The Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to explore ancient temples. While the iconic Angkor Wat temple steals the spotlight, there are numerous hidden gems within the complex that offer unique experiences. Although there is estimated to be over a thousand buildings but only 72 of these are recognized as temples. In this guide See Asia Differently uncovers the best temples to visit inside the Angkor Wat complex. This is our list of the best temples to visit in no particular order.
Angkor Wat Temple is a massive architectural marvel located in Cambodia. It is the largest religious monument in the world, spanning an area of approximately 162.6 hectares. Constructed in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat showcases the incredible craftsmanship and engineering skills of the ancient civilization. The temple complex is adorned with intricate carvings that depict various aspects of Khmer society, including scenes from Hindu epics, royal processions, and battles. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat later transformed into a Buddhist pilgrimage site, reflecting the cultural and religious shifts in the region over the centuries.
Bayon Temple is a unique and captivating temple located in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia. What sets Bayon Temple apart from other temples is its striking feature of numerous stone faces carved on its towers. These serene faces are believed to represent Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, making Bayon Temple the only Buddhist temple constructed by the Angkor Empire. This architectural masterpiece, with its intricate carvings and rich history, is a must-visit for travelers seeking to explore the wonders of ancient Khmer civilization.
Ta Prohm, also known as the Tomb Raider temple, located 12.1km from Siem Reap, is a captivating site that transports travelers and photographers back to the 12th century. Built by King Jayavarman VII, this temple carries both Hindu and Buddhist influences. Over time, the temple has fallen into a state of collapse, with many Buddha figures destroyed. However, it is the remarkable interweaving of giant tree roots with the ancient stonework that truly sets Ta Prohm apart and makes it a must-visit destination.
Banteay Kdei Temple
Banteay Kdei temple, also known as the “Citadel of Chambers,” is a lesser-known temple within the Angkor Wat complex. It offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere, with intricate carvings and hidden courtyards to explore. This temple provides a peaceful respite from the crowds.
Phnom Bakheng is a must-visit temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. With its stunning hilltop location, this ancient monument offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Ascend the steep steps to reach the temple’s summit and witness a mesmerizing sunset over the Angkor Archaeological Park. Phnom Bakheng’s rich history and unparalleled beauty make it an essential stop on any temple-hopping adventure in Angkor Wat.
Preah Khan Temple
Preah Khan temple, once a significant religious and educational center, is now a fascinating ruin with a mystical ambiance. Its labyrinthine layout and intricate carvings make it an intriguing site to discover. Exploring the hidden corners of Preah Khan is like stepping back in time.
Beng Mealea Temple
Located outside the main Angkor Wat complex, Beng Mealea temple is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Covered in vegetation and partially collapsed, this temple offers a sense of adventure and discovery. Visitors can wander through its overgrown corridors and marvel at the untouched beauty.
Banteay Srei Temple
Banteay Srei Temple, built in the 10th century, is a masterpiece of Khmer architecture in Cambodia. It was constructed by the artisans under the patronage of the Rajendravarman II and Jayavarman V. This enchanting temple is best known for its intricate and delicate carvings, showcasing the remarkable skill and craftsmanship of the ancient Khmer people. Visitors are captivated by the temple’s stunning pink sandstone walls adorned with elaborate motifs and exquisite details, making it a must-see destination for travelers and photographers alike.
The magnificent Ta Keo Temple, built in the 10th century, stands as a testament to the mastery and grandeur of ancient Khmer architecture. Constructed by King Jayavarman V, this stunning temple is best known for its towering five-tiered pyramid structure, rising high into the sky. The intricate carvings and intricate details adorning its walls and pillars make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, photographers, and travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.
Pre Rup Temple, built in the 10th century, is a magnificent Hindu temple located in Angkor, Cambodia. It was constructed by King Rajendravarman II, a powerful ruler of the Khmer Empire. Pre Rup Temple is best known for its stunning red brick and sandstone architecture, which offers a captivating blend of intricate carvings and grandeur. Visitors are often mesmerized by its soaring towers and the breathtaking views it offers, especially during sunrise and sunset, making it a favorite spot for travelers and photographers alike.
Prasat Kravan Temple, built in the 10th century, is a stunning Hindu temple located in Cambodia. It was constructed by King Harshavarman I, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. This beautiful temple is primarily known for its unique red brick construction and intricate bas-reliefs that adorn the interior walls. Prasat Kravan Temple is a must-visit destination for travelers and photographers who are captivated by ancient architecture and the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.
Neak Pean Temple, built in the 12th century, is a captivating structure located in Angkor, Cambodia. Constructed by King Jayavarman VII, this unique temple is renowned for its symbolic representation of a mythical lake. Neak Pean Temple is best known for its mystical aura and picturesque beauty, attracting travelers and photographers alike.
What are the best photography spots in the Angkor Wat complex?
The Angkor Wat complex offers numerous breathtaking photography spots. Some popular ones include the iconic sunrise view over Angkor Wat itself, the intricate carvings in the Bayon Temple, and the mesmerizing tree roots engulfing Ta Prohm Temple.
What is the recommended clothing for visiting the Angkor Wat complex?
It is advisable to wear respectful attire when visiting the Angkor Wat complex. This includes covering your shoulders and knees. Loose, comfortable clothing, such as lightweight pants or skirts, and breathable tops, will help you navigate the temples and stay cool in the Cambodian climate.
What are the opening times of the Angkor Wat complex?
The Angkor Wat complex is open to visitors from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. However, it’s important to note that specific temples within the complex may have different opening and closing times. It’s a good idea to check the official website or consult with local guides for the latest information on individual temples.
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