Cambodia

Cambodia 2014: The Temples of Angkor

12/04/2014 11:23:00 PM

Hey hey! Today I have a long picture post for you, with photos from our temple trekking adventures around Angkor! The region of Angkor was the centre of the Khmer empire, which flourished from the 9th to 15th centuries. Currently there are dozens of temples in various states of ruin and restoration, which are both beautiful and fascinating, and a huge tourist attraction. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world. We absolutely loved the temples, and I'm glad we devoted a good two and a half days to seeing them. We didn't see all the temples in Angkor (hardly!), but apparently we saw many more than the average visitor! Don't forget to check out my Angkor Temple Travel Tips at the bottom of this post, and if you have any other tips you'd like to add, please leave them in the comments!

Here are the photos - N.B. these were all taken by Sandra. She is quite the photographer and lugged around the big SLR and lenses in the heat.


Pre Rup - We came here for the sunset on our first night in Siem Reap. Beautiful, and not crazy crowded.

Pre Rup at Sunset

Pre Rup


Ta Phrom - Yup, the Tomb Raider temple!

Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom

Nāga - 5-headed snake at Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom

Strangler Fig at Ta Phrom


This is a random temple whose name I've sadly forgotten - it's one of the lesser known ones and I couldn't find it on any map. If anyone knows please tell me!

Random beautiful temple


Terrace of the Elephants

Terrace of the Elephants

Terrace of the Elephants


Baphuon

Baphuon

Baphuon

Baphuon


Bayon - My favourite temple! I loved all the smiling four-faced Buddhas.


Bayon

Bayon

Bayon

Bayon


The Gates of Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom Gates


Angkor Wat - We came here for sunrise on our third day in Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat


East Mebon

East Mebon


Ta Som


Ta Som

Strangler fig at Ta Som


Neak Pean - This was originally used for curing and healing purposes, and people still bring offerings and worship here.

Clouds!

Neak Pean

Cloud reflections


Preah Kahn

Preah Kahn

Preah Kahn

Preah Kahn


Banteay Srei

Bantey Srei


Angkor Temple Travel Tips

  • If you want to see more than one or two temples, I'd definitely suggest hiring a tour guide. We organised one through the hotel - Pat from Travel Indochina - and he was awesome! He had a fantastic knowledge of the temples to an incredible level of detail, was lots of fun, and pointed out lots of good spots for photos that we might have otherwise missed.
  • Most of the big tour groups tend to follow the same route - we managed to avoid most of the crowds by starting early and going in the opposite direction. A good tour guide will be able to advise you, and we found the TripAdvisor forums to be a good source of information for planning itineraries.
  • Having said that, everybody goes to Angkor Wat for sunrise. Just accept it. With the 4:30am start, our hotel prepared us coffee and croissants for before we left, and gave us a packed breakfast for after sunrise.
  • Start early - it gets really hot by midday. Although, if you can handle the heat, the temples are usually a lot quieter by then, so that's a bonus.
  • Bring water, sunscreen and a hat. Use them. We were lucky that our tuk tuk (organised by the hotel) had cold water and cold towels in an esky. AMAZE.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I bought a pair Teva Tirra women's sandals prior to the trip and they were great. Most of the tour guides I saw wore similar open walking sandals so I figured we made the right choice.
  • Some of the temples are still actively used as places of worship, and a modest dress code is enforced, i.e. shoulders and knees covered. Difficult in the heat, but you gotta make it work! 
  • Dress for comfort and breathability. Sandra splashed out on expensive breathable hiking pants from Kathmandu, and I cheaped out with a couple of pairs of shorts from Target because: "Pffft, when am I going to be hiking again?!". It was a poor choice. A poor, sweaty, itchy choice.

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6 comments

  1. Wow Ta Phrom looks incredible! And a 4.30am start sounds like total ouch but yay for well-organised tuk tuks!

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  2. Absolutely magnificent... I really love the shot of the little girl in the green dress, it's so beautiful :)

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  3. What amazing photographs Sarah! The integration of nature into these old historical sites is really visually spectacular.

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  4. Oh my goodness, what amazing photographs. Those smiling Buddhas made me smile too. 4:30 get up to see Angkor Wat would be a labour of love.

    Great post.

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  5. What stunning photographs Sarah! Hopefully we will get to visit there one day but in the meantime, I will just gave at these photos :)

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  6. The Angkor Wat temples are so amazing. Looking at your photos (which are stunning) brought back lots of memories of my trip there a few years ago. Agree with your tips as well!

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