If you really do only have one day to explore Angkor Wat, we’d recommend doing the standard of the Small Circuit, which takes in the top three temple sites of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm.
With over 1000 temples compressed into a 400-square-kilometer area, seeing them all in a single day. This itinerary, on the other hand, will assist you in successfully planning your time so that you may see what most people believe to be the highlights of Angkor Wat.
The order in which you complete these activities is largely determined by your travel priorities. If you’re a photographer, the iconic Angkor Wat sunrise from the lake in front of the temple is something you’ll want to witness.
Thousands of travelers go to the left lake for the most famous Angkor Wat sunrise view, but our suggestion is to head to the right and shoot from there – or simply give up and rush into the temple before the throngs descend there as well.
After that, cross the moat and enter Angkor Thom, where you’ll find Bayon located in the middle of the Angkor Thom city ruins, which are the most beautiful of all the temples. It’s thought to be the mesmerizing state temple of Jayavarman VII (Cambodia’s most renowned King), and it’s well known for its 216 different smiling face carvings.
In addition to the magnificent faces has 1.2 kilometers of bas-reliefs with over 11,000 figures. There are three levels: the first two are rectangular, with a third, circular floor above, and the property is dotted with Banyan trees (the tree under which Buddha is claimed to have attained enlightenment). Excellent for photography in the early morning or late afternoon!
Beside Bayon temple, you can explore the Elephant Terrace, and Baphuon, Terrace of the Leper King, and other temples.
Related: 7 Best temples to visit at Angkor Thom
Next, we suggest you go to Ta Prohm temple, It is one of the most visually impressive and popular sites in the complex. Silk cotton trees and massive vines have threaded their way through the temple’s myriad historic breaches throughout time and now threaten to completely recapture it.
If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with preparing for your trip to Angkor Wat, you can take our Angkor Sunrise jeep tour to explore Angkor archaeology in less time. The tour includes all the must-visit temples, experienced tour guides, breakfast & lunch, etc.