Angkor Wat is the most famous temple on the complex and the icon of Cambodia. Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1150 AD for the Indian god Vishnu. In the 13th century the temple became a Buddhist monastery. Women should cover their shoulders and do not wear shorts, to enter the temple.
Angkor covers a huge area with many impressive temples. To see the most beautiful temples, you should plan at least 2 days. The easiest way to rent a tuk tuk with a driver for the whole day at your hotel. He will take you to the temples you want to see and knows where to get food along the way. The visit Angkor on foot or by bicycle, is recommended only for very sporty and capable individuals, because of the heat, the rain and the great distances between the temples. The center of Angkor, with some restaurants, is located near the Elephant Terrace at the Royal Palace.
From the Elephant Terrace you will walk through a gate, to enter the palace district. The Royal Palace was built between the 10-12. century. The central pyramid of Phimeanakas is surrounded by several pools. The actual palace buildings were made of wood and are no longer preserved.
"Bayon" was the main temple of the new capital "Angkor Thom", built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII. Although you can find Hindu deities in Bayon, it is still a Buddhist temple. The Bayon temple is famous for the stone faces of Bodhisattva Lokeshvara, the observer of the world. Then there are the numerous murals with scenes of war, religious motives and charming dancers.
"Ta Prohm" looks just like the backdrop of a "Lara Croft" movie. The dilapidated temples are overgrown by giant trees, which slowly crush the buildings with their big roots. "Ta Prohm" was built between the 12th and 13th century under the rule of King Jayavarman VII.
The "Pre Rup Temple" is not in the dense jungle and its reddish laterite stone is quite different from the temples hidden in the forest. The temple was erected around 962, making it one of the oldest temples of Angkor. "Pre Rup" was the temple of a new capital from the time before Angkor. The three-tiered pyramid was a Hindu temple. The name "Pre Rup" means to embed the corpse. There are beautiful lion and elephant sculptures at the temple. From the top you can see the rice fields and the nearby forest.
The small Buddhist temple built in the 12th century, is dedicated to Gaurashrigajaratna, the jewel of the fortunate "White Elephant". Here you will find very well preserved reliefs. Unfortunately, these beautiful reliefs are increasingly broken from the walls by thieves. "Ta Som" is located in the north-east corner of the "Grand Circuit".
Neak Pean means devious tails, in the base are two Nagas (snakes). The temple used to be a major pilgrimage site. During our visit you could not enter the Neak Pean temple, but the way over a long boardwalk was still worth it.
Preah Kahn is a large temple formerly known as Nagarajayashri, the happy, victorious city. The complex was built between 1184 and 1191 by Jayavarman VII. The temple was not a purely Buddhist temple but also the home of many Hindu gods. The complex is surrounded by a wall, in each corner of the rectangle there is a pool of water. The temple is very weathered, but it gives an idea of the size and beauty of the former city.