Ruines d' Angkor Things to Do

  • The Jungle at Ta Prohm
    The Jungle at Ta Prohm
    by gdilieto
  • Things to Do
    by gdilieto
  • Things to Do
    by gdilieto

Most Recent Things to Do in Ruines d' Angkor

  • gdilieto's Profile Photo

    Ta Prohm - The Temple Swallawed by the Jungle

    by gdilieto Updated Jan 27, 2013
    The Jungle at Ta Prohm
    4 more images

    Ta Phrom is, with Angkor Wat and the Bayon, one the most-celebrated temples of Angkor, definitely a must-see site as part of the trilogy above. If Angkor Wat impresses by the grandeur of its architecture, and the Bayon does it by its enigmatic symbolism, Ta Phrom impresses by its romantic atmosphere due to the astonishing merger of nature and architecture.

    Ta Phrom was the temple chosen by the earlier archeologists to be left in its "natural state" as memory to future generations of how Angkor looked like when it was discovered in the 19th century. The irony is while the temple appears to be in state of neglect, massive efforts are indeed in place to conserve it the way visitors can see it today.

    Ta Phrom peculiar atmosphere is mainly due to the trees (for the record: strangler figs and silk-cotton trees) which have grown intertwined among the ruins and which create a unique sight. Unlike Angkor Wat and the Bayon, which are mountain temples with pyramidal structure, Ta Phrom is developed on a single-level with a long central axis. It is pretty straightforward to visit - though good mobility is necessary - and a visit is on average complete in about one hour. The iconic trees pictured in thousands (millions?) of sketches and photos are easy to find: in the need, follow the crowd. Ta Phrom in the hot day hours is more forgiving than Angkor Wat and the Bayon due to the jungle providing some relief from the sun, still early morning or late afternoon provide a more charming atmosphere.

    Ta Phrom was built at the height of the Khmer Empire in the late 12th/early 13th century as a Buddhist monastery and center of learning. It is contemporary to the Bayon, built about a century after Angkor Wat.

    An interesting fact of Ta Phrom is a small carving on a temple wall seems to show a dinosaur, quite a funny representation on a temple of that time. Several different theories have been advanced to explain its presence, none conclusive, including one saying the image actually shows a cow or rhino with a palm tree in the background - the palm's fronds being easily mistaken for the fin-like blades running down a dinosaur'' back.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • gdilieto's Profile Photo

    The Bayon - The Temple of the Face-towers

    by gdilieto Updated Jan 26, 2013
    Faces of the Bayon
    4 more images

    Broadly known as "The temple of the face-towers", the Bayon is one of the most enigmatic and astonishing Angkor monuments, rivaling in greatness with Angkor Wat. While Angkor Wat impresses with its majesty and geometrical perfection, the Bayon does it with its feeling of mysterious and fantastic. Built by the Khmer at the peak of their civilization (late 12th/early 13th century), the Bayon is considered by archeologists the last stone temple built before Civilization's declining.

    Dating nearly 100 years after Angkor Wat, the Bayon represents Khmer architecture baroque style striking example as contrasted with the classical style of Angkor Wat. Having passed through different religious and architectural phases, the temple is extremely complex, the unique feature being the mass of face-towers creating a stone mountain of ascending peaks. There are 216 gigantic faces on the temple’s 54 towers. The curious smiles of these faces have been dubbed as the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia.”

    A visit to the Bayon in the hot day hours may be unforgiving as there is no shade against the sun. Good mobility is needed to navigate through the different levels accessed through deep stairways.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • gdilieto's Profile Photo

    Angkor Wat

    by gdilieto Updated Oct 20, 2012
    Sunrise over Angkor Wat

    Angkor Wat is the biggest religious building in the world. It is bigger than any other temple in Asia, the Great Pyramid in Egypt or St. Peter’s in Rome. It is the grandest of all Khmer temples and, in its heydays, the complex was a city in its own right.

    Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century at the peak of the Khmer empire’s wealth and power. Originally built as a Hindu temple, it later became a Buddhist temple as Buddhism made its way through the Khmer empire. Even after Angkor was abandoned in the 15th century, Angkor Wat remained inhabited, and for 400 years Buddhist monks lived there stopping the jungle from taking over the temple.

    Angkor Wat is an architectural and engineering masterpiece. It combines two major features of Khmer architecture: a pyramid (created by means of stepped terraces) and concentric galleries. Put it simply, Angkor Wat is a pyramid of three levels, each level enclosed by gallery, with the summit crowned with five towers. The pyramid is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the mountain home of the gods in Hindu mythology, the upper level representing the home of the gods. Angkor Wat was built in only 37 years whereas Western cathedrals of the same period took centuries to complete. All Angkor Wat's surfaces have carvings telling about the lives of the ancient people of Angkor.

    You don't need to know about the history or architecture to appreciate the magnificence of the place. The complex is astonishing and the atmosphere is magic. Unfortunately the tourist crowd can spoil the atmosphere and the tropical heat may make the the visit unbearable. The best time of the day to visit is probably at sunrise (about 5:30 am), when both the crowd and the heat are more manageable and the view of the sun rising from behind the temple is spectacular. It is also worth visiting multiple times, and at different hours of the day, to look at the temple from different angles.

    Angkor Wat is today the most remarkable symbol of Cambodia and source of national proud. Its image appears on Cambodia’s national flag, the only case in the world with a building represented on the national flag.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Banteay Samre

    by Maria81 Updated Apr 22, 2011
    In the Courtyard at Banteay Samre

    Style and Dedication:

    One of the earlier temples, Banteay Samre was originally a Hindu sanctuary and followed the same architectural style as Angkor Wat, albeit obviously on a smaller scale

    Builder:

    Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early to mid 12th century (although this is essentially a guesstimate, no actual indication of a date was found)

    Description:

    Somewhat isolated, and in not too good a state the site is still very much worth a visit, if only for the chance to experience the magnificent Angkor Wat style without the hustle and bustle of Angkor Wat itself.

    Going through the gopuras in the outer wall, one gets into an enclosed courtyard, which in turn leads to another, second courtyard, and a second enclosure. Oh, and add some fairly steep steps to the mix, too! The inner courtyard features 3 structures, two smaller libraries and a central Hundu sanctuary (and, yes, more steps!). Sculptures are the traditional Hindu lions, lingams and yonis.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Ta Prohm

    by Maria81 Updated Apr 22, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Buildings and Tree Roots

    Style and Dedication:

    Ta Prohm was built as a Mahayana Buddhism temple and university and as such is another one of the 'flat temples', with 5 retaining walls encircling a central sanctuary. Some of the structures have collapsed due to erosion/vegetation, but the layout is still fairly clear.

    Builder:

    Jayavarman VII, in late 12th/early 13th century

    Description:

    Instantly recognisable (even if you have not seen 'Tomb Raider'!) , the temple has been left largely unrestored, with the walk up following a path through the jungle, and trees/plants covering the ruins themselves. This does mean you need to be a little bit more careful as you wander around, but the atmosphere it creates is unique in the by now touristy Angkor complex (to see another one like this, you'd probably need to go to the remote temple of Beng Mealea way outside of Angkor/Siem Reap).

    Despite fabulous images, galleries, sculptures, halls, galleries, etc. - the tree roots are the most photographed feature, with queues often forming at the 'Tomb Raider' filming spot

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Preah Khan

    by Maria81 Updated Apr 22, 2011
    Wandering Around Preah Khan

    Style and Dedication:

    The temple is a Mahayana Buddhism sanctuary, but with smaller shrines to Hindu deities around the main sanctuary as well (for a total of over 400 gods and goddesses). Rectangular galleries, courtyards and corridors around the main sanctuary make this a pleasant place to wander around.

    Builder:

    Jayavarman VII, in late 12th century

    Description:

    The temple is another one of those on the ground level - and thus also providing a welcome respite from climbing over the Mt. Meru-style ones! The temple has not been restored to the same degree as Angkor Wat/Bayon have been, and there is still some pretty picturesque vegetation on the ruins. Although needs to be said this is nowhere near to the same extent as you'd see in Ta Prohm.

    Among the most interesting features are over 70 garudas (which I believe you can also 'adopt' = i.e., pay for preservation, although the bill might come a tad high at over USD20k!).

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Banteay Kdei

    by Maria81 Updated Mar 27, 2011
    An Old Man at Banteay Kdei

    Style and Dedication:

    One of the temples that was built as a Mahayana Buddhism temple/monastery straight away, the building is in the Bayon style with Angkor Wat influences (or vice versa, but personally I saw more of Bayon in it)

    Builder:

    Jayavarman VII, in late 12th-early 13th century

    Description:

    As a Buddhist monastery, it was built on ground level as opposed to representation of Mt. Meru which are probably more common for Angkor area temples. The walled enclosure (built from reclaimed stone) contained a sanctuary, several galleries, as well as decorated courtyards and passageways between these.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    East Mebon

    by Maria81 Updated Jan 10, 2010
    East Mebon - Almost at the Top

    Style and Dedication:

    As with many temples in Angkor area, the main deity here is the Hindu god Shiva, but it also honours the parents of the king. Style is similar to that of Pre Rup, and it is also a Mount Meru rappresentation.

    Builder:

    King Rajendravarman, in the 10th century

    Description:

    Built primarily in sandstone and brick, the temple has two enclosing walls and three tiers, these tiers decorated with sculptures, in particular the elephants on the lower tiers, as well as Hindu gods Indra and Shiva.

    The top tier features 5 towers, one central and one in each corner of the platform.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Bakong

    by Maria81 Written Dec 4, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View of the Bakong Temple

    Style & Dedication:

    Bakong represents the first application of the temple-mountain architectural formula on a grand scale, and featured all the same elements that have later come to characterise te temple mountain style (i.e., moats surrounding the pyramid).

    Builder:

    Started by Indravarman I, Bakong was the work of a number of kings, with the top section and tower added much later in the 12th century.

    Description:

    Part of what is now known as the Roluos Group, Bakong sits at the center of the first Angkorian capital, HariharalayaSome of the lintel carvings, particularly on the outer towers, are in very good shape.

    The Roluos Group as a whole is much less touristy than the main circuit of temples and provides a nice diversion if you would like to have a fairly large temple mostly to yourself (or maybe I was just lucky?)

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Sra Srang

    by Maria81 Written Dec 3, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sra Srang - Reservoir and Landing Stage

    Builder:

    Kavindrarimathana, who was a minister during the reign of Rajendravarman II. It did not survive in its original shape though, having been modified by one of the most prolific builders - Jayavarman VII.

    Description:

    Not a temple this time around, but a reservoir of water with landings and some beautiful statues of nagas, garudas and a couple of guardian lions.

    Interesting Facts:

    - An excellent sunset/sunrise place as you can always count on some nice reflections in the water. However, it can get crowded on the main landing stage opposite the Banteay Kdei temple

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Pre Rup

    by Maria81 Written Dec 3, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Inside Pre Rup

    Style and Dedication:

    Temple-mountain, representation of Mount Meru, which was surrounded by a moat representing an ocean. The principal deity of the temple is Shiva.

    Builder:

    Rajendravarman, around year 960 AD

    Description:

    As with Ta Keo, there are five towers on the on the top level of the pyramid temple, one at the centre of the platform and one in each of the corners. However, there are more decorations starting from gopuras and going through to the intricate carvings on the towers of the top platform.

    Interesting Facts:

    - Pre Rup is a popular place for sunsets and sunrises, but watch those steps in the dark!
    - The name of the temple means 'turning the body' which reflects the belief that, when built, it used to be a funerary temple

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Ta Keo

    by Maria81 Written Dec 3, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ta Keo - you have to climb here :)

    Style and Dedication:

    Temple-mountain in Khleang style, representation of Mount Meru, which was surrounded by a moat representing an ocean. The principal deity of the temple is Shiva.

    Builder:

    Jayavarman V, around year 1000 CE

    Description:

    The temple, possibly the first to be built entirely of sandstone by Khmers, remains unfinished without much in the way of carvings. The temple itself has five towers on the on the top one out of the 5 levels of the pyramid.

    A Word of Warning:

    The stairs at Ta Keo a very steep, in fact I have found them much steeper than those at other temples - especially when it comes to climding up to the 5th terrace. And, unlike some of the more famous ones, Ta Keo has no wood stairs or railings to help you. I have still made it to the top though :)

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Aidy_p's Profile Photo

    Banteay Kdei: The Eastern Gate

    by Aidy_p Written Oct 13, 2007
    Banteay Kdei's Four-Faced Buddha East Entrance

    Walking through the the compound of Banteay Kdei, we followed the dirt path that led us towards the east gate. Looking pass the gate was a elongated structure known as Sra Srang - an artificial lake that would have been a lovely place to relax during the era of Jayavarman VII.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Aidy_p's Profile Photo

    Banteay Kdei: Great Symmetry

    by Aidy_p Written Sep 16, 2007
    Temple with Many Doorways

    Walking through a couple of carved doorways, I realised that it was a straight path with many doors in front of my path. It might not be anything special but it sure makes a lovely picture in terms of symmetry.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Aidy_p's Profile Photo

    Banteay Kdei: Nice Solid Window

    by Aidy_p Written Sep 16, 2007
    Nice Picture Frame

    Check out the interesting stone windows with devatas carved out on either side. Also, the carved-out windows really look like a big picture frame. You can stick your face through it to have that specially framed picture.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Ruines d' Angkor

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

83 travelers online now

Comments

Ruines d' Angkor Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Ruines d' Angkor things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Ruines d' Angkor sightseeing.

View all Ruines d' Angkor hotels