Angkor – Ancient Temple complex
In the Cambodian province of Siem Reap contains many ruins of ancient temples and cities from the period of the Khmer Empire. Since 1992 this immense monument, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Angkor means “Holy City” in Khmer language.
Most visitors spend 2 or 3 days at the temple complex. Within these days it’s not possible to see everything of course.
Which temples should you really visit? Here are the Top 5 of the most beautiful and diverse temples in Angkor.
Elephant rides are no longer offered. These major animals continue to walk through the temple, but in freedom.
The absolute landmark of the Angkor temple complex is of course Angkor Wat itself. This wonderful temple was built by Khmer king Suryavaman II in the 12th century and is considered one of the most extraordinary religious structures on the planet. Angkor Wat symbolizes “heaven on earth”. The temple is surrounded by ancient walls and has several levels, with the characteristic towers in the middle. The hallways and galleries display beautiful wall-sculpted artworks with spiritual meanings.
Tip! Angkor Wat is also beautiful during sunrise! Get up early and get a spot at the lake right in front of Angkor Wat around 5am.
Over 200 gigantic carved faces adorn this beautiful temple. Bayon is one of the most distinctive and best preserved temples of Angkor Wat. The smiling stone faces are all depictions of the popular Khmer king Avalokiteshvara. Built in the 12th century, Bayon is without doubt Angkor Wat’s most ornate temple.
Tip! Stroll through the corridors of this complex.
Angkor Thom is a complete walled city measuring 12 kilometers by 8 kilometers. Take a look at the huge Baphuon temple that you can climb for a phenomenal view. Don’t miss the Terrace of Elephants which is nearby this temple.
Tip! One of the best tips for the entire Angkor temple complex is that you can explore the region more easily with a TukTuk.
Ta Prohm is best known for films like Tomb Raider. Here the figs grow freely among the ancient stones and nature balances between destruction and conservation. You can wander in the narrow corridors and square gardens or between the towers that are still intact and the piles of stones that are scattered here and there.
Tip! Bring enough water. Exploring these temples in the heat will make you very thirsty.
Preah Neak Poan
Neak Pean is a square artificial lake, with a small Buddhist temple in the center. There are four basins around the stone lake, which fill up with water during the rainy season. In the dry period you can walk through it.
Tip! Monks are to be respected and if you want to take pictures with them, ask them for permission first.
Other interesting places
A half hour walk through forested hills, lead you to a natural bridge and a group of carvings, in the stream bed and waterfall.
Banteay Srei is a temple built in the 10th century. The name of the temple means ‘temple of the women‘.
Phnom Bakheng is one of the oldest temples and dates from the 9th century. The temple is popular at sunset.
Banteay Kdei is a Buddhist temple and is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. The name translates to the ‘Citadel of Chambers’.