Cambodian Temples Worth Exploring

Cambodian Temples Worth Exploring

Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist and is famous for both its modern emphasis on religion, but even more so for the country’s ancient historical sites, most notably in the Angkor region.

There are about 4,000 temples in Cambodia. Most of them can be found in Siem Reap, Battambang, Preah Vihear, and Kampong Thom.

Many tourists come from all over the world to visit these stone temples, often traversing the country and trekking through unkempt jungle plains to get there. To visit the country, you can apply for the visa online for Cambodia

Angkor Wat, UNESCO World Heritage Center

The most famous of these monoliths is undoubtedly Angkor Wat “Buddhist Monastery in the City”, which is depicted on the Cambodian flag.

Situated in the Siem Reap province of northwestern Cambodia, Angkor Wat is one of the most visited holy buildings in all of Asia and is thought to be the largest religious building in the world.

The architectural structure is Khmer but the religious purpose of the temple transitioned from a Hindu site to a Buddhist one in the 12th century.

Today Angkor Wat is the centerpiece of Angkor, which covers 401 square kilometers in total and is home to many impressive buildings and sites.

Angkor Wat and the rest of the temples are the most important tourist attraction in the country, but they also remain a vibrant center of religion and worship and need to be treated respectfully at all times.

How can I Access Angkor Wat

There is only one location to purchase tickets to the Angkor Archaeological Park. Located at Road 60, roughly four kilometers outside of Siem Reap where you will find Angkor Enterprise.

Ticket prices are dependent on how long travelers wish to stay in the region. If you want a one-day ($37), three-day ($62), or seven-day ($72) pass and are valid for the entire Angkor Archaeological Park and not just individual sites or temples.

Heavy fines will be handed out to those tourists who are not in possession of an official ticket. Once there, make sure you follow the rules and regulations in place in order to avoid sanctions.

The temple is open from 5 am to 5:30 pm, though much of the rest of the Khmer UNESCO site does not open until 7:30 am. It is best to plan to get there early to beat the crowds.

How to Arrive to Angkor

Arriving from Siem Reap, travelers have numerous options. Travelers landing at Siem Reap airport must first get into the city center unless they have arranged private tours directly to Angkor.

Once in Siem Reap proper, the most common mode of transport to Angkor is via tuk-tuk, which are small scooter taxis popular throughout the entire country. Other options are available and depend on what kind of traveler you are.

There are taxis for hire, scooter taxis, and also bicycles for hire, which offer the visitor an up-close look at the jungle paths that connect Siem Reap to the Angkor network of temples.

Beyond Angkor Wat: Thailand Temples Worth Visiting

Though many travelers are attracted to Cambodia for Angkor Wat, it is hardly the only impressive Cambodian temple.

Thankfully, the majority of the most visited temples in Cambodia are all located within the Angkor Archaeological Park and can, therefore, be visited either in one day or over the course of a more thorough multi-day exploration.

Bayon, the temple of the Smiling Faces

Located just 3 kilometers down the road of Angkor Wat, Bayon sticks out from the other nearby temples because of its many large faces carved into the stone towers. Though it is not as large as its neighbor, the uniqueness of the façade and its importance to the region as a religious center over the centuries make this temple an integral historical and modern-day part of Cambodia.

The Bayon temple can be accessed with the same Angkor Enterprise ticket as Angkor Wat as it grants the holder access to the entire park and not just individual sites. The temple is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Bakheng Temple, the Place for Sunset Watching

The Phnom Bakheng Temple is located just a kilometer and a half down the road from Angkor Wat. However, what makes this temple special is its location atop a hill, which the architecture of the temple itself mimics. The temple was built roughly 200 years before Angkor Wat, making it one of the oldest temples in the park.

Due to its exalted location, it is especially popular for both sunrise and sunset watching. As a result, the Bakheng temple is open from 5:00 am and closes at 7:00 pm.

The Bakheng Temple is accessible only with the Angkor Enterprise ticket.