Angkor Wat in Siem Reap was 100% the highlight of our two week trip to Thailand & Cambodia back in May. Prior to going, I researched how to break up the trip / how many days to spend at each section / which location to start in ... etc. I may have a slight obsession with researching everything about our location before traveling... It comes down to a bit of 'FOMO'... (aka fear of missing out). I know that, this may be the only time in our lives we will be in this location, so I get anxiety if I think we may not see everything.
I'll admit, I think I tried to plan a bit TOO much (I had both excel spreadsheets and a powerpoint describing this trip... seriously). And when it came down to which temple to visit and at what time - on the morning of our visit.. we went completely off my script! But what about my beautiful excel sheet??! And you know what, the day turned out perfectly. I have found that sometimes its better to research / be aware of what there is to be explored to make sure you hit your favorite spots... but also in the end trust the locals.
But what I did find useful during my research was some of the below tips, so I thought i'd pass along the knowledge and my own personal experiences:
WHAT TO WEAR
This was by far what I researched the most. I knew it was going to be 90 degrees and humid, so I wanted to wear the bare minimum... while being respectful of course. :)
Most of Angkor Wat actually does not have a 'dress code' - but there are certain parts of the temple that do (Bakon, the upper part of Angkor Wat, for example). And you didn't travel half way around the world to get turned down at the door, right?
Angkor Wat Dress Code: Basically both men and women need to cover their shoulders and knees.
Knowing we'd be walking in the beating sun from literally sunrise to sunset, I needed to 1. Follow the above rules. 2. Wear something that was comfortable and super light... and 3. Something that was cute too (hey... think of all the pictures you're going to take here!)
My final decision was:
1. A light hat from Asos.
2. An "off the shoulder" top from Asos. This ended up being my savior. Because it is super light and loose which meant breezy AND when I had to have my shoulders covered, I just tucked the sleeves up into the straps to make it look like a tee. See the difference between the left and the right picture? And yes, I totally wore the same shirt twice on the trip - we packed in carryon suitcases for two weeks!! (Link to something similar on asos: here)
3. A light skirt from H&M. (yes, I also have it in two colors) Which technically covers my knees but has a slit on the side so again, super light and breezy. (link to something similar on H&M: here)
4. Prime knit adidas stan smith shoes - super comfortable and matches everything. (I have bought 3 of these because they are my FAVORITE travel shoe. Although they look sold out now, adidas keeps bringing them back: here)
5. JCrew neon purse: small enough that it doesn't get heavy, but big enough to carry the essentials. AND its an over-the-shoulder bag which means - two hands free for taking pictures!
I additionally thought about wearing a long maxi dress which could also work (& then bring a cardigan with you incase you need to cover your shoulders).
One thing to note, you will be climbing a LOT of steps, and these are very steep steps. So that means two things: If your skirt is too short, the people below you will get a peek. If your skirt is too long, you will end up tripping on it on the way up. (the problems we have as women! ha)
WHAT TO BRING: (all fitting in my jcrew neon purse btw)
Camera - I have a Sony DSC-RX100 II Cyber Shot digital camera. The best thing about it? It has WiFi built in, so I can send it straight to my iPhone no matter where i am.
iPhone (for more pictures)
Selfie stick - I know, I can't believe i'm one of those people, but we got pictures together with more than just our faces in the shot!
Water - you will finish it within the first 2 hours... and then you'll resort to amazing coconut waters.
A snack - I know Andrew and I well enough by now, we can easily get 'hangry' so I make sure to carry a small paleo bar with us.
Cash - to buy those coconut waters
Additionally, bring a packed breakfast if you're going to watch the sunrise as described in my other post. (Sunrise at Angkor Wat)
RANDOM THINGS I DIDN'T EXPECT:
To get yelled at / called to buy something... anything from the stalls. I cannot tell you how many times we were asked if we wanted to buy a t-shirt, hat, magnet... the list goes on. No! the only thing I want is endless amounts of coconut waters. Now if they just got on the coconut ice cream trend, they would be making a fortune.
Girls wearing elephant pants (seriously...) They are these loose cotton pants with an elephant print all over. What is with this odd trend here?? You'll see groups of girls... ALL wearing them.
I hope these tips have helped! If anyone has any additional questions on what to wear/pack/bring to Angkor Wat please feel free to comment!