A Guide to Angkor Wat: The Most Famous Cambodian Temple | Trekking Days

A Guide to Angkor Wat: The Most Famous Cambodian Temple

by | Asia, Hotspots

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Angkor Wat is the most famous temple in Cambodia and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting tourists from all over the world. In the Kmer language, the word “Angkor” means “capital city” and the word “Wat” means “temple. Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II and has severed both as a Buddhist and Hindu temple If you’re planning to visit Angkor Wat or you want to see some Angkor Wat photos, this guide might be of help.

Angkor Wat is a temple located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and is the largest religious monument in the world

More specifically, Angkor Wat is a temple complex, including several Hindu temples. The main temple, Angkor Wat, was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II to honor the Hindu god Vishnu.

This is Siem Reap

The complex includes 402 acres (162.6 hectares / 1,626,000 m2). Angkor Wat was designed to represent Mount Meru, which is home to the devas in Hindu mythology. Within a moat of about 3 mi (5 km) long and an outer wall of around 2 mi (3 km) long are three rectangular galleries raised above the next. At the center of the temple, there is a quincunx of towers.

The temple has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including Tomb Raider and Game of Thrones.

Things to See at Angkor Wat

Visit the Bayon Temple

This Buddhist temple is known for its 54 towers with 216 faces of Avalokiteshvara. Bayon Temple was built in the late 12th or early 13th century and is located in the center of Angkor Wat. Bayon Temple is surrounded by a wall with three entrances and has two levels. The first level has 54 towers with 216 faces of Avalokiteshvara. The second level has 48 towers with 192 faces of Avalokiteshvara.

A Bayonian smile

Explore the Terrace of Elephants

The Terrace of Elephants is one of the most iconic features of Angkor Wat. The terrace was originally built in the 12th century as a viewing platform for the king and his guests to watch ceremonial processions. Today, the terrace is a popular spot for tourists to get a closer look at the temple complex. The terrace is decorated with intricate carvings of elephants, snakes, and lotus flowers. Visitors can also see the famous “Churning of the Ocean” bas-relief, which depicts the Hindu myth of the gods and demons working together to create the elixir of life.

The Terrace of Elephants

See the Angkor Thom Gate

The Angkor Thom Gate is decorated with two massive carved figures of Buddha, each several feet tall. The figures are surrounded by an intricate relief of foliage, animals, and mythical creatures. The gate is topped by a three-tiered roof, adorned with more carvings and statues. Beyond the gate lies the temple complex of Angkor Wat.

This is the Angkor Thom Gate

Check out the Ta Prohm Temple

The Ta Prohm Temple is one of the most popular temples at Angkor Wat. The temple is best known for its massive trees that have grown up around the temple ruins. The roots of the trees have wrapped themselves around the stone columns and walls, giving the temple an otherworldly appearance. Visitors can explore the temple grounds and see the amazing sight of the trees growing out of the ruins.

Yes, that’s a tree

Wander through the Banteay Kdei Temple

The temple is made of sandstone and laterite. Banteay Kdei Temple has four main towers, each with a different design. The temple also has many carvings and sculptures. There are two libraries at Banteay Kdei Temple, and one of them has a statue of a Bodhisattva.

Banteay Kdei Temple

Enjoy the Srah Srang Pool

Also known as the “Royal bathing pool”, this pond measures 2296 ft (700 m) long and over 990 ft (300 m) wide and is filled with water. Historically, the pond was used for ritual washings, but not only for the royalty, as the name suggests. The pond is located east of the Banteay Kdei temple.

Srah Srang Pool

There’s More

As the largest religious complex in the world, Angkor Wat includes many things to see and do. In addition, there are other locations and activities in proximity to the main site that you might find interesting. If you want to know more about them and/or book an Angkor Wat guided tour, go here.

Before You Go

For those who are ready to start planning a trip to the temple complex, it may be worth mentioning that opening hours are from 5 am to 5:30 pm, except for the Bakan Sanctuary, which is only open from 7:30 am. The entry pass is USD 37 for one day, USD 62, and USD 72 for one week.

Angkor Wat is a site that I would not miss if visiting Cambodia. You should make sure to wander through all of the temples, as each one has its unique charm and history. 

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