The Temples of Angkor

UNESCO World Heritage site near Siem Reap

With the capital of the Khmer Empire being situated at Angkor for some 500 years, there are a wealth of ancient temples and other sites near Siem Reap Town. Most of these sites are in and around the Angkor Archaeological Park. The largest and most significant ruins of the Angkorian Empire are found just to the north of the municipality of Siem Reap, and thus has grown into a tourist oriented town. It is the base from which most visitors explore the temples of Angkor.

The ruins and restored sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and form part of the largest pre-industrial city in the world.

Depending on how you count them, there are some 50 Hindi and Buddhist temples and other sites near Siem Reap, with another 10 major sites further away.

Unfortunately, due to the ravages of time and conflicts, some sites are ruined and not in good condition, but even these crumbling sites are fascinating to visit, and provide a glimpse into the distant past. We have provided descriptions of some the more important sites you may wish to visit.


Angkor - Some Amazing Facts

  • Built from 879-1191 AD at the zenith of the Khmer civilisation, the temples represent one of the world's most amazing and enduring architectural achievements.
  • Angkor had a population of over one million, and was the spiritual centre for the Khmers until it was abandoned after being sacked by the Thais in 1431. The ruling Khmer God-kings controlled a vast territory in the twelfth century, extending south, to the Mekong delta in present-day Vietnam, north into Laos, and west over large tracts of what is now Thailand. In its heyday, 1.
  • The surviving structures today are but a fraction of the whole stunning picture, which included a huge city whose wooden buildings - houses, markets, shops, palaces, and public buildings - have long since been destroyed by war and time.
  • The best preserved, and most visited, are Angkor Wat, the Bayon, and Ta Prohm, which were first restored by the French, who established an Angkor Conservancy in 1908.


 

Angkor Thom

The largest site in the Angkor Archaeological Park, the name Angkor Thom means Big Angkor. It is a huge walled city with a moat, and was the last great capital of the Angkorian Empire. When Jayavarman VII defeated the Cham invaders in 1181, and recaptured the Angkorian capital, he instituted a massive building program throughout the empire. He constructed Angkor Thom as the new capital city, and encompassed the already existing temples of Baphuon and Phimeanakas. At its zenith, it is estimated that the city had a population of almost one million.

Inside Angkor Thom are some of the some of the most impressive temples of the Angkorian period. To enter the city, one has to pass through one of the five huge entrance gates. There is a gate at each of the four points of the compass (north, east, south, and west), plus the so-called Victory Gate, which leads to the Royal Palace area. Each gate is topped by four giant faces, and the bridges leading to the gates are lined with statues of gods and spirits. Angkor Thom contains the famous temple of Bayon, and other important sites.

Construction Period: Late 12th to Early 13th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Building Style: Bayon

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Banteay Samre

Built in the distinctive Angkor Wat-style of construction and art, this is a large, relatively low-rise temple. It was built around the same time as Angkor Wat, and the influence can seen in the towers and railings which strongly resemble the towers of Angkor Wat, and it also resembles the ancient Khmer temple of Phimai in Thailand. and most of the bas-relief carvings are in very good condition. The temple has been extensively restored by archaeologists by completely taking it apart, and then reconstructing it.

To get to Banteay Samre, you need to take a road through villages and paddies to the eastern end of the East Baray. A visit to Banteay Samre is often combined with a visit to Banteay Srey.

Location: near the southeast corner of the East Baray
Construction period: Mid 12th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Suryavarman II
Building Style: Angkor Wat

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Chau Say Thevoda

Somewhere between 1120 and 1150AD, King Suryavarman II began building this smallish, graceful Hindu temple. It has a central sanctuary, two libraries and four gopuras which are at the four cardinal points on the compass. To the north is Thommanon Temple, which has a similar design and floor plan to Chau Say Tevoda. Centuries of wars, neglect, and the natural elements have taken their toll, and Chao Say Tevoda was in very bad shape. In 2000, restoration of the temple began, and was completed in 2009. The restoration included newly manufactured which are not of equal artistic quality to the original sections, but the visitor can still see the temple as it was originally constructed.

The temple has some finely done carvings, and most are still in fair condition. Although most of the carvings are Hindu related, there are also Buddhist related reliefs which were added by King Jayavarman VII. From the temple, a walkway to the east leads to the Siem Reap River a short distance away.

Location: just east of the Angkor Thom Victory Gate, and south of Thommanon
Construction period: Early 12th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Suryavarman II (King Yasovarman II also did additional work, and King Jayavarman VII added Buddhist elements)
Building style: Angkor Wat

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Kleangs

These rectangular, sandstone buildings are called ‘Kleangs’ which means ‘storeroom’ but it is not likely that they were actually used for that purpose. It is not known exactly what their function was, but carved inscriptions indicate that they may have been used for ceremonial purposes, or as accommodation for visiting dignitaries.

One Kleang is east of the Terrace of the Elephants, and the other is east of the Terrace of the Leper King.

The North Kleang was constructed of wood by King Rajendravarman II, and was later reconstructed of stone by King Jayavarman V. The North Kleang also has well preserved carvings. It appears that the South Kleang was not finished, and left in an incomplete state. When viewed from a distance, The Kleangs appear elegant, but are somewhat unremarkable when viewed close up.

Location: Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 10th - Early 11th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Jayavarman V
Building style: Khleang
Photography: best in the afternoon sun

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Phimeanakas

A large, tiered pyramid of laterite and sandstone construction, it is the tallest climbable temple in Angkor Thom, and from the top, it offers a good view of the surrounding area. The stairway on the western, or back side of the temple, affords the easiest way to climb to the top. Unfortunately, there is an absence of carvings, and this may make it uninteresting for some, but it is still an impressive structure, and well worth exploring.

What may make it more interesting to some, is the legend associated with it. Phimeanakas was the temple of the king, and the legend says that in the golden tower that topped the temple, there dwelled a mystical serpent that would transform itself into a woman at night. In order to protect the kingdom, and to prevent a disaster befalling the kingdom, the Angkorian kings were required to make love with the serpent every night.

Location: Royal Palace, Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 10th to Early 11th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Jayavarman V
Building style: Kleang

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Phnom Bakheng (Bakheng Hill)

Constructed on the highest hill in the area, it was the first major temple to be built at Angkor after the capital was moved from Roluos in the 9th century. It was the state-temple of King Yasovarman I in the new capital city of Yasodharapura. The foundation of this temple mountain was carved from the existing rock. The hilltop location of Phnom Bakheng offers some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. It is a very popular place for sunrise and sunset viewing, and is especially popular at dusk, and at times the temple can be crawling with tourists. It is quite a climb to get to the top, and the steps near the summit are very narrow.

There is a road up the hill to a clearing short of the summit, and elephant rides up and down the hill are offered from about 16:00 until sunset. The fee for the elephant rides is $15 per person to go up the hill, and $10 per person to go down the hill.

Location: Northwest of Angkor Wat
Construction period: Late 9th to Early 10th century AD
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Yasovarman I
Building style: Bakheng
Photography: Angkor Wat can be seen about 1km away in the jungle. For good photos, a long lens of at least 400mm is required.

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Prah Kahn

Preah Khan, which means 'sacred sword’ is a temple that has been left in a largely unreconstructed state. It is not as visually stunning as Ta Prohm, but it is a big, explorable temple complex, with large trees, moss, and dark stone corridors. It also has a wealth of carvings, and provides many photo opportunities.

There are networks of smaller passages, which open onto colonnades, courtyards, and rooms of all sizes. The central portion of the structure is fairly open, but exploring the outer passageways becomes increasingly difficult because of fallen stones, tree roots, and tiny openings which lead into almost completely dark interiors.

Originally built as a Buddhist monastery and school, it had over 1000 monks in residence. It also was the residence of King Jayavarman VII while the royal city of Angkor Thom was being built. Preah Khan is dedicated to the father of Jayavarman VII, and is architecturally similar to Ta Prohm, which was dedicated to his mother.

Like other Buddhist temples of the time, many of the Buddha images were destroyed and defaced in the later resurgence of Hinduism in the empire.

Location: North of Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 12th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Building style: Bayon

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Pre Rup

A large temple-mountain, it contains well-preserved carvings of fine detail. This architecturally and artistically excellent temple is located just south of the East Baray, and is similar in construction to the East Mebon which was built a few years earlier. The false doors on the upper level are of especially excellent quality.

It had been believed that Pre Rup was a mortuary temple, but it was actually King Rajendravarman II’s state temple, and was the second temple to be built at Angkor after the capital was returned from Koh Ker.

Climbing to the top of the temple affords a sweeping view of the surrounding countryside jungle and rice paddies, and it is also a popular place for sunset viewing. 

Location: South of the East Baray
Construction period: Late 10th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Rajendravarman II
Building style: Pre Rup

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Ta Keo

This is a large, temple-mountain style structure, constructed of huge sandstone blocks. It was built by three different kings: Jayavarman V, Jayaviravarman, and Suryavarman I. When Jayavarman V started the temple, it was his state-temple, but unlike other state temples, it was built outside of the main capital area. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, and seems to have been topped with golden towers, as it was known in ancient times as the mountain with golden peaks.

Construction on the temple seems to have stopped abruptly in the beginning stages of decoration. This is indicated by the few number of carvings on the temple. Even though it doesn’t have much decoration, it is still interesting, and worth a visit.

Location: Just east of Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 10th to Early 11th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Jayavarman V
Building Style: Khleang

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Terrace of the Elephants

The terrace is a striking 300 meter long, and two and a half-meters high, and is ornamented with carved elephants and garudas. The north part of the wall contains a number of especially fine sculptures which include a five headed horse, and dancers and warriors. The wall faces east so the best lighting for photography before noon. 

Location: Central Angkor Thom, east of the Royal Palace
Construction period: Late 12th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: Jayavarman VII, and extended by a later king
Building Style: Bayon
Photography: Lighting is best in the morning hours

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Terrace of the Leper King

This terrace at the north end of the Terrace of Elephants, has carved nagas, demons and other mythical beings. The inner wall was built first, and the outer wall was added later covering the inner wall. Archaeologists excavated the inner wall in the late 1990s.

The terrace was named because of a statue on top of the wall. This statue is of the so-called ‘Leper King’, but why this statue is called the 'leper king' is a matter of debate. At the time the statue was found, some say that it was covered lichen, and looked like it was eaten by leprosy, thus connecting it to the legendary Khmer leper king. There is also speculation as to who the statue represents. Some say it is a combination of Hindu gods, and Kings Yasovarman I and Jayavarman VII. Other scholars say it is a combination of Buddha and King Jayavarman VII. The statue of the leper king currently on the terrace is a reproduction, and the original statue is in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Location: Central Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 12th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Builting style: Bayon
Photography: Lighting is best in the morning hours

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Thommanon

Due to extensive restoration in the 1960's, today Thommanon is in good relatively excellent condition. It is a small, nice looking temple, constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat, and the Angkor Wat style of architecture is evident in the style of the towers and carvings. The many carvings of Thommanon are in very good condition, and in the rainy season, the wet color of the sandstone offers good photographic opportunities.

Thommanon is just opposite Chau Say Tevoda across the street the road, and because they are somewhat similar, they are often grouped together. However, they are not contemporary, and Thommanon was constructed much earlier. Even before restoration, Thommanon it was in much better condition than Chau Say Tevoda because it was not constructed with wood beams enclosed in stone as Chau Say Tevoda was.

Location: just to the east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 11th - Early 12th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Suryavarman II
Building Style: Angkor Wat

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

The Baray Lakes & The Mebon Temples

One of the most remarkable aspects of Angkor are the huge Baray. They are immense ancient rectangular artificial reservoirs, and the two largest are on the east and west sides of Angkor Thom. The East Baray is 14 square km, and the West Baray is 16 square km.

There has long been debate about just what the actual purpose of the barays was,
While it had been assumed that they were used for agriculture irrigation, however some scholars now say that the main purpose of the Barays was religious and ceremonial. There is a stone temple called a Mebon on an island in the middle of each lake. No matter what their original purpose was, they are truly amazing feats of engineering.

However, of all the hydrological features of Angkor, today only the West Baray is still partially filled with water, and the moat around Angkor Wat still contains water. All others have long since dried up.

East Mebon

The East Baray is now dry, and the East Mebon can be easily reached by vehicle. The East Mebon was the first temple to be constructed after King Rajendravarman II moved the capital back to Angkor from Koh Ker. It was built in the middle of the East Baray, and is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

The Mebon is a large, three level temple-mountain ruin topped by five towers. It is a somewhat unique site, and is known for its almost life-size stone elephants, each one carved from one block of stone. Smaller stone statues line the stairways that lead up to the central platform. From this vantage point, the lake bed and the rice fields can be seen below in every direction. The record indicates that there was activity at the temple as early as 947AD, but the East Mebon was not consecrated until 952AD.

Construction Period: Late 10th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Rajendravarman II
Building Style: Pre Rup

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

West Mebon

The West Baray is 2 km wide & 8 km long, and is partially filled with water, and the West Mebon in the middle of the baray, can only be accessed by boat. The ruins of the West Mebon are in rather poor condition, and consist mostly of a wall with some carvings in fairly good condition. These carvings represent carvings of animals in natural environment scenes, similar to the carving at Baphuon. There is speculation that the West Mebon may have originally held a famous bronze Buddha statue which is now in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. The West Baray has water in it all year round, and is a popular recreation area.

Location: off of National Hwy No. 6, approx. 3 km past the airport turnoff.
Construction Period: Late 11th century AD
Religion: Hinduism
Built by: King Udayadityavarman VII
Building Style: Baphuon

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Sras Srang

This Baray is a small, but quite picturesque Baray, located to the east of Banteay Kdei. It was designed and constructed in the same manner as Pre Rup, and was remodeled in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII as part of his building program. There are landings at different levels on the western part of the Baray, and they are decorated with nagas guardian lions. In the dry season when the water level is low, the remnants of a mebon can be seen in the middle of the reservoir just sticking out above the water. Srah Srang is used as an alternate sunrise viewing location, and is much less crowded than Angkor Wat.

Location: Just east of Banteay Kdei
Construction Period: Mid 10th and Late 12th century C.E
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Building Style: Bayon
Best time to Visit: Can be visited anytime, but especially best in the early morning.
Photography: Light is best in the morning for photos

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Outlying Temples & Sites

The vast majority of temple ruins and restored temple sites are in the area of the Angkor Archaeological Park just north of Siem Reap. However, there are important Angkorian-era and pre-Angkorian ruins in other parts of Cambodia, as well as in parts of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Some of these ancient temple sites outside of the archaeological park are fairly close to Siem Reap, and can be included in a near temple itinerary. These include: the Roluos Group, Banteay Srey, and Kbal Spean. However, the more remote sites like Beng Melea, Koh Ker, Banteay Chhmar and Sambor Prei Kuk require the better part of a day, or a full day for a round trip from Siem Reap. This is due to the distances involved, and the poor road conditions, especially during the rainy season.

Going on an ‘expedition’ to a remote temple site can be a good way to see the Cambodian countryside. Driving along dirt roads through rice fields, secluded villages and tropical forest can be an adventure in itself, and a way to get away from the main tourist areas. Hotels, guesthouses and travel agents can arrange tours to remote temples, as well as organize countryside tours, cultural tours, off-road expeditions, and overnight stays in villages.

Banteay Chhamar

Because this ancient temple is far from Siem Reap, it is very lightly touristed. It was built under the reign of King Jayavarman VII during his monumental building program, and is dedicated to his son who died in battle fighting the Cham. Khmer and Cham battle scenes are shown in the many bas-reliefs.

Banteay Chhamar is a large monastic complex in forest overgrowth, and has had only some minor restoration. It has an abundance of exceedingly well preserved bas-reliefs, and the face towers, and temple-in-jungle atmosphere make it a photographer’s delight.

To visit Banteay Chhamar from Siem Reap, it will take a whole day for the round trip. It will take somewhat less time to make the round trip from Battambang.

Location: about 70km north of Sisophon in Banteay Meanchey Province near the border with Thailand
Construction period: Late 12th century – early 13th
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: Jayavarman VII
Building style: Bayon

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Banteay Srey

The name Banteay Srey translates from Khmer roughly as the ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a recent name that most likely was applied because of the pink sandstone and the delicate carvings. This beautiful, 10th century temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. It has some of the most exquisite carvings of any Khmer temple, and has almost a storybook ambiance. The detailed carving of the sculptures, lintels, and friezes, make it an aesthetically pleasing structure. The walls are covered with deep, intricate carvings, each one carved with superb detail.

Banteay Srey was built by a Brahmin counselor to King Rajendravarman, and was built at a time when the Khmer Empire was growing in power and territory. A visit to Banteay Srey can be combined with a visit to Banteay Samre. The temple area closes at 17:00.

Location: Outside main park area, approx. 38 km north of Siem Reap
Getting there: Drivers charge an extra fee for the trip.
Construction period: Late 10th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Rajendravarman, later under King Jayavarman V.
Building style: Banteay Srey
Photography: Many of the carvings are cordoned off, and a long lens and tripod are needed for carving close-up shots. The colors of the temple are at their best before 10:00, and after 14:00.

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Beng Melea

This huge jungle temple is more than one square kilometer in area, and is mostly overgrown by vegetation. It has been left the way it was discovered, similar to Ta Phrom Temple. With many trees growing out of broken-down towers and galleries, and vegetation covering ruined structures, it provides the opportunity for some great ‘lost temple’ photos.

However, because it has been left in this condition, in some places you have climb over ruined walls, and climb through windows in order to get around. There is a wooden walkway for the standard tour, and for those who don't want to scramble over stone blocks.

The temple was built in the Angkor Wat style, but was constructed before Angkor Wat, and it is theorised that it may have been a model for Angkor Wat. There are a few lintel and doorway carvings, but no bas-reliefs. There is speculation that when the temple was built, the walls may have been covered with painted scenes, or frescos. The location of this temple is at the crossroads of ancient roads leading to Angkor, Koh Ker, Preah Vihear, and Vietnam.

The trip to Beng Melea can be combined with a visit to the Roluos Group, or in combination with Banteay Srey and Kbal Spean. From Siem Reap, the road to the temple is a graded dirt road, and the trip takes 1-2 hours. However flooding can occur in the rainy season. An Apsara Authority admission pass is not needed, but there is a $5.00 entrance fee.

Location: Approx. 60 km northeast of Siem Reap
Construction period: Early 11th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Suryavarman II
Building style: Angkor Wat

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Kbal Spean

This is the famous river of a 1,000 lingas at Phnom Kulen. These lingas (phallic symbols) were evidently carved into the bedrock of the river so they could ‘fertilize’ the waters flowing to the fields of Angkor. There are also carvings of Buddha and Buddhist images in the rocks that were carved at a later date than the lingas. It is a fairly easy 45-minute walk uphill though the woods to get to the river.
A trip to Kbal Spean can be combined with a visit to Banteay Srey, which will take a half-day to see both of them. Entrance to the area closes at 15:00.

Location: approx. 49km north of Siem Reap
Construction period: 11th - 13th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu and Buddhist
Getting there: Take the road past Banteay Srey for about 12km, and there will be a sign and parking area on the left.

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Koh Ker

From 928 AD to 944 AD, the capital of the Khmer Empire was moved from Angkor to Koh Ker. This was the only interruption in the almost 500 year history of the Khmer Capital at Angkor. About 20 years after the establishment of the capital at Angkor, there was a breakdown in the line succession for reasons that are unclear, and in 928 AD King Jayavarman IV, probably a usurper to the throne, created a new capital at Koh Ker.

Whatever the reasons for the move to Koh Ker, King Jayavarman IV created a large royal capital of Brahmanic temples, shrines, and prasats, which surrounded a huge Rahal (baray). King Jayavarman IV ruled at Koh Ker for 20 years until his death in 941 AD, and King Hashavarman II, his son, would remain at Koh Ker for some 3 years before returning the capital to Angkor.

The most important structure here is Prasat Thom, a large temple complex built as a 7-tiered pyramid. Now, there is loop road going around the Rahal, and prasats and small temple structures, and several ruins in good shape stand just off the road. Unusually, some prasats still contain lingas. There are also many other, remote ruins in the area that can be visited. The use of a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended. A round trip to Koh Ker from Siem Reap can take the better part of a day, and can be combined with a trip to Beng Melea. There is a $5.00 entrance fee. 

Location: 100km northeast of Siem Reap,
Construction period: 928 AD to 944 AD
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Jayavarman IV
Getting there: Take National Highway #6 east from Siem Reap to Damdek, turn north, and follow the signs. There is a toll road for part of the way. Always check road conditions before departing, especially in the rainy season.

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Preah Vihear Temple

Some temples have been re-opened recently including the fabulous Preah Vihear Temple. Well over 100 km north-east of Angkor, on the Thai border, Preah Vihear Temple (or Prasat Phra Viharn) dates from the beginning of the 11th century. It dominates the plain from its prominent position in the Dangrek Mountains at an altitude of more than 700 m and was returned to Cambodia by a ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1963 (it was previously occupied by the Thais).

Also close to the Thai border, just 90 minutes away lies Anlong Veng, used by the Khmer Rouge leaders as their last stronghold and hideout in this remote area. It contains the remains of Pol Pot's house and burial site. The rainy season from May to October complicates visits to these remote areas.

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

Sambor Prei Kuk

Located in Kampong Thom Province, these 7th century temple ruins are the remains of Isanapura, the pre-Angkorian capital city of the Chenla Kingdom. King Isanavarman I is credited with building the city when the Chenla Kingdom was at its zenith, more than 150 years before Angkor.

The ruins at Sambor Prei Kuk are groups of striking brick prasats, in varying states of decay. The three main complexes are: Preah Sambor (North Group), Preah Tor (Central Group), and Preah Yeay Poun (South Group). Each is walled, and each contains a number of prasats. The carvings on some on the lintels, columns and pillars of the prasats are in relatively good shape, and are very good examples of pre-Angkorian art.

The brick prasats and compound walls are ornamented with large bas-reliefs, and demonstrate an early application of this Khmer art form. Another unusual construction technique are the octagon shaped prasats. But perhaps the most photographed is Prasat Chrey, a small prasat that is almost completely overgrown by a large tree.

For those interested in Khmer history and art, and for the serious temple explorer, this pre-Angkorian complex is an important place to visit. It can be reached as a day trip from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, or can be explored as an overnight stop at Kampong Thom. The dirt road from Kampong Thom is in fair condition.

Location: about 120km southeast of Siem Reap, and about 35km from Kampong Thom
Construction period: 7th century
Religion: Hindu
Built by: Isanavarman I
Photography: as most of the temples face east, morning hours offer the best light

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

The Ruluos Group of Temples

East of Siem Reap along National Highway No. 6, is the 9th century group of temples named for the nearby town of Roluos. This group of ancient structures are what remains of Hariharalaya, the first important capital of the Khmer Empire It was the Khmer capital for more than 70 years under four kings.

The Roluos Group of temples includes the temples of Prah Ko, Bakong, Lolei, plus a baray. These structures are interesting and historic. This is especially true of Bakong Temple, a five tiered pyramid shaped structure, which is in the best shape of the three temples. There are stone stairways balustraded with stone lions, leading up to the main sanctuary at the top. It also contains eight small sanctuaries around the base of the temple, which is architecturally similar to other Angkorian temples.

Yasovarman I, the last king to reside at Hariharalaya, moved the capital to Angkor, and built Phnom Bakheng in 905 C.E. Except for a 20 year period at Koh Ker, the capital would remain at Angkor for the next 400 years.

Location: approx. 12km east of Siem Reap
Construction period: Late 9th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
Built by: King Jayavarman II, King Indravarman, King Yasovarman I
Photography: Morning light is best for temples facing east

Remarks: Contact us if you'd like to visit this temple. We can customize a tour for you.

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Explore the famous temples of Angkor including Angkor Wat; the world’s largest Hindu temples, Bayon Temple; its 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces. Read More...

 
Angkor Temples Tour - Full Day Angkor Temples Tour

This full-day package combines visiting significant temples in Siem Reap into one-day trip. Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat, the best examples of the classic-style of Khmer architecture. Read More...

Angkor Wat Tours

Angkor - One of the wonders of the oriental world and a UNESCO world heritage site, needs at least 3 days for a visit. Classic 3 - 5 Day tours include accommodation, fees and guides. See all Tour/Packages in Cambodia If you are interested in a half or full day excursion you also coud check out this page: Siem Reap/Angkor Excursions.  Read More...

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