Siem Reap is the main town to explore Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom from. On one of my two week trips to Asia I combined a visit to Angkor Wat with a visit to Bangkok, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. One could definitely spend 3-4 days in Siem Reap and see Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the surrounding temple ruins. I’d recommend 4 days at least, if time allows, to also enjoy the town and explore the non temple related sites like the historical museum, markets and the countryside.
Getting to Siem Reap is very easy from Bangkok. It’s about a 50 minute flight and there are plenty of flight options from Bangkok’s two airports, BKK and DMK. Be sure to have $25 – $30 USD to pay for your visa on arrival and two passport size photos.
Accommodations: Heritage Suites Hotel Siem Reap $$$$ Executive Suites
Lovely luxury hotel with old school charm. Transportation was included in our hotel package and I was picked up from Siem Reap airport (REP) in a vintage Mercedes. I arrived early in the afternoon checked into the hotel and began my tour of Angkor Wat that I arranged through the hotel. My guide took me to to pick up my ticket ($20 USD) to Angkor Wat which was good for 24 hours so I was able to visit Angkor Wat at sunset on my first day and at sunrise on the next day.
Our tour included a private guided tour with transportation through Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan.
(Map of Angkor Archaeological Park by http://www.TourismCambodia.com)
If you don’t opt for a tour arranged through your hotel you can get around via tuk tuk and hire a tour guide or follow a group for free and eavesdrop to get some insights.
It gets very hot in the afternoon so I’d avoid doing tours between 12pm and 4pm. I did my tours early in the morning starting at the smaller temples before the sights became too crowded and enjoyed the hotel pool in the hot afternoons, then went back out around sunset to view the larger temples in end of day light. I preferred Angkor Wat at sunset and found even though I went early for sunrise the crowds and chaos were still an issue, just not as intense as it would have been had I gone between 9 and 12.
If you’re looking to visit the famous temples from the film Tomb Raider be sure to visit Ta Prohm at Angkor Wat. Most tour guides will take you there at some point but if you’re itching to see it right away just mention Ta Prohm.