I’ll start by saying that Angkor Wat is breathtaking. It’s a completely surreal experience to walk through the dense, vibrantly alive jungle and then there is an ancient, decaying, thousand year old ruin to the left.
After the fall of the Khmer Empire, the temples’ constructors, the area was never completely deserted, and remained partially inhabited for many years. The moats surrounding the main temples kept the jungle mostly at bay, and local monks conducted Buddhist rites in the decaying prayer spaces.
During the Pol Pot regime, raiders looted many of the temples and sold their treasures abroad. Statues with missing heads speak volumes about those horrifically violent years.
Avoid the high season. Even now, in the low season, the site was completely packed!
Wear pants and short sleeves. People in shorts or tank tops were denied access to the top of the main tower, which has one of the best views.