Fun things to do in Angkor Wat

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Angkor Wat

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    Pre Rup

    by schurman23 Updated Oct 15, 2011

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    Pre Rup was constructed in the 10th century to enclose one of the ancient citiies that time. It has 5 imposing central towers at the center. Climbing up the towers gives the tourists a panoramic view of the surroundings.

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    Preah Ko

    by schurman23 Updated Oct 15, 2011

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    Preah Ko was constructed in the 9th century far much earlier than the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Unlike the two, this temple was built from sandstones, Preah Ko is the first temple of the Rolous group. It was made of bricks. Its moat according to our guide was larger than all the other temples, but there were no traces of such moat around the area anymore.

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    How best to see it all...

    by Mr.Sparkle Written Oct 11, 2010

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    Angkor Wat is huge and if you want to see a good chunk of it you have to plan well.

    I purchased a 3 day ticket for $40. If you do things right, the price will work to less than a dollar for each temple you visit, but you have to hustle.

    The times listed next to each temple are how long i spent looking around, taking pictures ect. at each one. These times do include the travel between each temple.

    Day 01 (seeing the most famous temples)

    01 Angkor Wat (to see the sunrise and explore the main temple there) - 3 hours
    02 Angkor Thom - 3 hours
    03 Ta Prohm - 30 mins
    04 Thomannom - 30 mins
    05 Chau Say Tevoda - 30 mins
    06 Ta Keo - 30 mins
    07 Angkor Wat (the best light falls on the temple in the afternoon, so its the best for pictures. Of course its loaded with tourists at this time, so you should go through this temple in the morning, after sunset). - 1 hour

    Day 02 (seeing many of the smaller, though note worthery, temples)

    01 Preah Khan - 1 hour
    02 Neak Pean - 15 mins
    03 Ta Som - 1 hour
    04 East Mebon - 30 mins
    05 Pre Rup - 30 mins
    06 Srah Srang, Banteay Kdei, Prasat Kravan - 30 mins
    07 Mt. Bakheng (see the sunset) - 2 hours

    These temples are all on the same path, in that order.

    Day 03 (seeing the temples that are further out)

    01 Banteay Srei - 45 mins
    02 Banteay Samre - 30 mins
    03 Roluos Group - 30 mins
    04 Tonle Sap Lake - 3 hours
    05 Phnom Krom - 2 hours

    All these sites will require you to arrange reliable transportation. I hired a taxi for the whole day.

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    Banteay Samre

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    This temple complex is located on the way to Banteay Srei, to the east of the East Baray. Meaning "Citadel of the Samre" (named after the population which lived in the region around Phnom Kulen, to the northeast of Siem Reap), it was built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century.

    With its tall and windowless laterite walls, the temple is rather citadel-like, and while the central tower may remind you of Angkor Wat, if you've seen the Khmer sites in Thailand, you may notice similarities to the temples at Phanom Rung and Phimai. It is thought that the temple sat at the centre of a sizeable city as the eastern causeway (which was once flanked by a naga bridge) runs for 200m and it's easy to imagine a city surrounding it.

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    Roluos Group - Lolei

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    You wouldn't know it when you're standing there, but Lolei actually sits atop what was once an island at the centre of the Jayatataka Baray — a reservoir measuring 3,800m by 800m. Today the reservoir has been drained and is used for rice cultivation but the island still hosts Lolei and an active temple.

    While credited to Yasovarman I, the bulk of the base work was done by his father Indravarman I, who built the dyke and placed the island, leaving his son to build the actual temple which was completed in 893 AD — Sunday July 8, to be exact. The temples were once all painted white, and you can see traces on some of the apsaras still.

    Lolei comprises four brick towers, none of which are in outstanding condition, varying from collapsed to the semi-restored. The highlight of Lolei is its lintels and door jambs, which remain in good nick.

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    Roluos Group - Bakong

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    This is by far the most impressive of the temples that make up the Roluos Group of temples, located some 15km south-east of the main group of temples at Angkor. Before its reconstruction, little remained of Bakong aside from a pile of rubble atop a small hill. Initial clearing work didn't commence until 1936 and took around seven years to complete.

    Consecrated in 881 AD during the reign of King Indravarman I, the construction of the Bakong is believed to have been initiated by Indravarman's predecessor, Jayavarman III and became the state temple of Hariharalaya (modern-day Roulos). The layout of the site closely follows the principles of modelling Mount Meru with the moat surrounding the inner sanctum of five levels, with 10 small temples surrounding a tiered tower whose spire resembles the turreted, curved points of Angkor Wat.

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    Roluos Group - Angkor Wat in Miniature

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    These miniature models of famous Angkor temples are located opposite Preah Ko which forms part of the Roluos Group, located some 15km south-east of the main group of temples at Angkor. As well as a model of Angkor Wat, there are also models of the nearby Preah Ko, Lolei, and Bakong as well as the much further away Banteay Srei. They're good to look at in order to get an overall view of each site.

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    Roluos Group - Preah Ko

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    Preah Ko (meaning "The Sacred Bull") was the first temple to be built in the ancient and now defunct city of Hariharalaya (in the area that today is called Roluos), some 15 kilometres south-east of the main group of temples at Angkor. The temple was built under the Khmer King Indravarman I in 879 to honour members of the king's family, whom it places in relation with the Hindu deity Shiva.

    What remains of it today are six small brick towers sitting on a sandstone base along with a handful of outlying buildings in various state of ruins. Each tower is dedicated to one of Indravarman's ancestors, including Jayavarman II (considered to be the founding father of the Khmer empire) located in the central tower. The tower to the left is dedicated to Prithivindreshvara, King Indravarman's father; the tower to the right to Rudreshvara, his grandfather. The three rear towers are dedicated to the wives of these three men.

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    Thommanon

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    Just across the Victory Way from Chau Say Tevoda, to the east of Angkor Thom, it underwent a major reconstruction in the 1960s and is now in remarkable condition. Like many monuments, this was originally a walled-in structure, but the outside wall has largely collapsed leaving the gopuras standing alone almost like mini-temples in their own right. Probably started by Jayavarman IV and continued by Dharanindravarman I, it seems to have been completed by Suryavarman II around the middle of the 12th century.

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    Chau Say Tevoda

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    This is located just east of Angkor Thom, across the Victory Way from Thommanon (it pre-dates the former and post-dates the latter). Built in the mid-12th century, it is a Hindu temple and has recently benefited from a serious makeover funded by the Chinese government, with missing blocks replaced, walls consolidated and carvings de-mossed and cleaned up.

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    Ta Keo

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    One of the most striking facets of Ta Keo is its almost nude, undecorated state. Although construction commenced during the reign of Jayavarman V (ruled 968 to 1001), work ceased just after the carving began due to a lightning strike.

    This massive temple mountain, located between the Gate of Victory of Angkor Thom and the East Baray, is almost 50m tall and was the first of the Khmer monuments to be built entirely of sandstone. The upper levels of the pyramid are so narrow that it's almost impossible to walk around them. In contrast, the top level is refreshingly spacious and decorated with four corner towers and a larger central tower. The views over the surrounding forest, in all directions, are terrific but be careful when climbing up the narrow, steep and dangerous steps.

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    Pre Rup

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    Pre Rup is a temple-mountain with the central pyramid comprising three levels atop a two-level base. It was completed in 961 during the reign of King Rajendravarman and was constructed as his state temple following the establishment of a new capital on the southern bank of the eastern baray — Pre Rup sat at the centre of this new capital.

    Pre Rup means "turn the body", a reference to the funeral rite where a corpse is turned on the charcoal. This name supported theories that it was used for funerals — an opinion further backed up by the discovery of a small stone cistern to the east of the entrance thought to have been used for them.

    The views from the top over the flat surrounding jungle are well worth the very steep climb up the narrow and dangerous steps, so take care.

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    Srah Srang

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    Translated as Royal Baths, according to one source all creatures except elephants were allowed to bathe in Srah Srang, but today it is most popular as a spot for swimming by the local children.

    Srah Srang is a mid-sized baray running out to the east of Banteay Kdei towards Pre Rup. Some 700m long and 350m wide, the baray was constructed during the reign of Jayavarman VII in around 1200 and has an almost sublime beauty to it. The western end of the Srah Srang remains in the best condition, lined by a long stone wall with a terrace and staircase at its centre. The stairs are flanked by nagas and fearsome lions as they run down to the water's edge.

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    Banteay Kdei

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    Lying to the west of Srah Srang and to the southeast of Ta Phrom, Banteay Kdei (meaning "Citadel of the Cells") is a fusion of Angkor and Bayon styles. In its semi-ruined state, set on spacious, forested grounds, this temple remains one of the most underrated of Angkor's temples. A large site — the outer wall measures 500m by 700m — Banteay Kdei is believed to have been constructed as monks dwellings in 1181, during the reign of Jayavarman VII, atop a pre-existing site that dated back to the 10th century.

    Banteay Kdei was a Buddhist monument and a pagoda remained active at the site until it was cleared of overgrowth. During the reign of Jayavarman VIII, the site was expanded, and many of the Buddhist statues were vandalised or destroyed. Similar in style to that of Ta Prohm but less complex and smaller, an inscription stone has never been discovered so it is unknown to whom the temple is dedicated.

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    Prasat Kravan - Bas-Reliefs

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 27, 2010

    These are the wonderful bas-reliefs that are found in the five squat brick sanctuaries of Prasat Kravan. The bas reliefs on the interior walls of the central tower are representations of Vishnu. There are three in all:

    1. Four-armed Vishnu sits astride his vehicle Garuda holding his globe, conch, discus and baton.
    2. Four-armed Vishnu, again holding his four standard appurtenances, takes a large step. This image illustrates the story of Vishnu in his incarnation as Vamana the dwarf taking three great steps in order to reclaim the world from the asura Bali.
    3. Eight-armed Vishnu stands stiffly in the position of a statue. He is surrounded by hundreds of tiny devotees and surmounted by a crocodile or maybe a lizard.

    The interior walls of the northernmost tower feature a pair of bas reliefs of Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, flanked by devotees:

    1. In one of the depictions, the goddess holds both the trident of Shiva and the discus of Vishnu, possibly marking her as the great goddess who transcends the duality of Saiva and Vaishnava worship.
    2. A more traditional depiction of Lakshmi holding lotuses is on the opposite wall.

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