The Angkor Archeological Park stretching across 400 kilometers situated just outside of Siem Reap is home to over hundreds of ruin temples. The Angkor Temples were abandoned for centuries until the efforts of restoration was made and now open to millions of increasing tourists each year.
The site is usually visited in two different type of tours: the small circuit which can be done in one day and the grand circuit for another day or two. We did the two-day private tour visiting the temples included in the small and grand circuit. The Angkor temples have their individual characteristics that made me hard to choose which ones are my favorite. But here are the top five unique temples you shouldn’t miss during your visit.
Being the biggest temple in the world and famous spot for watching sunrise, Angkor Wat is undoubtedly on top of my list. But does anybody visit Siem Reap without seeing Angkor Wat? It has been on my bucket list for so long and by the time that I got to see it for my own eyes, it just left me speechless.
An extraordinary building that has towers and beautiful architectures with large bas-reliefs and multiple devatas on its walls, it’s amazing how man made this huge temple to perfection centuries ago and still being preserved up to this day.
Situated 25 kilometers northeast and smaller from the main temples but certainly one of the best. Most people don’t make it all the way here as part of their tour but can also get crowded sometimes. Majority of the temple structures are made of solid red sandstone giving it a unique pinkish color.
Most parts of the walls are covered with magnificent carvings and ornamentation. Though a few parts of the temple has been preserved, it still needed a lot restoration.
Banteay Srei is also called the “Lady Temple” or “Citadel of Beauty”, because of the beautiful and detailed carvings which were exquisitely made that only women have the ability to do.
South Gate of Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom is a huge walled city guarded with five gates. One for each point: north, south, east, west and the Victory Gate leading to the Royal Palace area. Each gate is topped with four impressive giant faces.
The South Gate is one of most preserved and visited among the 5 gates which guard the ancient city. Each side of the bridge across the moat is extended with 54 stones showing various facial expressions.
Bayon Temple is one of the most popular temple in the Angkor. Known for its gigantic stones carved with beautiful smiling faces in the center of Angkor Thom. It is among the most visited sites in the complex, so expect it to be a bit crowded.
The temple has over 50 towers, decorated with more than 200 giant smiling faces. So it is big enough that you can always find a perfect spot for photos.
Ta Prohm became one of the most visited sites in the Angkor after it was chosen as a scene for the movie Tomb Raider. The temple remains untouched and well hidden in the jungle located east of Angkor Thom.
Ta Prohm is just fascinating while wandering around will give you the feeling of discovering something from the ancient times. The walls and structures were outgrown by the giant trees making it unique from the other temples.
Not everyone has the time to visit all the Angkor Temples, so if you’re only looking for the top must-see temples, then these are perfect to be on your list!
Where are you traveling next? Let me know in the comments. Have fun exploring!
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