Angkor Archaeological Park is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is said to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, with millions of local and international tourists flocking there each year. Angkor Archaeological Park features the remains of several capitals of the Khmer empire from the 9th to 15thcenturies. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, with many steps being taken to conserve these glorious temples. If you only had one day to spend at Angkor Archaeological Park, these are the temples we high recommend you visit.
The iconic Angkor Wat was built under the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Originally dedicated to the Hindu God, Vishnu, it made the transition to a temple to worship Buddhism later in the same century. From the outer enclosure, it is difficult to comprehend just how large this structure is. However, as you walk down the long path to the central structure, it begins to hit you just how magnificent and immense Angkor Wat truly is. The upper level of Angkor Wat (also known as the Bakan Sanctuary), opens at 7:30am, so to avoid the queues it is best to get there early.
Also known as the ‘Tomb Raider temple’, Ta Prohm is known for its jungle surroundings and trees growing out of the temple ruins. Originally known as Rajavihara (the monastery of the King), the temple was built by King Jayavarman VII to honour his family. The site was home to an impressive 12,500 people until its abandonment in the 15th century.
Srah Srang was the Royal bathing pool that was built in the mid 10th century. Depending on what time of year you visit, it may be full of water that sparkles in the midday sun, or it could look like a container of broken, caked blush. Either way, it is worth a visit as you can sit and relax with a drink or a snack, enabling you to take a break from all the exercise you are doing during the day!
Situated across from Srah Srang, this temple is often overlooked, but definitely shouldn’t be! Banteay Kdei, translated to ‘A Citadel of Chambers’, consists of four enclosures on one level. Many structures are fitted into a small space, meaning you could spend a good hour looking around! Banteay Kdei is currently undergoing renovation, so although you won’t be able to see it in its full glory, this monastic complex is definitely worth a visit.
Impressive from afar, and even more impressive up close. Bayon is known for its multiple smiling stone faces, which adorn the towers on its upper terrace. On the lower level you can spend a fair amount of time engrossing yourself in the two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which show mythological and historical scenes in detail. This is a great temple to visit to end your trip to Angkor Wat on a high.