Angkor Archaeological Park Travel Guide

Angkor Monks

What to See

The Angkor Archaeological Park is home to many beautiful monoliths.  For a one-of-a-kind experience, make sure to visit the following structures and edifices:

Angkor Wat

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1) Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is one of the biggest and grandest Khmer edifices in the park. Built in the 12th century by King Suyavarman II, it is unlike any other temple. It features a westward orientation, which, according to experts, makes it a place of both prayer and burial. The best way to enjoy Angkor Wat’s immense beauty is to enter the west entrance and walk towards the entry tower. From there, head right to view the five goupras.  Pass through the libraries and the towers, head down and left to reach the water basin. Walk towards the left of the water basin to marvel at the beauty of the bas reliefs of the Ramayana and the judgment of Yama, Krishna’s win over Bana, among many others.

2) Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is the location of two towers: the Bayon and the Baphuon. Bayon was built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. Its most famous features are its big stone faces – all 216 of them. While in Bayon, make sure to visit its bas-reliefs, central sanctuary, inner and outer galleries. Northwest of Bayon is the Baphuon, one of the biggest structures in Angkor. Representative of Hindu’s Mount Mero, the Baphuon is a contrast of religions since it also features a big reclining Buddha. Apart from the Bayon and Baphuon, other places to visit in the area of Angkor Thom include the Phnom Bakheng, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.

3) Little Circuit

The Little Circuit is the location of five beautiful Angkorian structures. Its most famous edifice is the Ta Phrom, where trees have worked their way through the monoliths. It is also here where you can find the Ta Keo, a temple which was not completed by its builder, Jayavarman V. Similar to the architectural style of Ta Phrom is the Banteay Kdei, which is currently being restored.  Before exiting the premises, you will encounter the Sras Srang – a terrace – and the Prasat Kravan, a small yet beautiful temple.

4) Big Circuit

Five magnificent structures are also located in the big circuit. The most famous is the Preah Khan, which served as the first capital prior to the completion of the Angkor Wat. Said to be a small version of the Angkor Wat is the East Mebon, which is situated on a former island most know as East Baray. Pre Rup, on the other hand, is a beautiful temple where you can enjoy lovely views of the sunset. Other quick stops within the big circuit include the Neak Pean and the Te Som.

5) Roluos Group

One of the oldest sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park is the Roluos Group, where you can find three structures built in the 9th century. As the ancient capital of Hariharalaya, the Roluos Group is where you can find the terrace pyramid Bakong, the island temple Lolei, and the first temple ever built in the complex – the Preah Ko.

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Marv Perez