Hike the Outer Wall Trail of Angkor Wat

Rate this Adventure 2 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by John Maurizi

Escape the crowds and experience a part of Angkor Wat that is seldom seen. 

I haven't seen this trail really called anything. The explorer in me likes to check out paths less taken. This is truly one of them. It could be that few people know it even exists. Most, probably have a limited time to visit all that Angkor Archeological Park has to offer, so don't seek out a trail such as this.

I call it the Outer Wall Trail because it is just that. A trail that goes around the outer wall of Angkor Wat. For me, this was an awesome experience. The trail runs on a piece of land between the Angkor Wat wall and the moat that surrounds Angkor Wat. I didn't see a single person the entire time hiking however, I have seen several monks and locals at the North and East Gates. The trail is about 2 miles. The trail meanders through trees and grass with the imposing wall accompanying you the entire way. During your hike you will pass Ta Loek (North Gate), Ta Kou (East Gate) and Ta Pech (South Gate). These are the other lesser known entrances to the West Gate main entrance to Angkor Wat.

I recommend starting this hike in morning around 9:30am. I suggest this time because by 9:00am, the tourist buses are in full swing and every attraction will have crowds around. Taking time to enjoy the scenery and shade is very relaxing. And by taking time to explore the other entrances, this hike should take about 2-3 hours to enjoy yourself. That has you finished in time for lunch.

I also recommend hiking this in a clockwise direction. This will get the more sun exposed north side done first. The south and east side offers much more shade for later in the day.

To start the hike from the road entrance, walk over the moat causeway to the West Gate.  Before entering the gate, look left and you will see an obvious social trail. Hiking in a clockwise direction, the first gate you come to is Ta Loek, the north gate.  The "North Gate" is in relatively good condition. My first time at the wall I arrived just as a thunderstorm hit. There was a Buddhist Monk performing a ceremony with three younger monks and several Khmer children and women were watching. This is a credit to how seldom this entrance is visited. Once the rain started, the ceremony stopped and we all took shelter in the entrance building. It was interesting to see how well the water stayed out of such an old building. But in time the rain found its way in creating a small pond in the middle of the floor.

Passing the north gate and rounding the corner of the outer wall, the next gate would be the Ta Kou, the north gate.  This gate does see more traffic than the North and South gates but still very quiet. The only people I've come across here are those that are lost. This entrance is bigger than the North and South entrances. While you can walk through all three entrances, the Ta Kou is the only one that has a dirt road through a break in the perimeter wall. Of the three lesser entrances, this one is my favorite. In addition, this entrance also has access from a land bridge that crosses over the moat. It is possible to park a car or tuk tuk on the far side of the moat and walk across the land bridge.

Continuing on the trail, the last gate you will encounter is Ta Pech, the south gate. This is probably the least visited of all the gates to Angkor Wat. As with the other gates, you can access Ta Pech from the interior section of Angkor Wat or from this outer wall trail. It is in relatively good shape. There is some alter items inside, more so than I have seen at other areas around Angkor Wat. It seems the Monks perform rituals and prayer sessions here because it is away from the main tourist area at the temple.

Past the South Gate, the trail goes into a heavily wooded area and eventually emerges back at the West Gate.
Avoid hiking this trail in late afternoon. Because of the heat and high humidity, thunderstorms are known to develop and you would not want to be on the trail in the rain or during a lighting storm. This happened to me and fortunately I was exploring the North entrance when it hit so I had shelter.

Direction to entrance: I recommend hiring a Tuk Tuk driver from your hotel in Siem Reap.  They will get you to the west entrance.  You will need a pass. I would recommend the three day $40 pass.  It is the best value.

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