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Things to see and do

Angkor: Small Circuit

  • Bakheng
    3 stars

    The Bakheng sits atop the highest point in the area midway between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. From the 70-metre high summit enjoy spectacular views over Angkor Wat to the east, the sunset to the west and all the way to Tonle Sap and Phnom Bok to the northeast. As the first state temple of the ... read more

  • Baphuon
    2.5 stars

    If it had remained standing, Baphuon would be by far the tallest of the monuments at Angkor. Once a temple mountain, Baphuon was little more than a rabble of rubble when restoration work at Angkor first began. Work commenced on the Baphuon in the 1960s when the monument's 300,000 stones were ... read more

  • Banteay Kdei
    4 stars

    Far fewer visitors make it to the impressive Banteay Kdei than to nearby Ta Phrom, so take advantage of the thin crowds by spending more time here to really take in the feel of the place. Lying to the west of Srah Srang and to the southeast of Ta Phrom, Banteay Kdei is a fusion of Angkor and Bayon ... read more

  • Sunset at Angkor Wat Moat
    4 stars

    If you’re looking for a serene environment to pause and perhaps even contemplate life a little, one alternative sunset spot well worth considering is the north-east corner of the moat of Angkor Wat. If the bus loads of travellers that make the eventide pilgrimage to the small hill of Phnom ... read more

  • Angkor Wat
    5 stars

    Angkor Wat, or the city that became a pagoda, is the single largest religious monument in the world. ... read more

  • Baksei Chamkrong
    3.5 stars

    This single brick tower is set on a steep laterite stepped pyramid, located just off the road between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom at the foot of Phnom Bakheng. A small but delightfully proportioned temple, Baksei Chamkrong is well worth a quick stop if you're passing by. Set among tall trees it's an ... read more

  • Angkor Thom
    3.5 stars

    One of the largest of the ancient Khmer cities, Angkor Thom (which means Great City) was the state capital of Jayavarman VII and was believed to support a population of over a million. Jayavarman VII ruled the Khmer empire from around 1181 to 1220, with the site remaining in use for hundreds of ... read more

  • The Bayon
    4.5 stars

    Certainly one of the most written about and photographed of the monuments at Angkor, the Bayon is one of the most unusual religious monuments in the world. The Bayon was the state temple of Jayavarman VII and some of his successors, located at the centre of Angkor Thom. When it was first visited by ... read more

  • Terrace of Elephants
    3 stars

    Stretching for a full 300m from the Baphuon all the way to the Terrace of the Leper King, the photogenic Terrace of Elephants surveys the Royal Square of Angkor Thom. As the name suggests, it's carved with lots and lots and lots of elephants. Try to visit here in early morning, when the elephants ... read more

  • Phimeanakas and the Royal Palace
    3.5 stars

    A rambling and well-forested enclosure, Phimeanakas and the Royal Palace provides a fascinating glimpse into how the Khmer god-kings lived their lives. Phimeanakas sits just about at the centre of what was once the Royal Palace compound, which likely began with the construction of the ... read more

  • Terrace of the Leper King
    3.5 stars

    Commencing where the Elephant Terrace left off, and believed to date to the 13th century, the 6m-high Terrace of the Leper King is so named for the statue of Yama, the God of the Underworld, atop it. Stark naked, Yama sits with one knee raised, surveying the Royal Square. Because it is tainted by ... read more

  • Tep Pranam
    2 stars

    Thought to date back to the 15th or 16th century, this large seated Buddha makes use of re-used stone blocks in its body and remains an active site of worship among local Khmers. It sits just to the north of the Leper King Terrace and is worth a quick glance for its pleasant tree-filled setting. An ... read more

  • Preah Palilay
    3 stars

    Decorated with scenes from Buddha's life and set among a cluster of tall shade trees, Preah Palilay is one of the more underrated sites within Angkor Thom and contains a mix of Buddhist and Hingu imagery. The site is believed to take its name from Parilyyaka — a forest that features in the ... read more

  • Suor Prat
    2.5 stars

    The dozen towers that comprise the Suor Prat towers stand directly opposite the Palace enclosure and are placed symmetrically on either side of the royal road leading from the Victory gate to the Elephant Terrace. Really only of interest to those who have a pressing need to closely examine every ... read more

  • Khleangs
    2 stars

    Set opposite the Royal Enclosure, behind Suor Prat and placed symmetrically on either side of the royal road to the Victory gate, the distinctive north and south Khleangs gave birth to their own style. This style — the aptly named Khleang style — is also evidenced at Phimeanakas and Ta Keo. ... read more

  • Preah Pithu
    2 stars

    This collection of five temples, huddled to the north of the northern Khleang, (more or less opposite Tep Pranam), is largely ignored by most Angkor visitors. However, if time allows, it is well worth a wander through, and you'll have the advantage of having the place pretty much to yourself. The ... read more

  • Mangalartha
    2 stars

    A pleasant stroll takes you to Mangalartha — take the track leading to the East gate of Angkor Thom and some 200-300m before arriving you'll see a track branching off to the right. This is a small single-shrined, sandstone temple set in dense forest. While it's an attractive setting, the temple ... read more

  • Prasat Kravan
    3 stars

    Set just off the road from the east gate to Angkor Wat to Banteay Kdei, with its five squat brick sanctuaries Prasat Kravan looks like a bit of a drab affair, but the real attraction is within. Unique for Khmer art, the interior of the sanctuaries contain brick bas reliefs of an outstanding ... read more

  • Ta Prohm
    4.5 stars

    Ta Prohm, of Tomb Raider fame and often referred to as the ‘one with the trees’, is a phenomenal example of the interplay between man and nature and should not be missed. ... read more

  • Ta Keo
    3.5 stars

    One of the most striking facets of Ta Keo is its almost nude, undecorated state. Although construction commenced during the reign of Jayavarman V (ruled 968 to 1001), work ceased just after the carving began due to a lightning strike. This massive temple mountain is almost 50m tall and was the ... read more

  • Ta Nei
    2.5 stars

    This rarely-visited site is as much an excuse for a walk through the woods as a site in its own right. Make the effort to get here and chances are you'll have it to yourself. ... read more

  • Thomannon
    3.5 stars

    When you leave via Angkor Thom's eastern gate the first sites you'll reach are Thomannon and Chao Say Tevoda. It's easy to imagine these as add-ons to Angkor Thom, but in fact they predate it. Thomannon underwent a major reconstruction under the watchful eye of Groslier in the 1960s and is now in ... read more

  • Chau Say Tevoda
    3 stars

    Set opposite Thomannon, Chau Say Tevoda has recently benefited from a serious makeover funded by the Chinese government, with missing blocks replaced, walls consolidated and carvings de-mossed and cleaned up. The new blocks unfortunately now stick out like sore thumbs but give it a year or two and ... read more

Angkor: Grand Circuit

  • Pre Rup
    4 stars

    Pre Rup is a temple-mountain with the central pyramid comprising three levels atop a two-level base. Built of laterite, brick and sandstone, the early morning and warming afternoon light plays beautifully on the temple's stone. Completed in 961 AD during the reign of King Rajendravarman, Pre Rup ... read more

  • Baray Reach Dak Community Tour
    4 stars

    Baray Reach Dak (northern baray) community tours offers a wholly different perspective on Angkor's wonders via three guided routes. The northern baray (reservoir) is still somewhat of a secret to tourists. What was once part of the complex Angkorian hydraulic system until recently it lay dry, ... read more

  • Krol Romeas
    2.5 stars

    One of Angkor's little known curiosities! Normally stone could only be used for religious buildings and while the Khmers made an exception for bridges, which they built out of laterite, they also made an exception for Krol Romeas. Situated in a wooded area just to the right of the road after ... read more

  • Preah Khan
    4.5 stars

    While largely cleared of overgrowth, Preah Kham can be one of the most rewarding temples to visit, particularly in late afternoon or early morning when chances are you will have the entire place to yourself. Completed in 1191, the fascinating site of Preah Khan was built during the reign of ... read more

  • Neak Pean
    3 stars

    This unusual temple was constructed by Jayavarman VII on an island in the centre of the Jayatataka, the baray built by the same king in front of Preah Khan Temple. Situated just off the Grand Circuit between Preah Khan and East Mebon, Neak Pean consists of a central shrine in a pool, probably ... read more

  • Banteay Prei
    2.5 stars

    Yet another Jayavarman VII era temple, though as with Banteay Thom this one would have been situated in the suburbs or surrounding villages of Angkor Thom and so may well have been the work of a local ruler. Banteay Prei lies just to the north side of the Grand Circuit, roughly between Neak Pean ... read more

  • Krol Kro
    2.5 stars

    Another former suburban temple of the Jayavarman VII period, Krol Kro is also situated on the north side of the Preah Khan Baray, so it's found just off the Grand Circuit road between Neak Pean and Ta Som. Temples are thick on the ground in this area, indicating just how densely populated these ... read more

  • Ta Som
    2.5 stars

    Ta Som is a compact temple — laterite enclosure wall, reasonably well preserved gopuras and central shrine — all recently renovated. Of particular note is the much photographed eastern gopura covered in tree roots. This is the third Jayavarman VII temple in a row along the north side of the ... read more

  • East Baray
    1.5 stars

    Built by Yasovarman I to guarantee a reliable water supply for his new city at Yasodharapura, the East Baray is now dry. Given the state of bustling Siem Reap's water supply, perhaps it should be refilled. The baray is vast — 7.5km long by almost 2km wide — afer completion it was fed its water ... read more

  • East Mebon
    1.5 stars

    One of the advantages of building a temple on a custom-built island is that you don't need to worry about pesky diversions like walls, so it is no surprise the East Mebon has none. Built under the eye of Rajendravarman II, the East Mebon was dedicated in 953 AD and has landing stages at its ... read more

  • Srah Srang
    3.5 stars

    Translated as Royal Baths, according to one source all creatures except elephants were allowed to bathe in Srah Srang, but today it is most popular as a spot for swimming by the local children. Srah Srang is a mid-sized baray running out to the east of Banteay Kdei towards Pre Rup. Some 700m long ... read more

Angkor: Other

  • West Baray
    3 stars

    Even bigger than the East Baray, the West Baray is the largest artificial lake in the area and to this day remains nearly half full of water, providing locals with a great spot to swim and picnic. Constructed during the reign of Suryavarman I, the baray measures 8km by 2.2km, has an average depth ... read more

  • Banteay Thom
    2.5 stars

    Another cute little temple in a great setting that is also practically never visited. Banteay Tom does require a walk — there's no road going to it but then so much the better. Head past Preah Khan's west gate then follow the signs down a track to the left to the village of Nokor Krao. Once ... read more

  • West Mebon
    3 stars

    Built atop an artificial island in the waters of the West Baray, other than two still-standing gopuras there isn't all that much else left to see of the original West Mebon. Built upon the orders of Udayadityavarman II, it is thought that perhaps the central sanctuary here was constructed of wood, ... read more

  • Ak Yum
    3 stars

    This unspectacular pile of bricks is not worth going out of your way for but if you're passing it's worth a stop at what is one of the most historically important and oldest temples in the area. The temple lies just off the track along the southern embankment of the West Baray and was clearly ... read more

Angkor: Remote

  • Banteay Srei
    4.5 stars

    Undoubtedly Angkor's most beautiful, yet smallest temple, the soft pink sandstone and exceptional carvings of Banteay Srei or "Citadel of Women" never fail to delight. Consecrated in 967 AD during the reign of King Rajendravarman, Banteay Srei was never a royal temple. It is thought to have been ... read more

  • Phnom Kulen's less visited sites
    3.5 stars

    Moss-swathed temples ensconced in jungle are waiting to be found on Phnom Kulen, “Mountain of the Lychees”. ... read more

  • Banteay Samre
    3 stars

    Banteay Samre translates as citadel of the Samre, a group of people who populated the Kulen hills to the northeast of Siem Reap. The story goes that a poor Samre farmer by the name of Pou had a particular talent for growing sweet cucumbers. When Pou presented some of the cucumbers to the then-king, ... read more

  • Phnom Kulen
    3 stars

    Phnom Kulen offers a waterfall, Cambodia's largest reclining Buddha and ancient river carvings. The low-lying sandstone plateau of Phnom Kulen is around 40 kilometres away from Siem Reap and the main Angkor Archaeological Park, taking around two hours by car or van. Sprinkled with many ... read more

  • Kbal Spean
    3 stars

    Along with Phnom Kulen, Kbal Spean is regarded as an auspicious location as it is from this hill that Kbal Spean river flows down to join the larger Siem Reap river. Before it leaves the hill though, the water is blessed by flowing over some 100m of sacred linga and Hindu deities that have been ... read more

  • Beng Mealea
    4.5 stars

    One of our favourites, Beng Mealea sits on the ancient royal road from Angkor Wat to Preah Khan (in Preah Vihear province) and was built during the reign of Suryavarman II. With a similar overgrown feel to Ta Phrom, the atmosphere at Beng Mealea (which means Lotus Pond) is like no other — don't ... read more

  • Chau Say Vibol
    2.5 stars

    Definitely looks more like a fortress than a temple, built as it is on a steep rocky outcrop enclosed within a wide laterite wall and though lacking in inscriptions its style points to the Suryavarman I period. A remote, very rarely visited but atmospheric site quite unlike any of the other temples ... read more

  • Phnom Krom
    3.5 stars

    Set atop the small mountain near the ferry dock and overlooking the Tonle Sap sits Phnom Krom, a 9th to 10th century temple built by Yasovarman I. This is a fabulous alternative sunset choice. As you can't see the temple from ground level, the vast majority of visitors who arrive at Siem Reap via ... read more

  • Phnom Bok
    3 stars

    Quite isolated, the highlight of a visit here are the views and when in flower, the beautiful frangapani trees that appear to almost explode out of the tops of two of the towers. Along with Phnom Krom and Phnom Bakheng, Phnom Bok is the third of Yasovarman I's hilltop efforts. Once used as a ... read more

Angkor: Roluous Group

  • Bakong
    4 stars

    The results of the painstaking reconstruction of the Bakong are impressive, but fewer tourists make it here due to its location 14 kilometres from Siem Reap, off the main road to Phnom Penh. The highlight of the Roluos group of temples, those who come to Bakong are rewarded with sweeping views from ... read more

  • Preah Ko
    2.5 stars

    Built in 880 AD, Preah Ko, also called Paramesvara which means "Supreme God" or Shiva, was the first temple Indravarman I built in what was then an ancient capital in the region, Hariharalaya. What remains of it today are six small brick towers sitting on a sandstone base along with a handful of ... read more

  • Lolei
    1.5 stars

    You wouldn't know it when you're standing there, but Lolei actually sits atop what was once an island at the centre of the Jayatataka Baray — a reservoir measuring 3,800m by 800m. Today the reservoir has been drained and is used for rice cultivation but the island still hosts Lolei and an active ... read more

  • Wat Athvea
    2.5 stars

    A surprisingly and unfortunately overlooked temple lying in the suburbs of Siem Reap town, it's a few kilometres out of the centre, just off the road to the Tonle Sap, within the grounds of a modern wat. Wat Athvea is part of the Angkor site and an Angkor pass is required to visit. The temple ... read more

Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

  • Angkor Gondola
    3.5 stars

    Angkor Gondola, also known as Kongkear boats, offers a serene boat ride on the calm moat of Angkor Thom. An attractive backdrop is provided by the laterite walls of this ancient city which creates a photogenic and memorable setting for a gentle cruise, lasting around 40 minutes as you drift ... read more

  • Balloon flights over Angkor
    3.5 stars

    This German-built, helium-filled yellow globe has been taking passengers up and down on its long leash for years. ... read more

  • How to avoid the crowds at Angkor
    4 stars

    It’s surprisingly straightforward to find empty moss-swathed Angkorian temples to yourself, if you’re prepared to make only a little extra effort. Here's how! ... read more

Day trips

  • Flight of the Gibbon
    4 stars

    A highly memorable and fun way to experience an otherwise unseen aspect of Angkor. Acrophobics may not appreciate the liberating adventure of hurling themselves from the treetops along zip lines and canopy walkways – but everyone else will. Following in the successful footsteps of Flight of the ... read more

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