Considering Cambodia for your next romantic getaway? A travel favourite for the new decade, the Kingdom of Cambodia is packed with treasures for couples travelling in South East Asia. The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Angkor Wat — the world’s largest temple complex and testament to the ingenuity and might of the ancient Khmer Empire. This 12th-century megamonument, created as a Hindu (and later Buddhist) place of worship, is the heartland of Cambodia and now a revered UNESCO World Heritage site and expansive Archaeological Park.
Let’s look at some of the most romantic things to do when visiting Angkor Wat — whether it be for a Cambodian honeymoon, holiday for two or just one of the most amazing adventure and discovery trips you’ll ever take as a couple!
1. See the sun rise over Angkor Wat
Watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat is an experience to savour for a lifetime. It’s also a must-do for visitors to Cambodia — so arrive early to nab a good spot (gates open at 5am)! We recommend basing yourselves in Siem Reap and booking a tuk-tuk for the day. This easy, inexpensive option will help you get to the site on time and navigate the grounds as the sun starts to climb. Prepare to feel a deep sense of connection to your partner and to the environment here. It’s quite a profound experience.
2. Explore the other incredible temples
While many people arrive for sunrise at Angkor Wat and then return later to tour the complex, we recommend dodging the crowds and kicking off your tour asap. This will allow you and your love to explore at a more unhurried pace (and at cooler temperatures). There are literally hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist temples to visit so pick up your entry pass in advance and leave yourselves at least a day if not more. Don’t miss the Buddhist Ta Prohm temple (often called the ‘Tomb Raider temple’) an otherworldly tangle of mighty tree roots, maze-like corridors, and hidden secrets.
3. Take a dip in the Phnom Kulen waterfall
One of the most naturally beautiful things to do near Angkor Wat is explore the sacred Phnom Kulen National Park. Birthplace of the Khmer Empire, this area is also home to the glorious Phnom Kulen waterfall. Refresh in the cool waters and discover a deeper bond within the pristine environment. At around two hours’ drive from Siem Reap, Phnom Kulen makes for a rewarding day trip.
4. Share a memorable meal
When you book your trip to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, check out the wide range of cafes and restaurants where you can escape the midday heat and sample the delicious local cuisine. For a romantic meal in Siem Reap, see the elegant Malis Restaurant which serves up authentic Khmer cuisine with a modern twist or the French/Khmer flavours of Cuisine Wat Damnak — the first Cambodian restaurant to make the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Head just outside Siem Reap to discover Stoeng Trorcheak, a riverside restaurant where guests can enjoy a post-lunch nap in complimentary hammocks. To fuel up like a local before tackling the sprawling Angkor complex, try the Angkor Reach Restaurant or grab a bite at the Angkor Café.
5. See the sunset
Sunrise is a must, but sunset is also a special time to be back on site. The sun’s fading glory reflected in the waters which encircle Angkor Wat is magical. What a romantic way to end the day (before heading back to your resort for a swim!).
When should couples visit Angkor Wat?
With Cambodia emerging as a must-see destination, peak season (December/January) is becoming busier than ever. If you are travelling then, include some of the lesser-known temples in your itinerary or start your days early to enjoy the big sites.
Otherwise, February to the end of March will dodge some of the biggest crowds while still enjoying good weather before the rainy, humid season begins around April. Also consider October, as the rain is starting to ease but you’ll still score some accommodation/package deals in this ‘shoulder’ season.