Although Wat Athvea isn’t located in the central area of the Angkor Archaelogical Park, lying just outside Siem Reap town in the direction of Chong Kneas floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake, it is still part of the Angkor site and an Angkor pass is required to visit; Apsara Guards are usually on site checking tickets.
The temple itself is reasonably large and after being restored is in very good condition. Built during the reign of Suryavarman II, Wat Athvea bears a passing resemblance to Banteay Samre and easily identifiable with the Angkor Wat period, though it is devoid of any reliefs except for a couple of lonely apsaras. It also features a large laterite enclosure wall with sandstone gopuras and towers in the Angkor Wat style.
Within the temple grounds sits an active monastery, so you’re likely to bump into a monk or two here. There’s also a school next door and a few fields — typical Cambodian scenes in a concentrated area.
Though a more isolated temple, it is easy to reach turning right off the main road that leads from Siem Reap to the Tonle Sap and Phnom Krom — this means the temple combines well with those sites but that you may also occasionally see a small trickle of other tourists here. Happy Ranch Horse riding also pauses here in one of their routes.
By Caroline Major
Last updated on 31st January, 2015.