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Angkor was the historic capital of the impressive Khmer Empire, sitting within the city of Siem Reap, it has become one epic place to explore. Filled with incredible architecture, Khmer Culture and, of course, beautiful temples – it is easily a must-see place when visiting this incredible country.
I remember, when we lived in Singapore, we’d always ‘ummm and ahhh’ over where to visit next and cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap would always pop straight into our heads.
Perched a little east of Bangkok, Thailand and a little west of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam – Angkor is pretty easy to reach (especially if you’re already travelling to Siem Reap, obviously).
Take a look at some of the best temples you have to explore when visiting. I’m pretty sure, Angkor Wat will likely be high on your list (and rightly so), but there’s so much more you’ll want to discover! 🇰🇭
1.) See the sunrise Angkor Wat
No trip to Siem Reap would be complete without a visit to Angkor Wat. Yep, you might find it a little crowded (at certain times) but being one of the world’s largest religious sites you shouldn’t feel too overwhelmed. Now, if you’re not an early riser, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit – Angkor Wat is incredible at any point of the day and a must-see when you’re in Siem Reap.
It’s probably one of the best-known examples of Khmer architecture across the world and a place that really does look as beautiful as the photos. As with any visit to a religious site, don’t forget to follow local customs and rules on covering your body when entering.
For one of the best sunset spots of Angkor Wat, head over to Phnom Bakheng where you’ll get an epic view. Also, If you’re looking for a slightly different perspective to admire Angkor Wat, head over to the outer enclosure, west wall area.
2,) Explore the ruins of Ta Prohm
Originally named Rajavihara, Ta Prohm was built a whopping 700 years ago and still stands as an incredible Bayon-style temple. Although in ruins, the temple still stands proudly (even if a few mighty trees have begun to take hold), Take a wander around the temple, see the gorgeous bas-reliefs (a mini sculpture) that adorn the walls.
It’s easy to see why this temple is really popular. If you want to miss most of the crowds, make sure to head here later in the day.
3.) Visit the Bayon Temple
crafted for a Mahayana Buddhist King, the Bayon Temple is around 600-700 years old. Make sure you take a look at some of the upper terraces where many of the stone faces have been carved – they really are too beautiful to miss.
When wandering around, make sure to pay close attention to the outer walls and gallery, you’ll find a whole story being told by the stone carvings that adorn them.
Keep your eyes peeled for the carving where a massive fish is eating is eating a deer that’s perched on the walls of the western gallery.
4.) See the Garuda’s of Preah Khan
Built in the 12th-Century, Preah Khan is one beautiful temple to explore. The outer walls of the temple contain over 70 Garuda’s (a legendary and mythical creature) that would protect the temple.
Wander the inner sanctions of the temple and find the House of Fire that features in quite a few of the temples.
5.) Discover the Citadel of Beauty, Banteay Srei
Built for the Hindu god of Shiva, Banteay Srei is almost 1,000 years old. Perched a little further from the main ‘cluster’ of temples, Banteay Srei is about 25 km (18 miles) away.
Originally called Tribhuvanamaheśvara but later become known as Banteay Srei that loosely translates to the ‘citadel of beauty’.
After many hundreds of years of being ‘lost’, Banteay Srei was once again discovered in the early 20th-Century. It really is a special temple to visit.
6.) See the gorgeous temple of Pre Rup
Almost 1,00 years of, Pre Rup is a temple that is believed to have been used for historic funerals and passing ceremonies and an important site for Cambodians.
Situated a little south of East Baray, the temple is a gorgeous place to see. Make sure to explore the terminal pyramid, gaze at the central tower and wander around the central Prasat. It really is beautiful.
7.) See the sacred tree at Ta Som
Although small, the temple of Ta Som is one that’s not to be missed. This intimate, single shrine has been overtaken by a sacred fig tree that’s chosen to call this temple home.
Wander through from the east and enjoy the many carvings and gates to the temple.
8.) Explore the Hindu and Buddhist temple, Phnom Bakheng
Built well over 1,000 years ago, Phnom Bakheng is one stunning temple you should definitely visit. Although lots of travellers visit here to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat, it’s a gorgeous place to visit in its own right. The temple itself was created as a representation of Mount Meru, the centre of all universes both physical and spiritual.
Don’t forget to spend some time exploring the central tower of the temple too.
9.) Wander around Baphuon
Situated within the ancient city of Angkor Thom, Baphuon is one stunning temple-mountain you have to see. Although the temple is in ruins, it’s still worth going to see. After a lengthy bout of time, the structure has now been made safe for us visitors to explore, make sure to head inside and admire the beauty of the inner parts of the temple.
10.) Find the beautiful, Banteay Samré
Banteay Samré is a stunning Hindu temple that you should definitely see when visiting Angkor, Similar in style to Angkor Wat, it’s a beautiful temple that was lovingly restored in the mid 20th Century. Walk along the long walkway to the temple and spend some time exploring the central tower.
The temple itself tends to be much quieter than the likes of Angkor Wat and you might even have the place to yourself!