This is a top attraction of the country which is among the biggest temples and the best preserved ones. As the reflection of this Khmer archaeological gem falls on the reservoir next to it, it weaves a vista to admire. Once you enter the outer gallery, a series of stone sculptures will greet you, depicting various episodes from Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Even the ornate pillars will leave you in awe, the sheer precision of carving and the artistry is something that deserve a special mention.
For some peace and quiet, head to the temple of Koh Ker. Accessed on a day trip from Siem Reap, Koh Ker is one of the most remote complexes in the area and is almost hidden in heavy foliage and consumed by nature. Around two dozen of the monuments can still be seen by visitors while the rest are hidden in forest.
Another much-loved temple on the tourist trail, Bayon is best known for the huge faces carved into the stone towers. Although small in comparison to Angkor Wat, this sacred building is much more condensed. It was built in the late 12th- and early-13th-century as the official state temple of King Jayavarman VII. Huge restoration work has since taken place, and is ongoing, so expect to clamber over stones and through dark, narrow passages to see it all.
Built in the 12th century, Preah Khan served as a shrine for followers of both Hinduism and Buddhism. The complex is surrounded by a moat and has trees and shrubbery growing amongst the ruins. Built by Jayavarman VII to honour his father, it is one of the largest complexes at Angkor and combines beautiful carvings, stonework and crumbling ruins. As it is largely unpreserved, trees and vines have grown throughout the buildings and simply add to its charm.
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple gained international recognition after it was featured in the video game-inspired movie Tomb Raider. This tranquil monastery was built during the mid-12th century by King Jayavarman VII in commemoration of his mother. Fitted with 600 rooms, courtyards and galleries, it was believed to have housed a population of over 70,000 people, most of them being high priests, monks, assistants, dancers, and labourers.
The ruins of Ta Prohm Temple are now enveloped by huge trees and hanging vines, giving visitors the feeling of discovering a temple lost in the jungle. The temple is about 1 km east of Angkor Thom.
Often referred to as the art gallery of Cambodia, Banteay Srei is a Cambodia Hindu temple that is indeed confined in size, but the artistry which you will witness are beyond perfection. This ornate ruin is beautified with motifs, figures of gods, and detailed carving.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is the only temple in Angkor which was not commissioned by a ruler, but a Brahmin. It dates back to 10th century and was among the first temples which were restored in Angkor.
Indeed a tiny temple, Neak Poan is sits amid a small artificial lake. The name, Neak Pean literally translates to ‘entwined serpents’ and as many historians believe the structure and its surrounding represent Anavatapta, which is a mythical lake said to have water with medicinal properties. This Cambodian Buddhist temple is closely associated with Preah Khan Temple as well.