• One of the main things to do in Cambodia is to visit their many temples which are located in the same area and are only a short tuk tuk journey away from each other.

    ANGKOR WAT
    The main temple is Angkor Wat which is featured on the centre of their countries flag. Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century and is considered one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. It is a very iconic temple in Cambodian history and one that is very popular with travellers. The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. Unlike the other Angkor monuments, it was never abandoned to the elements and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built. Symbolically, west is the direction of death, which once led a large number of scholars to conclude that Angkor Wat must have existed primarily as a tomb. This idea was supported by the fact that the magnificent bas-reliefs of the temple were designed to be viewed in an anticlockwise direction, a practice that has precedents in ancient Hindu funerary rites. Vishnu, however, is also frequently associated with the west, and it is now commonly accepted that Angkor Wat most likely served both as a temple and as a mausoleum for Suryavarman II.

    The best thing to do when visiting Angkor Wat in my opinion is to buy a single ticket which covers 1 whole day visiting Angkor Wat, visit in the afternoon for the sunset and then return the next morning for the sunrise which you need to be extremely lucky with the weather for that (when we visited it was cloudy that morning and the sunrise was very weak) but it’s still a great experience and perfect to explore this temple when it’s not scorching hot.

    BAYON
    Bayon temple is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, it is located in the centre of the city and is located just north of Angkor Wat. It is best known for its many towers with gently smiling faces on each side. There are some 50 towers around the ruined temple, with over 200 faces showing varying degrees of erosion and wear. Each face is 4 metres high and is facing one of the cardinal directions of the compass. They all have the same serene smile, with eyes closed, representing the all-knowing state of inner peace, and perhaps even a state of Nirvana. There are also many complicated and exquisite bas-reliefs around the temple, with scenes depicting land and naval warfare, market scenes and others depicting the construction of the temple itself.

    It takes roughly 30-40 minutes to visit all of this temple and includes some very narrow corridors and steep steps. As it’s very popular, be careful when it gets crowded and full of Chinese especially when trying to get up and down the stairs because they are uneven and the Chinese aren’t the most friendly or patient people.

    TA PROHM
    Ta Prohm is the modern name for the temple, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and was originally called Rajavihara. Is it usually called ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ as parts of Angelina Jolies’ Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film was filmed here in the year 2000. Most of the temple are engulfed by overgrown tree roots which twist and hug the temple walls and pillars. It has become a more popular temple over the years and looks great photographed in black and white. Ta Prohm is currently in the process of being restored by Indian archaeologists working with their Cambodian counterparts. I would allow quite a good amount of time to explore all of the corridors and iconic tree roots if you would like to see it all. There are also photography tours which go around the temples in Cambodia and they teach you how to take good pictures of them.

    PREAH KHAN
    Preah Khan is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII to honour his father. It is located northeast of Angkor Thom and just west of the Jayatataka Baray, with which it was associated. Preah Khan is translated as The Sacred Sword or Royal Sword into English. It was the centre of a substantial organisation, with almost 100,000 officials and servants. The temple is flat in design, with a basic plan of successive rectangular galleries around a Buddhist sanctuary complicated by Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions. Like the nearby Ta Prohm, Preah Khan has been left largely unrestored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins. This is a much smaller temple compared to the others so you don’t need too much time to walk around it.

    SOME TIPS WHEN EXPLORING THE TEMPLES:

    • Hire a tuk tuk driver – make sure they don’t over charge you we paid about £17 for all 3 of us to go around the temples and that included the 5am start to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
    • Please be very aware of the temple touts and scammers who walk around the temples, mainly around Angkor Wat who try to sell you food and drinks and also souvenirs – they should be at school and giving them money for their products only encourages them to continue to stay out of school and not get their education.
    • In Ta Prohm I think it is, there are quite a few policemen or men wearing official uniform who seem to love asking to take a tourists photos in the temple and then asking them for money, sometimes they can be quite cheeky and ask for quite a lot so please be careful and don’t fall for this and just simply refuse because they do it quite a lot and can be quite persistent.
    • If it’s a hot day make sure you take enough water and sunscreen with you and also something to cover your arms and shoulders or wear appropriate clothing into the temples because they are still sacred buildings and you are required to cover up appropriately.

     

    Are you planning on visiting any Cambodian temples?

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    A One Day Trip Around Cambodia’s Temples