Angkor Temple Complex - temples and sightseeing routes

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Inspection routes

If you are starting to inspect the Angkor Temple complex for the first time, then its scale and variety of temples can make your head spin and you can just get confused. Indeed, there are so many temples and they are located so chaotically that it is not clear what to see first and what can be missed. Let's figure it out a bit.

To begin with, let me remind you once again that the temples of Angkor are inspected from Siem Reap city. There are no hotels in the temples themselves and between them, it is also forbidden to stay in a tent on the territory of temples and near them. Therefore, it is necessary to stay at the hotel in Siem Reap, and from there to start your daily "trips to temples".

There are several "standard" routes depending on the number of days you spend exploring the complex. They are developed by time and practice, and include all the most interesting things. You may well choose one of these options. It is for them that taxi drivers and tuk-tukers usually work in Siem Reap, so if you have difficulties, they themselves will offer you a lot of options to choose from.

Well, if you are not satisfied with any of the proposed routes, you can make your own and mark it on the map. To do this, you should read the descriptions of the temples of Angkor below in advance, and choose the most interesting ones for yourself.

Below are options for ready-made routes from guidebooks, which are most often offered by taxi drivers and tuk-tukers of Siem Reap, and next to each temple its rating is "interesting" according to one of the guidebooks:

- be sure to visit;
- worth a visit;
is an unremarkable landmark

Half-day tour

One-day tour

  • Angkor Thom
  • Ta Prohm
  • Pre Rup (Pre Rup)
  • Angkor Wat
  • Sunset meeting at Phnom Bakheng

Two-day tour

  • The first day repeats the route of a one-day tour

  • The second day

    • Option A
    • Option B
      • Meeting the dawn in Angkor Wat (Angkor Wat)
      • Preah Kahn
      • Victory Gate
      • Tommanon
      • Parsat Kravan (Prasat Kravan)
      • Rolous Group
    • Option C
      • Meeting the dawn in Angkor Wat (Angkor Wat)
      • Preah Kahn
      • Neak Pean
      • Ta Som (Ta Som)
      • Parsat Kravan (Prasat Kravan)
      • Rolous Group

Three-day route

  • Day One

    • Angkor Thom
    • Tommanon
    • Ta Keo (Ta Keo)
    • View and meet the sunset at Angkor Wat (Angkor Wat)
  • Day two

    • Meeting the dawn in Angkor Wat (Angkor Wat)
    • Baksei Chamkrong
    • Preah Kahn
    • Neak Pean
    • Ta Som (Ta Som)
    • Pre Rup (Pre Rup)
    • Rolous Group
    • Sunset meeting at Phnom Bakheng
  • Day three

    • Banteay Srey
    • Banteay Samre
    • East Mebon
    • Parsat Kravan (Prasat Kravan)
    • Banteay Kdei (Bateay Kdei)
    • Srah Srang
    • Sunset meeting in Angkor Wat

Special characteristics of temples

If you are interested in special places of note in temples, here is a small list for you.

Trees growing from the ruins:

  • Ta Prohm
  • Banteay Kdei (Bateay Kdei)
  • Ta Som (Ta Som)

Giant faces carved out of stone:

  • Bayon (Bayon) inside Angkor Tom
  • Angkor Thom Gates
  • Banteay Kdei (Bateay Kdei)
  • Ta Prohm
  • Preah Kahn

Detailed, well-preserved bas-reliefs (reznina)

  • Angkor Wat
  • Banteay Srey
  • Bayon (Bayon) inside Angkor Thom
  • Bakong (Bakong)
  • Terrace of the Leper King (Terrace of the Leper King) inside Angkor Thom

Meeting the dawn

  • Angkor Wat

Sunset Meeting

  • Phnom Bakheng and Angkor Wat

Brief descriptions of the temples of Angkor

Angkor Wat

Main view of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat means "temple city" in Khmer. This is the most popular and famous object of the entire Angkor temple complex.

Angkor Wat is a part of the temple complex of Angkor in the Hindu style, which was the ancient capital of Cambodia until the XV century. To date, it has been preserved better than other temples located on the territory of the city of Angkor. Angkor Wat Temple is even depicted on the national flag of Cambodia.

The temple was built in the period from 1113 to 1150 during the reign of King Suryavarman II (posthumous name – Paramavishnulok) and, according to one version, was built as a tomb for him.

In 1351 and 1431, Siamese troops captured the city of Angkor. During the last invasion, the city was looted and fell into disrepair. The inhabitants left it, only the monks remained.

Since 1992, the Angkor Wat temple as part of the Angkor complex has been recognized as a world cultural heritage and taken under the protection of UNESCO. The specialists of this organization ensure the protection of the complex, its restoration and preservation, thanks to which, today you can see this creation of Khmer architects. Angkor Wat is one of the main attractions of Cambodia.

In order to protect the monument, a special access regime has been established for the upper tier of Angkor Wat since 2010. From now on, no more than 100 people can stay there at the same time, and the stay time is limited to half an hour. The new rules prohibit children, the elderly and those with disabilities from climbing to the top, which was previously practically not controlled. Strict requirements for clothing: shoulders and knees must be covered. During Buddhist holidays, the upper gallery is now closed to the public...

Details about Angkor Wat...

Angkor Thom

The second level of the Bayon

Angkor Tom means "big city" in Khmer. It deserves special attention and ranks second in popularity in the entire Angkor Temple complex, after Angkor Wat, largely due to Bayon, a mountain temple with carved faces.

Angkor Tom is part of the Angkor Temple complex, was built in Bayon style and is dedicated to Buddhism.

The city occupies a large area and consisted of more than a hundred temples and various buildings:

Angkor Thom was built in the late XII – early XIII centuries during the reign of Jayavarman VII (Jayavarman VII) from 1181 to 1220 and became the capital of the Khmer state until the XV century. Previously, the former capital, Yashodharapura, was located on this territory, however, after the attack of the Chams (Tyams) in 1177, the city was very badly destroyed. In this connection, it was decided to build a new capital, not far from the destroyed one. Therefore, not all temples on the territory of Angkor Thom were built by Jayavarman VII: Pimeanakas and Bapuon remained from the former rulers. Jayavarman VII himself was a very revered ruler, he brought into the lives of his subjects a new religion – Mahayana Buddhism, the symbol of worship of which was the Buddha.

The population of the capital was about a million people. The territory of the city was divided by axial roads into four equal parts, each of which had its own purpose. For example, in the north-western part there was a Royal Palace, in the north-eastern part there lived the king's family, his entourage, priests, the south–western part was given over to a beautiful park, and in the south-eastern part there were markets and various administrative buildings. There were commoners living outside the city wall. All residential buildings and some buildings were built of wood, so they have not survived to our time, the same fate befell the Royal Palace, only the stone base behind the Terrace of Elephants remained of it.

The symbolism of Angkor Thom is based on the legend of churning The ocean of milk displayed on one of the panels of Angkor Wat (in the southern wing of the eastern gallery). This legend tells about the process of creation of the world, in which gods and demons take part (their sculptures are located at the gates of Angkor Thom). They hold in their hands a serpent entwining the sacred mount Meru (Bayon, located in the center of the city, was identified with it), personifying the center of the world, and alternately pull on themselves, setting the mountain in motion, that is, churning the Ocean, from which the nectar of immortality (amrita) is subsequently released.

Details about Angkor Tom...

Ta Prohm

Angkor: Ta Prom

Ta Prohm (Ta Prom, Ta Prum, Ta Prohm, Taprom) means "ancestor of Brahma" in Khmer. However, initially its name is referred to as Rajavihara (Royal Monastery). It is a Buddhist temple complex and is part of the structure of the city of Angkor.

It was dedicated and erected in honor of the mother of King Jayavarman VII in 1186. It reached its greatest heyday by the XIII century., more than 12 thousand people lived here, but, like the whole city of Angkor, in the middle of the XV century destroyed by Siamese troops and abandoned.

The clearing of the complex was started in the 20s of the XIX century. However, the specialists who carried out the restoration of the Temple decided not to radically change the appearance of the temple and its surroundings. Therefore, today it is the only temple "absorbed" by the jungle, the walls and towers of which entangled the roots of trees, and this was done deliberately. That is why it, along with Bayon, is considered the most popular place for pilgrims visiting Angkor. Ta Prom became very famous among tourists after filming the movie with Angelina Jolie "Lara Croft. Tomb raider". In honor of this event, the Cambodians unofficially renamed it the Angelina Jolie Temple.

Details about Ta Prom...

Banteay Kdei

Banteay Kday

Banteay Kdei means "citadel of cells" in Khmer and is a Buddhist temple complex. It is part of the structure of the huge city of Angkor.

The construction was carried out under King Jayavarman VII (Jayavarman VII) from the middle of the XII to the beginning of the XIII century, presumably on the site of the temple that had already existed since the X century. The clearing of the complex was started in the 20s of the XIX century, and despite this, up to 1960, a small group of monks lived here. To date, Banteay Kdey is not in the best condition, largely due to the use of bad sandstone during construction. Everywhere you can see wooden beams, which support various parts of the collapsing building.

Details about Banteay Kdey...

Chau Say Tevoda

Chau Sei Tewoda Temple

The temple of Chau Sei Tewoda resembles the architecture of Angkor Wat and looks similar to the neighboring Thommanon. Dedicated to Hinduism.

The period of construction dates back to the end of the XI – beginning of the XII centuries and belongs to Suryavarman II (Suryavarman II). The cleaning of the temple territory began in the 20s of the XIX century, and in 2009 it was significantly reconstructed.

The road to Chau Sei Tewoda Temple runs from Angkor Thom through the Victory Gate, from which you will have to walk or drive about 500 m. Head east on the dirt road and then turn right. If you move from Tommanon, you need to go south, crossing the road, about 100 meters. See Chau Sei Tewoda on the map of Angkor

After the work carried out to restore the temple, completed in 2009, today it is in good condition and deserves a visit, however, if you have already been to Tommanon, then you can skip the Chau Se Tewoda. This is probably why there are usually few visitors here, but this does not affect the trading activities of the locals, who are actively fighting to lure money from tourists.

You can take no more than 30 minutes to inspect the Chow Sei Tewoda. The time of the visit is morning or evening.

In detail about Chow Sei Tewoda...



Thommanon, Tomanon is a small temple that is part of the Angkor city complex. Some sources consider it in unity with the temple of Chau Say Tevoda, because they are similar and built in the same style, and are located a hundred meters on top of each other.

The construction of the temple is attributed to the period of construction of Angkor Wat, approximately the middle of the XII – early XIII centuries and belongs to Suryavarman II (Suryavarman II). The work on cleaning the temple began in the 20s of the XIX century, and in the 60s it was restored and is now in a better condition compared to some of the temples of Angkor. The bas-reliefs and structures of Tommanon look great.

The temple is dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu.

You can get to Tommanon from Angkor Thom by following the Victory Gate, from which you will have to walk or drive about 600 meters to the east on a dirt road. The temple will be on the left side, but it will not be possible to pass by, because there are always a lot of merchants who are very intrusive. See Thommanon on the map of Angkor

Details about Thommanon...

Srah Srang

Sra Srang

Srah Srang is an artificial reservoir that served as a bathhouse for King Jayavarman VII and his family, was created in the middle of the X – late XII centuries. Its dimensions are impressive and are about 750 m by 350 m. It is located to the east of the temple Banteay Kdei, and it is worth combining his visit with a tour of the latter. After passing through the eastern gate of Banteay Kdey, the road will lead directly to the stairs leading to the pool platform, framed by naga figures, with three descents to the water See Srang Srang on the map of Angkor. The view from here is quite picturesque, so those who wish can meet the dawn here. According to some reports, during the dry season, you can even see the remains of a small temple in the center of the pool.

It is worth allocating up to 15 minutes to inspect the Sra Srang pool. The best time to take photos is earlier in the morning.

Details about Sra Srang...

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