The temples of Angkor are Cambodia’s main tourist attraction and are located in the city of Siem Reap.
It is the capital of the country and flights arrive here from many of the surrounding cities and countries.
It must be said that the complex of Angkor are more than a thousand temples that extend through the interior of the jungle, so forget about seeing them all.
To know the most important ones you need a minimum of two days.
And if your stay in Siem Reap is only one day, you will have to focus only on the three largest and most recognized temples.
What to see in Angkor in Cambodia
As we have said there are 3 temples that stand out above the rest for their majesty; Do a short or long route, these must be! Yes or yes! in your visit.
To be well placed and to understand the history of these temples and how it will be your visit, we must know that they were abandoned for more than 200 years inside the jungle to avoid being invaded by the Thais, which in the end never happened .
After these two centuries of concealment they were discovered by chance by a Frenchman who was looking for species of uncatalogued butterflies.
It must have been impressive to be the first to find these towering buildings inside the jungle!
1 Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia
The first temple that was found is the one that a posteriori has taken much of the fame, Angkor Wat which is the best known in the world.
In fact it was nominated as one of the 7 modern wonders of humanity .
But as a curiosity we must know that Angkor Wat was the only one who was not completely abandoned because a few monks remained in it.
It is an enormous temple in three heights, with several rooms of prayer and purification, and, without doubt, it is the most photographed by tourists.
Most visitors go in the afternoon because the sun comes out from the back of the temple and in the morning there is backlight. To make the typical photos it is better to wait until the sun faces you, what happens as the day progresses.
But watch out for a lot of time if you are going to visit it because access to visits at 5 pm, and also in the rainy season, the months of June, July and August, always rains in the afternoon.
But it must be said that, in fact, the best time to visit it is in the early morning because Angkor Wat is the most visited tourist attraction in Cambodia and is full of visitors.
In the early hours there are few that wake up so much and so you can enjoy much more the visit without crowds.
Also important to know that if you rise early you will not suffer so much from the tremendous heat that it does at Angkor Wat , which is more intense due to the effect of humidity.
If you want to have panoramic views of this temple there are two options:
The first, and the one that everybody does, is to go up to the highest floor to one of the towers from where you see the whole complex, but you have to wait for a good line of people (beware of the Chinese who will try to strain you).
The second is to ride on one of the balloons that fly over Angkor Wat ; for 20 dollars they raise you to have the best views on the temple.
2 Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom
The temple of Bayon is known as the Temple of the Faces .
It is not well known who are the faces that are represented, and there are different versions about it, but it is thought that they could be faces of the Buddha or the face of the king who ordered it to be built.
In any case you will see 54 towers with one face on each of its four sides, which make a total of 216 faces.
Also in its lower part there is an impressive low relief in which are sculpted daily scenes of the life of the Cambodians and the wars that its inhabitants lived.
It is one of the most spectacular temples that as an extra has in its surroundings several temples attached that are worth visiting.
3 Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia
For us the most spectacular of all is the Temple of Ta Prohm , better known as the Temple of Roots .
This is where you can see more clearly how the wild nature took over these temples after 200 years of abandonment in the jungle.
Huge fig trees of many meters high grow throughout the temple, whose roots intertwine with the rocks leaving unique scenes in the world.
In fact, the roots are tearing down some of the buildings, which makes conservation work complicated.
In some cases they are having to cut some of these roots in order to keep the temples standing.
In the face of your visit, it is advisable to go very early to avoid crowds and be able to walk through this temple listening only to the sound of crickets, birds and monkeys that live in the jungle.
The experience of knowing this temple is an authentic spectacle.
Long route through the temples of Angkor
If you are going to travel to Siem Reap and have more than one day, there are more interesting temples to see, apart from the ones we just told you about
4 Preah Khan temple in Cambodia
It was for many years the second university in the city after Ta Prohm .
In this temple you can also find buildings where the fig trees have grown through it.
The difference is that it is worse preserved and needs much more conservation and reconstruction work.
In any case it is a spectacular temple that is worth visiting, since it is also very close to Ta Prohm
5 Neak Pean Temple in Cambodia
Following the route of temples, we find the best known as the temple of intertwined snakes .
It is a small temple, with a central lake surrounded by four others, which has sculpted in stone snakes that are crossing.
What is most striking is the huge lake that surrounds it.
It is a lake of very recent formation, the result of the floods of 2011, which have not drained the necessary, so they have built a bridge to get to the temple.
6 Banteay Srei Temple in Cambodia
Better known as the woman’s fortress temple, it is separated from the rest, so you’ll need 20 minutes to get there in tuk tuk .
It is a small temple full of details sculpted in stone. It also stands out for the color of the stone that it takes from the surrounding land.
If you have time, it is worth visiting.
7 Pre Rup Temple in Cambodia
The Pre Rup Temple is visited in a short time.
The most interesting thing is to climb its very vertical stairs to see the panoramic views of the jungle.
It is a small stop that is well worth it and a stop in this route between temples.
How to get to the temples of Angkor
To get from the hotels area, if you have not hired a guide to take you by car, you are still interested in tuk tuk , which in practice makes the function of local taxi.
Although driving has the advantage of air conditioning that comes very well for the heat it makes, tuk tuk is quite economical.
Depending on the temples you are going to visit, the tuk tuk rate varies. In the hotels themselves you can warn that one of them will come looking for you.
You will have to negotiate the price , but for you to have an idea, for 20 dollars you will be picked up at the hotel and they will take you to make the route of the temples.
They also wait for you at the entrance until you finish seeing the different temples.
If you want to see many temples, the price will go up a bit until you reach 25 dollars.
Although it may seem very economical to have a person who takes you all day for that price, for them it is a lot of money.
Keep in mind that the average salary in Cambodia is about $ 300.
Timetables and prices tickets at the temples of Angkor in Cambodia
As for the hours to visit the Angkor temples in Siem Reap , you have to know that they are guided by the availability of sunlight.
So you can enter from 5 in the morning when the sun rises, and is usually open until 5 in the afternoon, when they close the day with the sunset one of the best moments to take pictures.
The prices of the tickets vary depending on the number of days you have planned to be seeing temples.
In the area where the tickets are bought they make a picture of you, and after paying they give you a card that you must take with you continuously because they will ask for it in the different accesses to the complex.
Tickets are not cheap, but in theory money is used for the preservation and restoration of temples. What if we assure you is that you will leave with the feeling that it is very worth paying them.
Specifically, these are the prices of the tickets to the Angkor temples :
1 day, 37 dollars
2-3 days, 62 dollars
7 days, 72 dollars
Other visits in Siem Reap besides the temples
If you are going to be in Siem Reap you have to know that there are other visits that you can do, apart from temples.
The main one and I would say that it is essential, is to visit the Tonle Sap Lake , where you will see the typical floating fishing villages.
In the same city do not forget to visit Pub Street , where you will find the cheapest beer and a multitude of restaurants, and the Night Marke , one of the biggest markets of clothes, crafts and imitations in the city.