Attractions to explore near Angkor Wat
Largest religious monument in the world originally constructed early 12th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire. It was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
The Baksei Chamkrong is a 10th century temple found near the Angkor Thom South gate. The very steep pyramidal temple topped with a single prasat tower was built as a Hindu sanctuary dedicated to Shiva. It was built by Harshavarman I in the early 10th century. It is now one of the main attractions in Cambodia.
Phnom Bakheng, the state temple of the first Khmer capital in the Angkor region, survives as one of the world’s greatest architectural treasures. The Temple of Phnom Bakheng was constructed between the late ninth and the early tenth century by Yasovarman I as the centerpiece of his new capital, known as Yasodharapura.
The Bayon Temple is one of the more famous, popular, and beautiful of the structures in the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. Situated just to the north of Angkor Wat itself, the temple was once at the center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. It's sometimes called Jayavarman's Temple, in honor of the Khmer king who ordered its construction. It's best known for its many towers with gently smiling faces on each side.
Ta Prohm Temple is a very popular part in a typical Angkor tour. It's the only major stop that wasn't fully reclaimed from the jungle. Many of the walls and structures have been smothered by huge silk-cotton trees and strangler figs, which grow over, around, and through the ancient stone blocks. These trees both hold the ruins together and cause them to collapse.
Prasat Suor Prat is a 12th-century group of 12 towers built by King Jayavarman. The name translates as “The towers of the tight-rope dancers” in English. It’s believed that the towers were used to support a high wire which was stretched between them. The towers are located right in front of the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants.
Prasat Kravan is a 10th-century Hindu temple which was originally dedicated to Vishnu. There are five brick towers that are oriented to the east and surrounded by a small moat. Unusually, the temple wasn’t built by the king, instead, it was constructed by high ranking officials during the reign of King Harshavarman I or Ishanavarman II. Prasat Kravan is in pretty good condition and its symmetry and lines make for a great photo opportunity.
Baphuon is a beautiful 11th century “temple-mountain” with steep stairs leading visitors to a terrace which offers one of the best views in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Archaeologists believe that this pyramid-style temple, located within the city of Angkor Thom, was probably among the most impressive of the Angkor temples in its day.
Chau Say Tevoda was built somewhere between 1120 and 1150AD by King Suryavarman II. This smallish, graceful Hindu temple has a central sanctuary, 2 libraries and 4 gopuras (towers) which are at the 4 cardinal points on the compass. To the north is Thommanon Temple, which has a similar design and floor plan to Chau Say Tevoda.
The Terrace of the Elephants is part of the walled city of Angkor Thom, a ruined temple complex in Cambodia. The terrace was used by Angkor's king Jayavarman VII as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army. It was attached to the palace of Phimeanakas, of which only a few ruins remain. Most of the original structure was made of organic material and has long since disappeared. Most of what remains are the foundation platforms of the complex.
Phimeanakas – sometimes called Vimeanakas – is a large, 3-tiered pyramid of laterite and sandstone construction. It used to be the tallest climbable temple in Angkor Thom, where a stairway on the western or backside of the temple affording the easiest way to climb to the top, from which you would get a good view of the surrounding area. While lacking the impressive carvings of other Angkor structures, and with the stairway now closed, it was one of the wonders in Cambodia.
Ta Keo is one of the biggest temples built during the Khmer Empire and it was built a couple of hundred years before Angkor Wat temple. It was built as the state temple for Jayavarman V and he started construction in 975 AD. Unusually, the temple was never finished. There are many stories as to why Ta Keo was never completed, but nobody knows the real reason. Nowadays, It is quite a popular temple with visitors because of its sheer size – five sanctuary towers sit on top of a 22m stepped pyrami
Banteay Kdei, meaning “A Citadel of Chambers”, also known as “Citadel of Monks’ cells”, is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. Built-in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII, it is in the Bayon architectural style and it is now one of the great attractions in Cambodia.
Thommanon is one of a pair of Hindu temples built during the reign of Suryavarman II at Angkor, Cambodia. This small and elegant temple is located east of the Gate of Victory of Angkor Thom and north of Chau Say Tevoda. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Now, this temple is also a tourist attraction.
Preah Palilay is a small temple structure located just north of Phimeanakas in Angkor Thom. It contains elements from both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is famous for its unique structure, the surrounding thick jungle, 7-headed nagas, and headless guards create an eerie-feel. Nowadays it is one of the most visited attractions in Cambodia.
This 10th Century reservoir is a magical setting for its visitors, who admire a serene sunrise from its cross-shaped, laterite landing stage. Under the watchful eye of two lion guardian statues, enjoy the view of the reservoir, which has remained at least partially flooded since its heyday in King Rajendravarman II’s rule.
Prasat Ta Nei is a late 12th Century stone temple located in Angkor, Cambodia. Built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, it is located near the northwest corner of the East Baray, a large holy reservoir. It was dedicated to the Buddha. It was built under King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century.
Angkor National Museum is a must-visit attraction in Siem Reap if you’re looking to learn about the ancient Khmer civilization and Angkorian temples. Located along with Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, this 2-story museum houses 8 galleries with over 1,000 artifacts that are categorized according to era, religion, and royalty.
Preah Khan temple is located in the Angkor Archaeological Park and is still largely unrestored. It is one of the larger temple complexes within the historic park. Preah Khan translates to “Holy Sword” in Khmer, named by Jayavarman VII in honor of his battle victory against the invading force of Chams, who belonged to a kingdom in what is now Vietnam, in the year 1191.
The Pre Rup was the state temple of King Rajendravarman II. It is a mountain temple built in the year 961, located just south of the large East Baray and the East Mebon, another mountain temple build by Rajendravarman II just 9 years earlier. In the early 20th century the Pre Rup had been completely overgrown and covered with soil. The temple was excavated during the 1930s and now it is one of the prime attractions in Cambodia.
Neak Pean is small and a collection of five ponds, it is worth a visit for its unique features. It is believed to have been consecrated to Buddha coning to the glory of Nirvana. It is one of the temples that make one dream of the olden days of luxury and beauty.