If you’re headed to Siem Reap, you simply can’t miss out on visiting the Temples of Angkor.
With hundreds of temples spread across more than 400 square kilometers, there is no end to the amount of Siem Reap temples you can visit. Of course, we’re sure you’ve heard of the glorious Angkor Wat and Angelina Jolie’s famous Tomb Raider temple. However, the majority of travelers fail to uncover the more hidden temples. That’s why we’re here. Our temple hunters have been evoking their inner India Jones, leaving no ancient stone un-turned as they explore the entirety of the Angkor Archeological Park to bring you the ultimate backpacking list of Siem Reap temples that need to be on your itinerary. Oh, what treasures we have in store for you!
Best Siem Reap Temples – Backpackers Guide To The Temples Of Angkor
To set the scene, and get your cultural juices flowing: these Siem Reap temples are the magnificent remains of various capitals from the Khmer empire. They’ve been standing strong since they were hand-sculpted between the 9th and 14th centuries. This site has witnessed more cultural revolutions than you can even imagine. All of these stories and the legacy that comes with them still live within the walls of the temples, awaiting your discovery. So, which are the most tantalizing and unmissable experience with the Siem Reap temples wonderland? Look no further. We’ve pieced together this ultimate Angkor temples list especially for you. Save a page in your memoirs, because what you’ll experience at all these temples will be worth sharing with your world.
Video © Courtesy of seagullaerial.com
Best Siem Reap Temples: Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is by far the most well-known of the Siem Reap temples. Missing out on visiting this gem would be even worse than not going for a good old boogie on Pub Street while you’re in Siem Reap. As the building that pumps the most life and energy around the Angkor Archeological Park, naturally, it’s located in the heart of the Siem Reap temple experience. This temple was built in the 12 century and would have strolled onto ancient MTV Cribs, spanning over an amazing 16 hectares. Where the magic happens.
Besides being incredibly trippy and beautiful piece of architecture, Angkor Wat is also one of the largest religious monuments in the world. It was built as a Buddhist monument, transformed into a Hindu temple, and found its way back to being a sacred place for Buddhists in more recent years. Expecting a romantic one-on-one experience with Angkor Wat? Think again. Other temple revelers will be flooding to Angkor Wat at all parts of the day. However, if you get down there at the CRACK of dawn, you may well beat out the selfie-stick-wielding barbarians to be front row center, lakeside, for one of the most beautiful sunrises you’ll ever see.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Pre Rup
With your sunset spot hooked up at Angkor Wat, we’d thought we take you straight to the other end of the day, and then provide the cultural filling to bridge the two together. Pre Rup is a striking Hindu temple in the Angkor Archeological Park built in the 9th century, for the Khmer King Rajendravarman, Sunset seekers form an orderly queue, as this temple is heralded as one of the best spots for a Siem Reap sunset. Climbing to the top of the ancient staircase gives you beautiful views of the surrounding rice fields, tree lines, and horizon, Be warned, this can also get busy.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Bayon
Bayon is full expression. One of the most intricate temples in Angkor Archeological Park, it’s made up of a family of giant faces carved into the grey stone. You’ll right in the midst of the piece of giant art that was sculpted was originally conceived for King Jayavarman VII between the 12th and 13th centuries. The intriguing smiling images that adorn the walls of Bayon are said to be portraits of Jayavarman, and have since been heralded by art fanatics as the Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia. Face it. (Heh). You can’t be missing out on this during your exploration of the Siem Reap temples.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Banteay Srei
The real temple road trip begins with Banteay Srei. This is a temple that is filled with an eerie and mysterious vibe. Carefully chiseled miniature pink sandstone statues guard the interiors of the ancient monument. Wanting to take your Siem Reap temples agenda to the next level? Grab a set of wheels and venture 22 miles out of Siem Reap and deep into the Cambodian countryside. Your journey will be take you through the glowing surrounding landscape. You’ll weave past farmers tending their crops, women doing their weekly laundry in the fields, and a world that feels completely removed from the Siem Reap hustle and bustle. Go exploring.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Srah Sang
We mentioned earlier that Angkor Wat is a great place to catch the sunrise. We certainly didn’t say it’s the only place to watch the sun work its magic. Srah Sang is a huge man-made lake that is easily evaded by many travelers, who are piling in to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. If you’re looking to avoid the risk of watching the break of day with an armpit in your face and a selfie stick poking you in the ass, then Srah Sang is calling your name. This sunset stage is set right next to Banteay Kdei, and was also part of the colossal architectural campaign for King Jayavarman VII.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Ta Prohm
Last but certainly not least on our list of the super six Siem Reap temples, is the one and only Ta Prohm. Also known as the “Tomb Raider Temple” by Angelina Jolie groupies, this magnificent architectural beast in one of the most memorable sites in the park. Most striking is the huge tree that wraps itself around the roof and walls of the complex like an octopus crushing its afternoon snack. Swallowed by the jungle. As hands-down one of the most atmospheric experiences within the Angkor temple playground, Ta Prohm should be high on the list for all travelers looking to capture the Siem Reap temples.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Essential Tips
To reach Angkor Wat (the hub of the Siem Reap temples) from the centre of Siem Reap is a short tuk tuk ride. Your tuk tuk driver will usually stay with you for the day and transport you around the Angkor Archeological Park as you wish. Prices for this tend to be between $15 – $25 depending on distance traveled.
Entry Ticket Prices
Entry tickets to the park itself have risen recently, but of course is still well worth doing. A one day pass is $37, 3 day passes are $62, and keen beans looking to explore for a whole week should budget $72 for their one-week pass.
The park is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Bantreay Srei closes a little earlier at 5 p.m.)
Mad Monkey Insider Tip
If you buy a ticket after 4:45 p.m., for the next day, you’ll also get entry to the park that evening. Two sunsets for the price of one! Any extra questions we’ll be more than happy to help you out and our lovely staff at the Mad Monkey Siem Reap Hostel are ready and willing to help you organize your perfect, tailor-made temple experience.
Video © Courtesy of drone experience
Best Siem Reap Temples: Beyond The Temples
Siem Reap is made up of rich cultural and experiential elements that stretch well beyond the walls of the Angkor Archeological Park. Whether it’s floating villages, the internationally renowned Phare’s Circus, or a nightlife scene that’ll put the spring right in your two-step, you’ll find something to keep you entertained. For our full list on the coolest things to do in Siem Reap ACCESS HERE . For all you animals of the night, get our inside scoop on the best bars, the naughtiest nightclubs, and the most dominant drinking spots – RIGHT HERE.
Best Siem Reap Temples: Where To Stay
The influx of travelers that the temples have brought with them has led to a huge evolution in the accommodation game in Siem Reap. The city is now home to some of the most sensational hostels, luxurious hotels, and 1st class experiences in Cambodia. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best napping spots in town; we’ve put together a full list of the best places to stay. From budget hostels to mid-range accommodation options, all the way through to top-of-the-range hotels – RIGHT HERE. Of course, you’re always more than welcome to bop in for a couple nights. There’s always a fiesta going down at the secret beach rooftop bar of the Mad Monkey Hostel.
More Articles On Best Siem Reap Temples
Has our list tickled your fancy? Wanting even more temple tantalization? Check out these other pieces on the best Siem Reap temples and Angkor experiences! We only recommend bloggers we ready often and love:
- Bayon Temple And The Many Faces Of Angkor Thom by The Poor Traveler
- Best Temples To See At Angkor by Time Travel Turtle
- Temples Galore At Angkor by A Dangerous Business