Shade at Angkor Wat – It’s a Precious Commodity

The Temples of Angkor are one of the most treasured landmarks on Earth. Seeing Angkor Wat is a reward for travellers willing to embrace the wild west that is Cambodia. So letting something as trivial as the weather ruin the whole experience would be stupid. So don’t be stupid.

angkor wat

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Angkor Wat gets hot. Really f*ck!ng hot!!

We were in Siem Reap in Match, which is the start of summer. Not that it matters greatly as the average temperatures only drop from 35’ to 31’ in ‘winter’. Anyway, it was a hot sunny day. 

We’d decided that although everyone tells you it’s best to get there at dawn to avoid the heat, the crowds and to experience sunrise over Angkor Wat, it was more important for us to have another late-night boozing and a lazy morning before getting a tuk-tuk to the temples. Simply put, we decided to get there around noon, you know, when the sun is highest in the sky.

Angkor Wat survival kit – At least take a hat

Naively armed with nothing but a bottle of water we arrived at the majestic temples, and after just a few minutes realised that we were a pair of morons. 

There aren’t many trees around the main temples, well not close enough to give respite from the sun anyway. Not many people choose to view the stunning architecture from the fringes of the surrounding forest. It’s more popular to actually enter the temples and get up close and personal. 

The trouble with that, though, is that if you have no shade-providing device, you’re going to cook. The sun smacks you from above while the stone walls are by now radiating enough heat to vertically cook an egg.

Don’t rely on the Angkor Wat Umbrella Store

After sweating our way around on temple we decided that we needed help. My thinning bonce was in serious danger of crisping up and I was losing more fluids than I could replace. Luckily we spotted a little wooden shack store under a tree and made our way over hoping for at least an “I ‘heart’ Angkor Wat” cap to relieve to UV attack.

Unfortunately, though, there we no caps, no hats, and no standard umbrellas in stock. It seems that the baking hot sun had driven up sales from the clever travellers who’d arrived at a cleverer hour.

We were left with one option. A child’s panda-eared umbrella. It had a diameter of that of a large dinner plate, or a small hula hoop, if you prefer. It basically provided enough shade for one head and one head only. I tried holding it higher to let science help but alas, science failed us.

I’m not saying we didn’t enjoy seeing what Lonely Planet call the 3rd best landmark in the world. But with a bit of sensible preparation, it could’ve been a whole lot better.

The best time to visit

Dawn is definitely the best time to visit Angkor Wat. The temperature, although still in the high twenties, is much more bearable than around midday. If you want to go all out you should book a hot air balloon experience. The cheaper ones just go up and down, you’re tethered to the ground at all times, but you get to view all of the majesty from above. I truly wish we’d done that. 

The monkeys of Angkor

As with any experience in Southeast Asia, it’s the addition of monkeys that makes it special for me. KL’s Batu Caves, the whole of Ubud and plenty of other places are all made better thanks to my primate friends, and Angkor Wat is no different.

If you want to be prepared in the best way, take some fruit along with you, because as much as it looks like they’re enjoying the cookie or tube of Pringles, an apple or banana is best for them.

How to get to the temples

This one’s easy. Once you’re in Siem Reap, every tuk-tuk driver has a laminated piece of paper offering you Angkor Wat tours along with an array of shooting range experiences. It’s Cambodia, they love gun ranges.

Looking for more things to do in Cambodia

Along with its wild-west reputation, Cambodia is a traveller’s paradise. Check out Get Your Guide to see the whole range of trips and tours available today.

Want more travel tips?

If you’re hungry for more travel tips and stories head back over to my blog or check me out on Instagram.

the sketchy traveller
About the author – The Sketchy Traveller

I’m not really a stickman, but it seems that I like portraying myself as one.

I’m an English guy who’s been travelling since 2017. I was never good at taking photos, sketching just seems to work better for me, and in my opinion, why do you want to see other people’s 4K videos and pictures of the world? Surely it’s better to see it for yourself. You can get in touch through the contact page or Instagram.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy travelling.

The Sketchy Traveller