The Angkor Temples

Breakdown by location and features

The Angkor Archeological Park is a huge place. It has more than 40 major temples within the park, and many others outside it.

Some of them, like Banteay Srei and the Rolous group, receive regular visit from visitors.

But since it's so large and spread out, how are you to determine which ones to visit?

Here you’ll be able to see how they are grouped together, and get to know a little bit how they are laid out.

This could help you save time in planning your visit.
  • Angkor Wat - This is THE temple to visit. Consider yourself never having been to Cambodia if you did not stop by here. It is the largest religious monument in the world, and it has so many interesting things in it. You'll probably need to allow at least a couple of hours here.

  • Angkor Thom - This is a large temple complex near Angkorwat. It has several temples within its gates, and is probably one of the most interesting areas to visit. Most of the temples are located right in the center of the complex, making it easy to go from one temple to the next. This area will also take quite a bit of your time.

    Angkor Temples - Baphuon
    Baphuon temple's causeway (within Angkor Thom)
  • Nearby Temples (Temples just outside the Angkor Thom complex) - Several other temples in the area are located just outside the Angkor Thom gates. Lion at Pre Rup Temple (nearby Angkor temples)Temples like Ta Prohm and Phnom Bakheng are some of the popular ones. Preah Khan is also not to be missed.

  • Faraway Temples - These temples are located outside the park, but some of them are worth seeing. Banteay Srei, Beng Mealea, and Kbal Spean, are some of the temples that have unique characteristics to them.

  • Rolous Group Temples - Rolous group is also located outside the temple Park, and it used to be the capital city for one of the old Khmer kings. It has 3 temples in the area, with Bakong temple as the highlight.
So those are basically the temples that are doable as day trips from Siem Reap. But if you’d like to break them down more, you can. These temples below are also from the above temples, but grouped according to their own specific features.

Temples with unique features

  • Baray Temples - Baray means reservoir, and these are the temples that are located in the middle of the manmade lake. All but one of those lakes has completely dried up, but it’s interesting to visit them nonetheless.

  • Hill Temples - Some of the Ankor temples are built on top of the hill. Phnom Bakheng is probably the most popular. These temples, because they’re located high up, usually provides a great view of the surrounding area.

  • Pyramid Temples - If you like climbing the temple stairs, and some of them are very steep, these are the temples to visit. Climbing up to also gives you a great view of the landscape below. Some temples go up 20 meter high and more from the ground.

  • Sunrise Temples - Angkorwat is popular for sunrise, but if you’re looking to know what other temples that provide a great sunrise experience, here are some of them. Just make sure you set that alarm clock correctly, because if you're late, you'll miss the dawn breaking, which is the best part of it.

    Angkor Wat sunrise
    Sunrise at Angkorwat temple
  • Sunset Temples - As it is with sunrise, some temples are also a great place for viewing the sunset. Everybody knows Phnom Bakheng is the default choice for sunset viewing, but if you’d like to try something different, try some of these temples. 

So in short…

There are so many temples in Angkor Archeological Park, that it would take multiple visits to see them all.

If you only have a limited time, planning your visit in advance is necessary. That way you can tailor your visit according to your wants and interests, instead of just going to temples that everybody goes to.

This will also determine what kind of pass you'll get, the 1 day, 3 day, or 7 day pass.

A 1 day pass is really too short to for you to take in the temples and enjoy them. But if 1 day is all you have, then make sure you get the pass the day before, and squeeze-in that free sunset visit.

A 3 day pass will let you see most of the temples, and if you want, all of them. But seeing all in 3 days, especially for first time visitors, will no doubt will leave you feeling heavily templed out. By the time you reach day 2.1, you're going to start hating the temples and lose interest in them.

A 7 day pass is a good one, but it's probably a little bit too much for first-time visitors and casual travelers who don't have vested interest in the temples. The pass also might not get used for some of the days, which is kind of a waste.

So from all the above choices, a 3 day pass seems to be the ideal one for most people. Just don't try to do all of the temples, though. Take it slowly, enjoy them, and if you miss some temples because you're too 'slow', that's okay. You can always save them for your next visit!

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