans and coolers for comfort of visitors. This type of setup for booking tickets for a heritage site was a maiden experience for me, after visiting many such sites in India and around the world. Marshals were standing in good numbers to guide the visitors and to ensure proper distribution of visitors on all counters.
Lee asked one of the Marshal and he took us to the counter which was almost empty and this helped us to get the entrance ticket earlier than expected.
For getting the entrance ticket, all visitors are required to be physically present because the tickets are issued with individual photographs, validity and bar code like this-
The price of entrance ticket, for one day pass is USD 37.00 per person (approx. Rs. 2700.00) , USD 62.00 per person (approx. Rs. 4600) for 3 days pass and USD 72.00 per person (approx. Rs. 5400) for 7 days pass. The tickets can be bought by paying in cash or card, which is an added advantage and convenience. So, visitors can choose pass based on their interest and availability of time. This pass provides access to nearly all the sites which are spread at different locations of Siem Reap and Angkor area except 2-3 temples where separate tickets are required, but this pass is sufficient to cover all major locations. For archaeological students or civil engineers, the other all access pass may be useful. Some portion of the ticket booking amount also goes to a Children hospital fund, which has been mandated by the Cambodian government, so it is clear that the segment of the economy is being financed through the fees received from visitors.
The price is indeed very high for the entrance and has been recently hiked by the Cambodian government. In my opinion, the price is very high and it restricts the visitors to take 3 days pass or all area access pass and my opinion was also confirmed by Lee too, who was also of the same opinion and he also added that many visitors were not happy with the high entrance fees and especially those visitors who were in large groups.
Nevertheless, we obtained our tickets and a location map, well before the allotted time and moved towards our cab for onward journey to the temple. Lee informed that, since we were punctual to start our journey from hotel, so we managed to get the tickets earlier than expected, since he had allocated 30 minutes for buying tickets. He also added that, we were lucky that we didn’t get long ques at counters because we reached at the counter early and after we depart, there will be long ques at the counter because big buses will reach soon, which will create long ques. The tickets can also be purchased in advance but the procedure is same, so option is available in the form of advance booking or to visit early at the counters.