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I am curious about organized tours to Angkor Wat originating from Thailand or Cambodia. Is it more convenient/cheaper to go from Bangkok or Phnom Penh? Is an overnight stay de rigeur?
I have been twice (2009 and 2010), the second time organised by Trails of Indochina, who arranged a university professor specialized in Angkor Wat as our guide. The cheapest flight I could find (coming in from Munich) was through Thailand, then direct to Siem Reap. The year before I flew in from Saigon to Siem Reap, not due to price but due to scheduling. It is easy to stay in Siem Reap - a tiny town that you can walk around or grab a tuktuk. There were lots of hotels there, and many under construction - the town seemed to be booming in 2010.
Angkor Wat is only a few kilometres out of town, but there are plenty of temple sights nearby that you might also like to visit, so at least an overnighter would be my recommendation. Lot's of people will stay longer in order to visit the lesser known and further away temples. A day wandering Siem Reap is also recommendable.
In 2010 there was scaffolding at the front of Angkor Wat with green screening over it (restoration efforts), so not so beautiful. This was in September, and the famouse lake/pond out front that the temple is reflected in that you've seen in many photos was very low and weedy. My guide brought us in from the back of the temple ground and out the front, contrary to the flow of other tourists. It was a good call.
Let me answer the second question first.
Yes; definitely stay overnight, if not many more nights. The temple complex/city of which Angkor Wat is one, requires a few days at th minimum to touch the main temples. Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Ta Prohm, Leper King Terrace are also of significant interest. Early morning sunrise and sunset viewing of the temple complex are worthwhile.
If the focus is just Siem Reap and nothing else, then by all means fly into Siem Reap from which ever airline is convenient using Thailand, SIngapore, Sai Gon as gateways. Bankok Airwats, Air Asia, Vietnam Airways all get your there. There are package tours from Saigon, and Phnom Penh.
Hotels range from backpacker sytle pensions, to luxurious five star resort style hotels.
PS: I just added an album of few of the photos from my last trip to Siem Reap last year.