Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. The place is absolutely impressive and transports you to another reality.
Angkor Archaeological Park includes magnificent remains of different capitals of Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. It stretches over 155 mi² which makes this place quite hard to explore in a short period of time.
If you don’t have much time, it’s good to have a plan what temples should be visit first. Have a look on the list of my favorite temples in Angkor:
- Angkor Wat
It’s a centerpiece of a visit to the temples of Angkor. It’s a massive three-tiered pyramid crowned by five lotus-like towers. It has 65 meters from a ground level, which makes it the largest temple in the complex.
Taking pictures with Angkor Wat at the sunrise or sunset is very popular so you probably need to wait a long time in the crowd to have your chance to take a perfect shot (for more tips about visiting the temples click here).
What I like the most in this place are the architectural details you can find inside the temple. They are a masterpiece of decoration.
The temple is well known for its giant stone faces, which look out in different directions. Those faces have become one of the most recognizable images of classic Khmer art and architecture.
There are 216 faces on the temples’ towers. Whom the faces may represent is still under discussion but probably they show the images of gods, demons and kings.
The temple looks mysteriously. However, it’s not very big so try to avoid going there in peak hours, because you won’t be able to move. It will destroy your impressions (check out the section ‘When to go there’ here).
- Ta Prohm
We all know the famous movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie and the scene when she is walking around the Cambodian temple. It was Ta Phrom. This is a jungle temple, where you can find the characteristic twisted trees around the stones.
It looks magical, almost like you play in the movie next to Angelina. On the other hand, the temple seems to be destroyed and neglected.
My favorite thing about this place is that you can observe a fascinating power of nature. Trees and other plants are much more powerful than work of humans. It’s a lesson of humility.
- Banteay Kdei
The architectural style of this temple is a small reflection of Ta Prohm. That’s why I like it.
When I visited this temple, it was absolutely empty, except a young Cambodian painter.
The building itself consists of two galleries, where you can sit for a while and contemplate the place.
If you feel like to escaping the crowd and have some time for yourself, this is a perfect place.
Last but not least, the place to avoid…
- Phnom Bakheng
This place is not only a temple, but also a hill with the view of whole Angkor area. That’s what I was said. I’ve heard many recommendations about the view, as a must see. Well, I went there, made 20 minutes up the hill walking in 95ºF and full sun. Then, I went up the steep stairs to see… nothing special. The only thing you can see without a professional zoom is a bunch of trees. If I were in your shoes, I would skip it.