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Angkor temples in Siem Reap are located within the boundaries of Angkor Archaeological Park.
The temple ruins of the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire are dated back to 9th to13th century AD. The numerous temples in Siem Reap are no mystery at all, it is just widespread of religion from Hinduism to Buddhism during the Khmer Empire that stretched across Southeast Asia.
There are 50+ astonishing list of temples in Siem Reap, specifically situated in the Angkor Archeological Park.
As of 2019, there are 3 types of Angkor ticket (temple pass): one day (38 USD), 3 day (65 USD) and 7 day (75 USD).
Transportation, tour guide, refreshments and travel insurance are excluded. Be noted that some temples require separate tickets.
If you are looking for the answer to these questions- “How old are the temples in Siem Reap? Or “why are there so many temples in Siem Reap?” Or how many temples in Siem Reap do I need to visit, and the list goes on. Well, the best way to see temples in Siem Reap is to book a flight to Cambodia in the cold season!
Angkor Temples: 10 Must See Best Temples in Siem Reap (Cambodia) Contents
- Best way to see temples in Siem Reap?
- Dress code for temples in Siem Reap?
- Here are our selected famous and best temples in Siem Reap to visit
- Suggested Best Angkor Wat tours and tickets in Siem Reap
Best way to see temples in Siem Reap?
If you are on a tight schedule in your trip, considering the size of the archaeological park, which you definitely need some exercise prior to your landing in Siem Reap city, before you can “complete” the Angkor Archeological Park you need to spare 2-3 days just for the ancient ruins.
Read More: How to Plan a Thailand Cambodia Vietnam Tour
Dress code for temples in Siem Reap?
Since the park is composed of temples and not just an archaeological site, your respectful manner when it comes to “dress modestly” is best expected. Both genders are advised to use tops with sleeves and below the knee length bottoms. Best advice: Grab your trainers, pair it with your loose, comfy shirt and finish it with Khmer pants!
Here are our selected famous and best temples in Siem Reap to visit
1. Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat – the national pride of Cambodia, considered one of the largest religious monuments in the world. The site features a moat, helping to stabilise the temple’s foundation from groundwater that can rise too high or fall too low.
Angkor Wat is an important temple in Siem Reap, it is originally built as a Hindu temple (dedicated to Vishnu) and on the latter of the 14th century, it was converted to Buddhist temple (Imagine two religions in one shrine, isn’t fascinating?). With the enormous sculpted walls, statues and vast greenery, Angkor Wat is the most popular temple in Siem Reap and you should visit it by sunrise to witness how the ray of the sun strikes the beautiful ancient architectural structure of it. By the year 1992, UNESCO declared Angkor Wat a World Heritage Site, encouraging not just the local but international groups to put an effort into preserving it.
Visiting the breathtaking, carved ruins of Angkor Wat can ignite the archaeologist in you. This is only one of the top temples to visit in Siem Reap.
2. Bayon Temple
Bayon Temple is situated in the northern part of Angkor Wat. It is Best known for its several towers with structures of smiling faces. One of the top temples in Siem Reap.
Also called Jayavarman’s Temple, in honour of the Khmer king who constructed it. The interior is a maze of towers, passageways and galleries. Bayon’s exterior walls are outstanding when it comes to decoration and carvings, depicting the everyday life, market scenes, childbirth and religious rituals. Add a smile in your tour at Siem Reap by taking photos of 200 faces at Bayon temple! Plus, an over 11, 000 carved figures that can make your trip worth sharing!
3. Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei is a must see temple in Siem Reap. Many locals call Banteay Srei- “The Lady Temple, The Tiny Temple and The Pink Temple” as its exterior imposes the grandeur of Angkorian complex.
The pink colour limestones and well elaborated with carvings of female deities. With its unusual structure, Banteay Srei is widely praised as the Jewel of Khmer art.
This is a must see temple in Siem Reap, as it literally glows in the sunlight, it shimmers like jewellery when the sun struck in the pillars, doorways and surrounding towers. We suggest you to visit it during the cold weather to enjoy it more.
4. Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm is the most popular Buddhist temple in Angkor and one of the best temples to see in Siem Reap. Dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Ta Prohm is a temple of closed courtyards, narrow passages and towers.
After the Khmer Empire, the abandonment of Ta Prohm complex has been literally embraced by mother nature. Cloaked with giant, long decayed tree roots, lichen and moss in carpet form that occupies the porch of the temple. In present day, this one of a kind temple in Siem Reap is now being preserved and visited by many tourist.
Unleash the Lara Croft, Tomb Raider in you by visiting Ta Prohm, an exotic experience in Siem Reap that you should not miss at all!
5. Preah Khan
Preah Khan another Buddhist temple in Siem Reap to visit. Known as the Sacred Sword, built in honour of King Jayavarman VII’s father. Preah Khan was a once a temple city surrounded by a moat and the outermost enclosure was being occupied with huts and wooden houses where commoners lived.
The temple is heavily guarded with stone built giant lions. It also lists the wealth of the temple including gold, silver and gems. This famous temple in Siem Reap has a 5 meter high, wall carvings of mythological creatures, intricately designed entryways and ceremonial spaces.
How about walking through at this temple in Siem Reap that once contained with 60+ tonnes of gold (3.5 billion USD as of 2019), gems, silver and pearls? Come and explore this rich tourist spot in Siem Reap.
6. Banteay Samre
Bantay Samre is a Hindu temple in Angkor Wat architectural style. The layout of Bantay Samre is not that far similar to many surrounding temples. Built in the middle of the 12th century.
One of the most complete complexes at Angkor. It has a lot of columns compare to the neighbouring temples. There were no inscriptions found for this temple, but most of the style is classic art from the mid-period of Angkor Wat.
Looking for a picture perfect with no crowd at all as a backdrop? Head toward this temple, it is quiet, calm, minimal visitors and considered as the best-hidden temple in Siem Reap, because even a ticket checker is not around!
7. Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants was built in the late 12th century. The 350-metre long ornament wall, decorated with carved elephants, served as the king’s grand audience hall, it is his platform to view his victorious returning army. There are 5 staircases in this area, and the most important is the middle part, wherein you can view the whole area without any blockage. One of the most popular places in Siem Reap to visit.
Take your imagination far behind this walled elephant structures and let the grandiose Khmer empire infantry, chariots and cavalry march towards it, see how many gems would that be.
8. Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng, a hilltop temple where the best sunset in Siem Reap can be experienced. It is the first of the temple mountains built in Angkor’s vicinity. Phnom Bakheng’s centre tower represents the axis of the world and according to some scholars, it is an astronomical calendar.
This popular temple in Siem Reap has a symbolic representation, the Mount Meru, home of the Hindu Gods. Refill your hike cravings by going at the top of this temple and reflect with its breathtaking sunset. Be in a chap-chap motion, as the guards only allow tourists for less than 10 minutes to stay.
9. Ta Keo
There are numbers of temples to visit in Siem Reap, one of them is Ta Keo. This mountain temple has 5 sanctuaries where there are perfect views of the surrounding area. The temple is unfinished and no known source was found behind its being.
The striking ziggurat and deprived ornamental style make this architecture more distinctive, showcasing the works of the Khmer who were known from its prodigal of decoration. The death-defying stairs (just an expression) to the top are ginormous and even the braves are bothered. If you are up for a challenge, take the stairs of Ta Keo and enjoy the view. This is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap.
10. Bakong Temples
Bakong is the first temple-mountain established by the Khmer empire rulers. Built with the use of sandstone and heavily influenced by Hinduism. Bakong temple is surrounded by a moat, the architectural structure shape is a stepped pyramid, symbolising Mount Meru.
There were ruins of rest houses, crematorium, library and storehouses in the vicinity. It served as the state temple of the Khmer King. Bakong temple is listed as one of the important temples in Siem Reap, due to its early function (state temple) during the rise of the Khmer empire.
Do not miss visiting this mixed architectural style temple, this is one of the best local things to do in Siem Reap.
Suggested Best Angkor Wat tours and tickets in Siem Reap
Visiting the ancient temples of Angkor is truly a great travel experience. I hope that these suggested Angkor temples are on your itinerary when you visit Siem Reap.