Put simply, the Angkor temples should be on everyone’s bucket lists! Millions of tourists flock to the Angkor temples every year and spend hours/days exploring them. The site is considered one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world. So what are the Angkor temples? And why are we this certain that they should it be on your bucket list? Take a read of the below to find out why….
Situated within the North West corner of Cambodia is the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can find the Angkor temples.
These are a complex of magnificent temples scattered around dense forests and standing proudly high above the paddy fields with Angkor Wat being famed to be the most incredible of them all.
As well as being a beautiful site, the history of the temples is also something to note. Built in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom, and its beauty and state of preservation is something to behold.
The site stretches over 400km2, and contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th century, including the famous Angkor Wat, the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm; all examples of an exceptional civilization.
The architecture and layout of the successive capitals within the site exemplifies the Khmer Empire’s levels of social order and ranking, making Angkor an example of the Empire’s cultural, symbolic, historical and religious values.
Holly, Asia Specialist
“For an awe-inspiring experience, (and some envious photos) rise in the early hours of the morning, and share one of the best sunrises you’ll ever see over one of the most beautiful temples in the world – Angkor Wat. “
After you’ve taken your incredible set of photos, have your breakfast in one of the many on site cafes and continue exploring – you will not want to stop!
A lot of tourists come specifically for sunrise and then go back to bed, so if you stay you could have the site pretty much to yourself.
Once the sun has risen, it’s time to explore Angkor Wat. Make sure you check out the Gallery of 1,000 Buddhas, (Preah Pean), sit on a ledge on the second level and enjoy the view of the main towers, and climb the incredibly steep stairs to the third level to take in the spectacular views 50m above the ground.
Trust me, you won’t want to come back down. Once you’ve braved the descent from the third level, take a look at the bas-relief on the outer walls, and explore the monastery, south causeway and the library.
If you ever decide you’ve finished exploring Angkor Wat, head straight onto Angkor Thom – the ancient city that reached a population of 1 million in the 12th century.
There are three main temples you need to see: The Bayon temple with its 54 faces carved into the rock, the Baphuon, where you can climb a very steep staircase and be rewarded by a serious sense of accomplishment, and finally the terrace of Elephants, where the King once made proclamations to the people.
Next, explore Ta Prohm to ignite the Indiana Jones in you. The temples are invaded by tree roots which only extenuates the historicism of the site.
Top tip: try and find a tree root where you won’t be sharing your photo with a family of seven, look for a hidden one in a corner.
If at this point you’re not feeling ‘templed out’, there are many more temples to visit, so do use this time to take in the full scope of architectural styles that the site has to offer. None will disappoint!