The Temples of Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia’s Iconic Landmarks

When it comes to Cambodia, the temples of Angkor Wat are the country’s most famous and iconic landmarks. These ancient structures are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Khmer people, who ruled over much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Let’s cover everything you need to know to make the most of your visit to Angkor.

Getting to the temples of Angkor

The temples of Angkor are located just outside the city of Siem Reap, which is the gateway to this incredible site. Siem Reap has its own international airport, and flights are available from many major cities in Asia. Alternatively, you can travel by bus or taxi from Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

Once you arrive in Siem Reap, you can hire a tuk-tuk or taxi to take you to the temples. It’s also possible to rent a bicycle if you’re feeling adventurous, although keep in mind that the temple complex is quite large, so you may need several days to explore it all.

Exploring the Temples of Angkor

The temples of Angkor comprise dozens of individual structures, each with its own unique history and architectural style. Some of the most popular temples include:

Temple of Angkor Wat with monks by Dick Hoskins

Angkor Wat

This is the largest and most famous temple in the complex, and it’s often considered the symbol of Cambodia itself. Built in the 12th century, it’s a stunning example of Khmer architecture, with intricate carvings and bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.


This temple is known for its massive stone faces, which adorn many of the towers and walls. It was built in the late 12th century and is thought to have served as a temple to the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara.

Buddha face in Bayon temple by Ray Harrington
The iconic tree at Ta Prohm temple by Mike Swigunski

Ta Prohm

This temple is unique in that it has been left largely untouched by restoration efforts, giving visitors a glimpse of what the temples looked like when they were first rediscovered by Western explorers in the 19th century. It’s also famous for the massive trees that have grown up around and through the temple, creating a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere.

Other notable temples include Banteay Srei, Preah Khan, and the Terrace of the Elephants. It’s worth noting that the temples can get very busy, especially during peak tourist season, so it’s a good idea to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Practical Tips to visit the temples

Wear comfortable shoes

You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your footwear is up to the task.

Stay hydrated

Cambodia can get very hot and humid, so be sure to bring plenty of water with you.

Respect the culture

The temples of Angkor Wat are still considered sacred by many Cambodians, so dress modestly and avoid loud or disrespectful behavior.

Hire a guide

While it’s possible to explore the temples on your own, a knowledgeable guide can provide valuable insights into the history and culture of the site.

Bring a camera

The temples of Angkor are incredibly photogenic, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all the amazing sights.

When to Visit Angkor Wat temples

The best time to visit the temples of Angkor is during the dry season, which runs from November to March. The weather is cooler and drier during this time, which makes it more comfortable to explore the temples. However, this is also peak tourist season, so the temples can get very crowded. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the rainy season, which runs from May to October. The weather can be unpredictable during this time, but the temples are generally less crowded.

Angkor Wat at Sunset by Ji Ying

The Angkor Wat temples are one of the most remarkable cultural landmarks in the world, and a visit to Cambodia wouldn’t be complete without exploring them. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can experience the wonder and beauty of these incredible structures for yourself. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Angkor today and discover the magic of Cambodia’s most iconic landmarks.

Meet Anna, a passionate soul who has called Cambodia her home for the past five years. Her heart has been captivated by the enchanting charm of the Khmer culture, the warm hospitality of its people, and the legendary smiles that light up the nation. Anna's mission is to share her deep affection for the Kingdom of Wonder through her blog, where she'll take you on a journey to explore the country's rich culture, delectable cuisine, and the hidden gems of its vibrant cities. Join Anna as she unfolds the beauty of Cambodia, one post at a time.

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