Welcome to the Angkor Archaeological Park
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the temples of Angkor are scattered over some four hundred square kilometers of countryside between the Tonle Sap lake and the Kulen Mountains, although the most famous are clustered close to Siem Reap. Atmospherically surrounded by patches of dense forest and standing proudly above rice paddies, the temples do not feel like sterile museum pieces, but seem still to be part of everyday life – aspects of which continue much as depicted in temple bas-reliefs.
For most visitors, Angkor Wat, an iconic temple of soaring towers and intricate carvings just a short drive from Siem Reap, is the chief reason to visit Cambodia. The first glimpse of its breathtaking sanctuaries lingers in the memory forever, while its gallery of bas-reliefs – exceptional in both detail and quality of execution – is a delight for novices and experts alike. Running it a close second is the nearby walled city of Angkor Thom, its gateways famously topped with four huge stone faces. The motif is continued at the very center of Angkor Thom in the Bayon, Jayavarman VII’s state-temple, which has two galleries of bas-reliefs.
There’s much more to Angkor than just these main sights, however. The site is vast, covering an area of some four hundred square kilometers, and diverse, with buildings ranging in scale from early, tiny brick towers like Prasat Kravan to the massive and stark sandstone edifice of Ta Keo. You could easily spend two full weeks at Angkor and still have more to see, but most people find two days is enough to take in the magnificent temple complex.
On the following pages you will find a short guide to the temples of Angkor. In order to get the most of your visit, it is best to prepare a basic itinerary. This should depend on the length of your visit and your level of interest.
We also recommend to visit the Angkor National museum before your visit of the Angkor Park if the time allows, to gain a overview over the extensive history of the Khmer Empire. Also recommended is to use a guide book or to hire a tour guide otherwise the temples become just a impressive pile of rocks.
Sunsai Tours offers a range of multilingual tour guides to hire for your visit of the Angkor Archaeological Park.