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Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat is a ubiquitous image across Cambodia, from its position on the national flag to local currency. Cambodians are proud of Angkor Wat, and rightly so. It will not disappoint.

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Built from 1113 during the reign of King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took well over 30 years to complete and was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. In size alone Angkor Wat is breathtaking. The outer walls stretch for 1.5 kilometres east to west and 1.3 kilometres north to south, and the walls are encircled by a beautiful moat almost 200 metres wide—the entire site takes in some 200 hectares.

Iconic Angkor Wat. Photo taken in or around Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Iconic Angkor Wat. Photo: Caroline Major

Unusually for a Khmer temple, Angkor Wat is orientated to the west. As the west is symbolically associated both with death and Vishnu, some debate has flared over the purpose of the complex—tomb or temple? The prevalent opinion is that Angkor Wat was both—a temple to Vishnu and a tomb for its creator, Suryavarman II.

Like all temple mountains—Angkor Wat being the most impressive built by a Khmer king—it is a model of the divine, playing out Hindu mythology in both its construction and spectacular bas reliefs. At the centre of the Hindu (and Buddhist) universe sits Mount Meru, a holy peak some 750,000 kilometres high on the mythical continent Jambudvipa. Atop the mountain sits the home of Brahma and other gods of both religions. At Angkor Wat, this mountain is represented by Angkor’s central tower which in turn is surrounded by smaller peaks, then the continents are represented by the outer courtyards and finally the ocean is illustrated with the moat. A naga bridge allowed people to cross from the land of mortals to that of the Gods—the sandstone causeway that you see today running across the moat from the west.

Get lost in the galleries. Photo taken in or around Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Get lost in the galleries. Photo: Caroline Major

In walking across Angkor’s naga bridge and entering the complex from the front, you are traversing the ocean from the real world to that of the gods—stepping from continent to continent and then scaling a peak some 750,000 kilometres, and there’s no ... Travelfish members only (Around 2,000 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Location map for Angkor Wat

Popular attractions in Angkor

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Angkor.

What next?

 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Angkor.
 Read up on how to get to Angkor, or book your transport online with Camboticket.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Angkor? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Angkor that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Angkor? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.

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