Angkor

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Despite the daunting size of Angkor, the central group of temples is located just 5-10 miles north of Siem Reap. While a day trip is perfectly possible, visitors should plan a minimum of 2-3 days to experience the best sites; give yourself a whole week to tour the temples without getting completely worn out. Freelance tour guides will seek you out along Airport Road and in the main park, some with their own cars, others with tuk-tuks. Most are trustworthy and dependable – negotiate a rate for the day (prices will vary depending on what sites you want to see, but on average $15-25 for the whole day is fair and competitive) and then pay at the end of the day. You must purchase an entry ticket at the main gate of the park, which is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Angkor Temples

Angkor Thom

The largest Angkor complex represents the heart of the ancient Khmer capital. Today’s ruins are renowned for the central palace, the Bayon temple, and the towering entrance gates that still allow for elephants to pass through. Don’t miss the beautiful sculptures on the Elephant wall and the Terrace of the Leper King. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

4 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: family | historic | architecture | temple

Angkor Wat

The centerpiece of Angkor rises up from an ancient, lily-flecked square pool, its five towers forming the iconic silhouette for which all of Angkor is known. The 12th-century temple was built as a shrine to King Suryavarman II and depicts mythic Hindu tales in its intricate bas-reliefs. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

4 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: historic | architecture | temple

Banteay Srei

Take a detour out into the Cambodian countryside to see this vibrant pink sandstone temple. The architectural masterpiece is called the “Women’s Temple” thanks to the carvings of Apsara, or dancing goddesses, that adorn the walls along with other dramatic scenes from the epic Hindu story of Ramayana. The detail makes it a prime photographer’s destination. Open daily from sunrise to 5pm.

22 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: historic | architecture | temple

Bayon

Giant stone faces decorate the 37 standing towers of the Bayon temple, one of the main highlights of Angkor. While sunrise tours to Bayon are touted as romantic, the early morning hours are typically a mob scene of tourists that’s best avoided. Make time to peruse the lower levels where the histories of Khmer and Cham battles are relayed in stone. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

4 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: family | historic | architecture | temple

Kbal Spean

The “River of a thousand linga” is a 45-minute hike from Banteay Srei but worth the effort. The 11th-century Hindu statues, called linga, were set in the stream bed to bless the water that flowed into Angkor. Today it makes an idyllic detour, though it’s best to have one of the guides from Airport Road show you the way. Although not technically part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, visitors can access the site with the Angkor pass. Open daily from sunrise to 3pm.

30 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: historic | smart splurge | architecture | temple

Neak Pean

A stone lotus flower sits in the middle of this cross-shaped pool, a watery sanctuary with fountains depicting a horse, lion, elephant, and man. Tiered steps and a longstanding belief that the waters here can heal the sick, make this an enchanting destination. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

5 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: family | historic | architecture | temple

Preah Khan

North of Angkor Thom lies the huge monastic complex known as “sacred sword”. One of the best conserved and most researched temples, Preah Khan draws visitors both for its fascinating Buddhist carvings and its great jungle atmosphere amidst trees filled with exotic birds and monkeys. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

5 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: family | historic | architecture | temple

Ta Prohm

Impossible vines and the massive roots of strangler fig trees cover this stunning jungle temple, just east of Angkor Thom. Constructed as a Buddhist monastery, the dark passages and jumbled statuary make this one of the most alluring sites to visit. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

4.5 miles north of Siem Reap, 011-855-63-760-080, www.autoriteapsara.org/en/visitors.html
Tags: historic | architecture | temple

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