Cambodia’s Angkor is home to an abundance of temples, including the world-famous and iconic Angkor Wat. The area’s beauty, history, and importance has led to it being given World Heritage Status, and, spread over an expansive area, it is a place that you are sure to never forget.
Angkor was the powerful capital of the mighty Khmer Empire, the ruling party of most of SE Asia for hundreds of years.
The best time of year to visit is between the months of November and March, when there is little rain and a lot of sun. As the peak time, however, there will be more people and the prices will be higher. There are fewer people and lower prices between June and October, although there may be heavy rain showers.
Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes, as there is a LOT of walking, and some of the walkways are uneven and can be slippery.
Make the most of your trip with this mini guide to Angkor:
The grand Angkor Wat is the finest temple in the country. The remains are very well preserved, and filled with interesting architecture, carvings, designs, and styles. It is one of the world’s biggest religious sites, and was constructed as a Hindu temple in the 12th century. You can wander around glorious courtyards, climb pagodas and towers for sweeping views, and be in overall wonder at this majestic place.
Dedicated to Buddhism, the Bayon is known for its many large faces, peering down rather seriously at all that pass by. The faces were modelled on King Javavarman VII and gaze out from all four sides of each tower. There are numerous shrines throughout the complex, with a mixture of those to the Lord Buddha and those to various Hindu deities. There are carvings on the walls depicting the battles with the Cham tribe.
Showing the tremendous battle between man-made and nature, the crumbling remains of Ta Prohm have well and truly been overcome by the jungle. Tree roots encircle walls, trunks crush other areas, and the effect is simply indescribable. There are several buildings within the Ta Prohm complex, and it offers something very different from the other main sites at Angkor.
Whilst not commonly included in the quick tours, if you have the time, it is well recommended that you visit some of the other sites in the area. Try and take in some of the lesser visited and more remote spots. Ta Keo is a huge pyramid, surrounded by a defensive moat. It has few ornamental details, and is fairly simple in its decoration – this does not make it any less impressive. Towers are perched on top of the pyramid, and it is an impressive sight.
It is possible to book a tour of Angkor or to arrange your tickets and transport and see the area independently. With hundreds of incredible ruins and remains in various states of decay, it is often recommended that visitors spend a few days visiting some of the smaller and more remote sites, gradually building up to the larger and more famous spots.