I had dreamed of visiting Angkor for quite a while. Finally I got the chance to to spend 4 days there, and I was so happy. I researched everything to the smallest detail, especially what to wear to Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat put a strict dress code in place several years ago. Everyone visiting the site should follow certain rules. If you aren’t dressed appropriately, you may not be able to even buy a ticket for the site. The guards at the entrances to the temples may indicate if you are dressed improperly.
We witnessed a guard asking people to cover their knees or their shoulders several times. Sometimes this could be rectified by simply using a scarf. Know what to wear to Angkor Wat and be prepared before you go. Clothes are being sold near the temples, but they tend to get very expensive for the tourists who need to buy them on the spot.
The following rules apply whether you are a man or a woman, but especially for women (as they do in so many places, right?)
Shorts, skirts, or pants?
No shorts, short dresses, or anything that doesn’t cover the knee are allowed. Trousers, long skirts, or long shorts covering the knee are the acceptable attire to wear to Angkor Wat. Try to wear cotton or, even better, linen, as they breathe and you won’t be suffocating in the heat. I found that skirts were more comfortable.
Of course there’s one more thing to consider: the climbing. This was slightly complicated with the skirts I was wearing. I would put the skirt up to make it easier. Trousers were far more comfortable for climbing, though they were still quite hot even though they were made of thin material.
Any top that is worn to Angkor Wat should cover the shoulders. There are no rules about cleavage as far as I know, but I do believe it would be flagged if it’s deemed “too revealing.” Any simple t-shirt will work fine. Another option is to wear a tank top and just throw a scarf on.
That brings me to the major item that can help you with what to wear to Angkor Wat – a scarf. The scarves are very useful and you can make them work with many outfits. I did wear a sleeveless top one day and put a scarf around me. It looked quite cute and very much acceptable. But make sure that it doesn’t slip off your shoulders.
Another thing – if you are going up the highest spot at Angkor Wat, you have to have something more than just a scarf covering you. A thin jacket can save you from this in such places, where scarves are not appropriate.
There are no rules about shoes, but I suggest to wear well covered shoes with support. You will be walking in very dusty places and will be climbing stairs and stones a lot. This would be quite difficult in sandals! But so many people did wear slippers and sandals since they keep your feet cooler in the heat.
Wear bright colors. They will look much better on photos. One day I wore a bright blue skirt and it looked great with the backgrounds. Another day I had a black and white striped skirt on and it looked far duller. See the photos and decide for yourself.
The skirts you wear at Angkor Wat can have slits. There are no rules against them. That’s great, as they look much better. I personally hate long skirts. To me they are not only uncomfortable, but not very cute too, as I am short. So the slits are the best thing.
A scarf can also be a fashion accessory, it may lighten up your outfit.
Maxi or midi dresses can be a great idea. You can find thin, colourful ones at local markets in the region. Those are the best option.
We didn’t have time for shopping and I hate browsing markets, so I just brought what I had. For the next time, I will definitely find a colourful maxi dress online.
Hopefully these tips will help you plan what to wear to Angkor Wat!
Despite having a full time job, I always try to make time to hit the road and visit as many places, as I can. Travel is not just my passion, but a necessity for my mental health 🙂 Having lived in 3 cities and visited 50 countries so far, I want to share my experiences and travel tips with the fellow travel junkies.
Follow my journeys on my blog hittheroadket.com and on Instagram @hittheroadket