PHOTOS: 7 temples to visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia
A trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia would not be complete without visiting its many temples.
But before heading out, make sure to buy an Angkor pass as you cannot enter the temples without it. There is a ticketing booth around two kilometers from Angkor Wat (near the Angkor National Museum), with passes at $20 (one day) and $40.
With that out of the way, here are some temples that can help you get started.
Siem Reap’s most popular temple, the majestic Angkor Wat was consecrated in 1150 to the Hindu god Vishnu and is said to have taken around 30 years to complete.
Expect to spend hours going around Angkor Wat, which occupies an area of around 200 hectares. The temple is home to beautiful bas-reliefs as well as ancient libraries and swimming pools, among others.
Giant trees grow from the terrace and walls of this temple, a Buddhist monastery dedicated by King Jayavarman VII to his mother. It has 260 statues of gods, 39 towers and a maze-like layout.
Ta Prohm is often referred to as the “Tomb Raider temple” as it has been used as a location for the Angelina Jolie-starrer.
Located at the center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, Bayon is a temple dominated by huge faces carved on its 54 towers. The faces show different expressions, but all feature slightly curving lips, a broad forehead and downcast eyes.
Bayon was said to be built 100 years after Angkor Wat, and often rivals the latter in terms of popularity.
Still part of Angkor Thom is Baphuon, a three-tiered “temple mountain” which is said to be dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The top level of the temple is in poor condition due to several collapses, but Baphuon still maintains its charm.
If you can, climb all the way to the top of Baphuon to enjoy a magnificent view of the nearby temples.
Located northeast of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan was built by King Jayavarman VII, this time for his father. Numerous trees can be seen around the temple, which is largely unrestored.
Sculptures of garudas are aplenty in the Buddhist complex. There is also a stupa with direct sunlight, a common photo spot for visitors.
An artificial island with a Buddhist temple, Neak Pean is believed to represent Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas.
It has four connected pools said to represent the elements – earth, fire, water and wind – and a main tank.
Made of brick, laterite and sandstone, Pre Rup is orange-brown in color. The temple was said to have been built in the second half of the tenth century for the Hindu god Shiva.
Pre Rup looks similar to East Mebon, which was built several years earlier.