Siem Reap: Exploring the Ancient City of Angkor

If you know something about Southeast Asia, you’ve probably heard about Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument, one of the wonders of the world… It’s truly a surreal experience taking a walk through the ancient city of Angkor, where hundreds of ancient temple ruins remain incredibly well-preserved.  During my time in Siem Reap over a 4 day period, I got a 3-day pass to visit the ancient temples, but you could truly spend 3 days at Angkor Wat alone.  If you’re taking a trip into the city of Siem Reap, you will likely join into a tour to see some of these magnificent temples.   Here’s a glimpse at some of the incredible temples I was able to visit during my trip:

  1. Baphuon Temple:

    Baphuon Temple was built in the 11th century and is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.  One thing that was really interesting about this temple was the geometric patterns.

  2. Angkor Thom/Bayon Temple: “The one with all the faces”

    This temple had to be my favorite because it’s just so incredibly captivating! It was built in the 12th century and is well-known for its many huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara – 216 in total. The entire temple was built as a square – each of the sides run exactly north to south and east to west.   Each face is said to keep watch at each compass point.  This temple is believed to represent the intersection of heaven and earth.

  3. Ta Prohm: “The Tomb Raider Temple”

    This temple is referred to as the Tomb Raider Temple as the well-known movie Tomb Raider was filmed there.  It is high on the list for many visitors as it is one of the temples which has not been rebuilt at all and can be seen more wild and similar to its natural state when it was first discovered. Much of the temple is surrounded and overgrown by trees which gives it a truly unique feel.

  4. Angkor Wat: The famous one

    Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and the most famous of all the temples in Angkor – it has also been listed as one of the seven wonders of the world. It was built during the first half of the 12th century. One of the most magnificent things about Angkor Wat is just how well preserved this structure remains after all these years, as you can see the incredible amount of intricacy that went into every inch of this enormous structure.  It is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu.  It is believed to have taken 30 years to build by an estimated 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants. 

  5. Other Temples:
    There are actually hundreds of other temples in this ancient city for you to explore.  I saw some parts of so many different temples during my time here, but I know that I barely scratched the surface for all the temple ruins that remain in this magnificent city.  Here’s a few more shots I got at some of the many amazing temples that I got to see here:

    Really though, there’s nothing like actually being there and experiencing all of this wonder for yourself firsthand! I highly recommend making a trip here if you ever get the chance to travel in the beautiful region of Southeast Asia.

Although clearly, the temple ruins are the main attraction when traveling to Siem Reap, there are other attractions and things to do as well.  One of the most interesting experiences I had was going on a tour of a floating village a little outside of the city.  It’s really interesting to see that as you step outside of this extremely popular tourist city in Siem Reap, the true world of Cambodia exists and there is a lot of poverty.  The Cambodian people are very hardworking people, kids and adults alike are often working outside all day. The floating village that I got to visit gives a glimpse at some of the true lifestyles of Cambodian people.

Although I only spent four days in Siem Reap, I am glad I was able to visit some of the most amazing and historically significant structures remaining in the world today.  It is a truly unique experience when you get to walk through an ancient city and discover a whole other world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *