9 Most Fascinating Temples In Siem Reap, Cambodia
Seeing the magnificent temples in Cambodia has always been a dream of mine. When I was planning my trip in southeast Asia, I knew I can't miss an the opportunity to make this dream a reality. I have always been curious about their amazing ruins and their history so it was definitely a must visit for me.
It wasn't hard trying to pick a city I would like to visit in Cambodia. Siem Reap is undoubtedly Cambodia's fastest growing city, and serves as a gateway town to the world famous destination of Angkor temples. Though Siem Reap isn't as develop as the other cities around the world, it has definitely transformed itself into a major tourist hub. Siem Reap International Airport was very small. As an American, I needed a visa to visit the country which was very easy to get online. Just make sure you print out two copies and staple them inside your passport before your arrival. Black and white is okay.
(A very confusing money situation here. Though they DO accept American dollars. Just a little too late for me when I found out. Make sure you have a lot of small bills. Food is very cheap and so is everything else! )
There are a variety of hotels available depending on your budget. I made sure to pick a location close to town and to the Angkor temples. Since I was traveling to multiple countries and destinations, I had to make sure I pick a hotel within the price range I would like to spend. I must say, I had an incredible stay to all the hotels I stayed at during my entire trip.
Angkor was the historic capital of the Khmer Empire and the temples surrounding it are absolutely stunning. It is filled with incredible architecture as well as culture. It was truly an experience I will never forget. It's a very big area to explore, so I wanted to give you guys a short description of some of the temples that are truly a must see. I've also visited a few pretty temples near by but I only wanted to focus on the ones I truly enjoyed.
Where to get your ticket?
I paid for a private tour guide so I was alone with my guide the whole entire time along with a driver. They took me to the only place where you can purchase your ticket from to be able to enter each checkpoints. They accept cash or credit cards, even American dollars. It's a must to hold on to your ticket very carefully due to without it, you will not be permitted to visit the other sights and temples on every checkpoints. The ticket cost me less than $30 and the ticket office is 20 minutes away from the temples so it is very important to make sure you have it with you at all times.
9 MOST FASCINATING TEMPLES IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
1. The Angkor Wat
The absolute spot to be when visiting Cambodia. Being one of the world's largest religious sites in the world, there will always be a crowd of people everywhere. It is also known to be the best example of Khmer architecture in the world. If you want to see the Angkor Wat without the hassle of dealing with so many people, I highly suggest to visit during sunrise at 5 in the morning. You will be able to get a few amazing shots and view of the Angkor Wat.
P.S It is a religious site so be mindful of their religious rules and customs. Cover up when visiting the temple.
The monks doing their prayer surrounding the Angkor Wat was quite incredible for me to witness. I even got to meet a few young monks and was prayed and blessed by one as well!
2. Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom means "Great City". It was the last great capital of the Khmer empire. It was built in part as a reaction to the surprise sacking of Angkor by the Chams. The gates each feature a tower topped by four huge faces, similar to those at the Bayon temple. The most fascinating way to enter Angkor Thom is through the south gate that consists of 54 gods and 54 demons depicting parts of the popular Hindu legend, "The Churning of the Ocean of Milk".
(A mini market before the entrance of Angkor Thom)
(The Evil and the Gods before the entrance of the gate)
(Inside the gate)
(I swear we told these people to move multiple times but I guess they didn't hear?! BUT this doesn't stop me from posting this amazing picture of the Angkor Thom!)
3. The Bayon Temple
Okay, the Bayon Temple was a sight! So much details, so much history, and was so so beautiful! The Bayon Temple is about 600 to 700 years old and was built for a Mahayana Buddhist King. When you visit, it's a must to check out some of their upper terraces where many of the stone faces have been carved. Also, pay attention to the outer walls and the stone carvings that shows a good piece of information about their story and history.
(It was so majestic!)
4. The Baphuon
The Baphuon is one stunning temple-mountain that is a must see. It's a tall temple with steep staircases and it's situated within the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Climb on the top to see the most beautiful views! If you have plenty of time to explore, visit a smaller and similar temple called Phimeanakas.
5. Ta Prohm
I was so excited visiting Ta Prohm because I wanted to see the growing trees surrounding the temple. It was so unique and beautiful! Ta Prohm was originally named Rajavihara. It was built 700 years ago and still stands as an incredible Bayon-style temple. Its appeal lies in the fact that it has been swallowed by the jungle and the largest trees ar eleft in place making Ta Prohm a unique place to experience. Don't forget to explore the mini sculptures (bas-reliefs) that adorn the walls. If you want to avoid the crowd, make sure to head here later in the day.
6. Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei was originally called as Tribhuvanamaheśvara, meaning "citadel of beauty". It was built for the Hindu god of Shiva and is almost 1,000 years old and was found during 20th century. It can be found 18 miles away from the other temples. It was considered to be the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art that includes of the finest stone carving on Earth.
7. The Garuda's of Preah Khan
The temple was built in 12th century and truly one of the most beautiful temple to explore in Angkor. Wander the inner sanctions of the temple and find the House of Fire. The outer wall of the temple contain over 70 Garuda's (a legendary and mythical creature) that protects the temple.
8. Ta Keo
Ta Keo was built as the state temple of Jayavarman V., son of Rajendravarman, who built the Pre Rup temple. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu god of Shiva. The climb to the top of the temple is very steep, but the view is well worth it.
9. Pre Rup
Pre Rup is like a mini Angkor Wat. It was built as the state temple of King Rajendravarman in 961.
It was the second temple built after the capital was returned to Angkor from Koh Ker after a period of political upheaval. Pre Rup is made of gray sandstone, which is a less durable material than the pink sandstone of some of the other temples at Angkor. As such, time and weather haven’t served the temple well and many of the complex carvings and details have been worn away by rain and erosion. It’s a crumbling temple but still magnificent in size and structure.
Here are a list of some of the small temples you can explore if you have time to spare. I briefly explored them due to they were very similar to the bigger temples yet, still beautiful.
My trip in Cambodia was so much fun. The people were so nice and very friendly as well. I had an amazing time watching their cultural show as long as tasting some of their most amazing local traditional dishes.
(This flower <33)
Cambodia has a tropical climate and there are two season in Cambodia, wet and dry season. The hottest to visit Cambodia is from February to April, rainy season is from July to October, and the best time to visit is from December to January.
Hope this post helps you decide the time you would like to spend when you visit Siem Reap!
Thanks for stopping by! :)