Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries. Angkor’s vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is pictured on Cambodia’s flag. Giant, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom.
Explore some of the most stunning temples in the world.
It's worth checking out some of the lesser-known temples where you can appreciate Khmer architecture minus the crowds.
Ta Prohm - made famous from the film Tomb Raider and the Bayon - whose well-photographed stone heads are very much the 'face' of the Angkor temples.
Siem Reap sightseeing
Early morning, enjoy the sunrise over the Angkor Wat. Transfer to the archaeological site to visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara). Lunch at local restaurant.
After lunch, visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor - Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat's five towers symbolize Meru's five peaks - the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset over the Phnom Bakeng mountain with one way elephant ride.
* Meals included: Lunch