The Best Temples To Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Best Temples To Visit in Siem Reap
Exploring the largest religious monument in the whole world
Visiting Siem Reap this year would never have been made possible if it wasn't for the never-ending seat sales that happened earlier this year. My family and I have spent five whole days in this mystical city where the Khmer Empire, a powerful Hindu-Buddhist empire, flourished. The Khmer Empire's greatest legacy is the Angkor Wat Temple Complex, the largest religious monument in the whole world — measuring up to 162.6 hectares!
We've visited eleven (11) temples in a span of five days, and here are the temples that I think are the best.
Travelers can enter the main Angkor Wat temple from the Western and Eastern Gate. Nearly all tourists enter at the Western Gate to catch the sunrise. We, on the other hand, entered at the Eastern Gate and saw the magnificent facade of the temple itself! I think entering from the Eastern Gate made a huge difference because it didn't feel like the temple is overrated and swarming with tourists.
- To visit Angkor Wat and other temples within the complex, tourists must purchase their tickets beforehand. Tourists can select between the one-day ($37), three-day ($62), and seven-day pass ($72) to explore the temples.
- Flying of drones within the Angkor Wat complex is strictly prohibited.
Our tour guide urged us to leave at exactly six in the morning to visit Banteay Srei, a 10-th century Khmer temple dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva. We were the first tourists to arrive, giving us ample time to take photos of the place. What makes this temple so beautiful are the elaborate decorative walls and carvings found in every corner. It's amazing that most of these decors are centuries old but is still intact!
Beng Melea is a stunning grandeur of ruin. Located about 68km northeast of Siem Reap, this mysterious temple was destroyed mostly by nature, and later by war and thieves. Despite the damage done to the temple, the dark evergreen foliage that surrounds the whole place creates a charming mystical vibe.
It cost $5 to visit Beng Melea. Make sure you discuss this with your tour guide or driver before visiting.
Exploring Siem Reap with a Tour Guide
It's easy to book a tour guide or driver in Siem Reap, but if you want to truly make the most out of your visit, my family and I highly recommend Mr. Tong Hann. Mr. Hann's knowledge about Cambodian's history and culture is excellent. He knows how to avoid the crowds at the temples and where are the best spots to take photos. You may reach Mr. Hann at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit aboutangkorcambodia.com.