Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire that evolved from the 9th century north of the lake Tonle Sap.
The Empire encompassed much of south-east Asia, and it has had a lot of political and cultural influence on the whole region until its downfall in the 14th century. Because of this influence of the Khmer Empire and because a number of artistic masterpieces are still left, the site was placed on the World Heritage List.
The first Khmer capital erected here was Roluos. Over the next centuries, the various Khmer rulers built other capital cities for themselves in this area. It was Suryavarman II who built Angkor Wat in the early 12th century, the greatest of all Khmer monuments. Jayavarman VII was responsible for building Angkor Thom, including the Bayon (dedicated to Buddha).
Visit January 2007
Angkor possibly is one of the WHS that attracts the most visitors. The nearby town of Siem Reap is packed with hotels and other amenities for every budget. And still it's not enough, cause a lot of construction is going on to create even more of this. I stayed there for 5 days, and made 4 separate visits to Angkor. I had bought a 3 day pass (for 40 US dollar), but I easily could have stayed longer cause there's so much to see. In all I took over 300 pictures, a personal record of one site. The good thing about Angkor is that it's very diverse. So the 7th temple still is interesting.
My first round I did on a bicycle. I followed what is called the Mini Tour (or Small Circuit). This mainly focusses on Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, the two sites closest to Siem Reap and possibly the most impressive. Angkor Wat is the famous building that's on Cambodia's national flag. One of the temples in Angkor Thom is the Bayon, the one with the large smiling Bodhissatva faces.
The next day I went to Banteay Srei, one of the more remote temples. It stands out because red sandstone was used and the carvings here are very delicate. It's a smaller temple than most, but extremely pretty and in very good condition.
On the 3rd day, I decided to check out the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat. So I jumped on the backseat of a motorbike at the center of Siem Reap at 5.30 in the morning, and off we went. The now familiar road to Angkor was buzzing with all kinds of transport, hundreds of people on their way to see the sunrise. The spectacle itself I found a bit disappointing, but it's great to be out there among the monuments so early in the morning.
In the afternoon I did my final round, the Grand Circuit. This takes you along some smaller temples. One of these is Neak Pean, a circular temple in an artificial lake.
Michael Turtle - December 2015
An incredible site - one of the best in the world. To really appreciate it, you need several days. If you go flat out for one day then you'll be able to see all the 'highlights' but they're generally quite crowded. It's only by day two or day three that you start to see some of the more special ones and start to notice the details in them. It's not just about the huge buildings - as impressive as they are. It's also about the carvings and the way things have been designed for very specific purposes.
Read more from Michael Turtle here.
Olesya Rodina - November 2012
I was lucky to travel through all Cambodia in February 2007.
I spent 2 weeks there, crossing all the country from North to South.
This country has left a deep trace in my heart and I dream about another two weeks there!
My trip to Siem Reap from Aranyaprathet , a white old taxi in clouds of red dust, my fears about what was waiting for me in Siem Reap… I will never forget this!
What impressed me much then - smiling people and white shirts of school children inside of that poverty and dust…
I visited almost all the temples of Angkor Archeological park. Everything there was special!!!
I am Russian, so khmer culture was something absolutely miraculous for me!
Mostly I liked Angkor Thom with plenty of apsaras. Each of them had an enigma oh her face.
Bayon is spectacular! You feel yourself there in another dimension, absolutely out of time!
Temples and Trees of Ta Phrom will impress ANY person!
And, unbelievable, proud Angkor Wat – is something so breath-taking, that does not have analogues in all the world!
I will always keep Cambodia in my heart as a large flower of never-dying lotus with all legends and dreams of the gorgeous khmer civilization.
bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero - October 2012
For some reasons, I appreciated Angkor Wat better in the afternoon - at sunset - than during the popular and obligatory sunrise visit where all tourists to Angkor are expected start their journeys with. In either case, it was such a delight to see that Angkor still receives a lot of visitors even during off peak seasons!
Of all the many temples and ensembles I have seen, I really cherished my experience at Bayon, the 'almost secret' ground alleys of the Terrace of the Leper King, and Prasat Kravan - the last two only receiving a handful of tourists. Prasat Kravan (which has a twin temple as well in Takeo province - the Prasat Neang Khmau) is probably one of the under-appreciated temples in Angkor, but I personally think that it is one of the most unique - the murals of the central tower was indeed a find, and it has a history much older than most.
Unfortunately, I never got to feel the amazement that people usually claim to have experienced at Sras Srang (the royal bath) as it was under renovation when I last visited. Aside from the enigmatic temples in the area, I find the water system - barays and the canals - to be just as interesting and intriguing.
I could only agree that Angkor is indeed one of the best cultural wonders (if not the best) and an incredible engineering feat the world has to offer. It's definitely a topnotcher.
TIP 1: I always find that watching a performance of the Royal Cambodian Ballet (Apsara Dance and Cultural Shows) complements well one's visit to Angkor.
TIP 2: If I were to recommend, be sure to see and at least spend some time exploring Bayon, the terraces, Ta Prohm, Pre Rup, Banteay Srei, Sras Srang (after the repairs!), Prasat Kravan, Neak Pean, and Angkor Wat.
Clyde - September 2012
I visited this amazing WHS in February 2011. Angkor Wat is actually a temple complex of around 400km2 (bigger than my home country). There are outstanding sunrise and sunset moments to enjoy and it is very easy to get "templed out" after 2-3 days of intense exploration through jungle temples, major temples, minor temples, etc. The relationship between nature and the temple of Ta Phrom can be clearly seen as you try to understand whether the jungle trees or the temples came first. Some trees can still be seen growing on the temples or indeed through the temples with roots coming out of everywhere. You will surely feel observed while walking through the Bayon Temple, with the hundreds of sculpted faces smiling at you. Another one of my favourite WHS, no doubt about that.
Ian Cade - November 2010
I can imagine a few sites being the equal of Angkor, but surely there is nothing that can better it. The sheer amount of temples would be impressive, but each one seems to be some form of new masterpiece. I spent 3 days travelling around the temples and didn’t get bored; each new one was a delight. My personal favourites were the Bayon, Preah Khan and Pre Rup (all on the Grand Circuit).
I almost missed my highlight, which was an early morning where I had Bantaey Srei all to myself. The temple was magnificent, and displayed a different batch of imagery to that which is frequently used in the central Angkorian complexes. I almost didn’t make the trip out there and it was only because I decided to go to Kbal Spean and had to be back for an early afternoon bus that I was there by myself. However it was certainly worth the trip.
I can’t really add anything more to what people have already stated here. It is well worth as much time as you can spend on it. I would recommend travelling around the sites by TukTuk as it is very affordable and gives you a better view of the sites and environment.
Outstanding, the best World Heritage Site I have visited.
[Site 10: Experience 9]
Jeff Ditmire - April 2010
(April 2010). I visited Angkor in November 2009, and am still amazed by what I saw. The remains are beautiful and inspiring. The sheer size is mind-boggling. I took two days to tour Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Elephant Platform and surrounding temples..and did not even scratch the surface. The details on the reliefs draw you close to admire their craftsmanship. The emmense size of the walled cities are breath-taking. Enjoy these treasures while they last. The city of Siem Reap is a typical third world tourist city, but offers some incredible dining and shopping opportunities. I'd suggest renting a bicycle as well as riding an elephant while in Angkor.
Dina Keut - April 2009
Suppose one day you woke up from a dream of wanting to visit one of the most magnificent temples in the world. The Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia would come close to satisfying that dream.
There are few places anywhere on earth to match the splendour of Angkor Wat. The temple is one of the largest monuments to religion ever built and is truly one the wonders of the world.
I've been there 2 times already. But I always wish to go there (Angkor Wat) again. Because at there (Cambodia) have a lot of ruins to see. I luv Angkor.
Frederik Dawson - March 2009
When I see Angkor Wat, one word came into my mind “Angkor Sans Encore”; there is no need to repeat any word of Angkor’s beauty, grand and the overwhelm feeling that happen to almost everyone who see it for the first time as you can read from other posters. Two years ago I joined the trip to Southern Laos and Northeastern Thailand with an excursion to Preah Vihear of Cambodia to see many amazing ancient Khmer temples in that region. I was really impressed with their beauty and hoped one day I will have a chance to see Khmer cultural apex at Angkor, and finally on March 2009, I had opportunity to go to Cambodia and my first priority was seeing Angkor.
To be honest, all Khmer temples I saw in 2007 can not be compared with the ruins of Angkor as the art of Angkor is much more superior and offer more styles with many unique structures. Angkor does not mean only Angkor Wat, but including many ruins in the vicinity areas such as Bayon, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Pre Rup, and with specific mention in the UNESCO document, Banteay Srei and Rolous complex. My review will focus on Banteay Srei and Bakong, the main temple of Rolous complex. Both temples were constructed before Angkor Wat, but their beauty of both places, in my opinion, maybe far better.
Banteay Srei, the beautiful small pink sandstone temple, is unbelievable for its high quality of rock carving, so delicate and unique with shining pink and red. This temple is also the only temple that could be considered as completed as other temples even Angkor Wat had been left unfinished, small but truly a top sight for my trip. Bakong, a pyramid shape temple, has unique look and many similarities with Balinese temple style and is considered to be the first masterpiece on this area that believed to be the capital city of ancient Khmer Empire prior to Angkor. Visit Bakong is not easy as it is quite far from Angkor complex and not included in the typical tourist routes. This temple is not fascinating liked Angkor or Banteay Srei, but for art development, Bakong is the place where you can see the transformation of brick temple to stone temple, so I highly recommended visiting this place.
In my opinion, Khmer art is developed almost in the same style with minor change of decoration, the only thing that change is the size of temple. From small Vat Phou, Bakong, Pre Rup and Banteay Srei, Khmer expanded their temple bigger and bigger until it reach zenith of scale at Angkor Wat follow by little bit smaller but unique Bayon. As I mentioned other Khmer temples in the World heritage list, Vat Phou and Preah Vihear or even Phanomroong in the tentative list of Thailand are very inferior when compared with Angkor, if you see Angkor before you may have negative view on those sites, as I had one with Vat Phou after I saw Preah Vihear, so to avoid the problem and be more appreciated in Khmer art development, try to keep Angkor at the end of your trip, a highly recommendation.
As Khmer civilization is currently underrepresented in world heritage list, Cambodia and its neighbor country, Thailand is starting to propose more sites, and most of their proposal is pre-Angkor temple complexes. So maybe we are going to see many forgotten Khmer ruins be put into the list in the nearby future. A good way to protect their heritage or this is just another way to increase tourists in the lesser known attractions areas by using UNESCO label?
Lormout L. Khmao - February 2009
I am khmer I have been living in united state 25years I have never been to angkor not event one time. Every time I visited khmer coutry somthing always happened. My grandparent, used to tell me that if I want to visit angkor don't plant ahead because in legend believe that khmer today are built the encient city in the past life that cause a lot of life khmer, and hard labors, so that they wishes that next life they don't want to see angkor againt. I think that may be that is the thruth evry times want to visit angkor thing always happened to me for example I got fever sick, my car broke down on the way ....
anyway I always wanted to visit angkor event though I am 40s' old I never had seen angkor only heard and read about it, But never be at the place.
Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang - January 2009
I have to admit that this is one of the greatest world heritage sites!
The area spanding of hundreds of kilometres square, and could only be embraced by having an at least 3 days tour.
It is recommended to go during the dry season, although it will be dusty. But it means you could enjoy your tour without having to stop just because of the rain.
Early morning and late afternoon is the best time to take pictures there... and my personal favourite sites: Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom and Phnom Bakheng (for sunset)
Khem - July 2008
Angkor Wat is the only on of wonderful temple and this is the first time in my life that I see the very very good temple like that. Everything in Angkor is very well especially the Apsara that always smile to me whenever I looked. I introduced all my friend to visit Angkor in Cambodia. Moreover Cambodia people are very friendly. That's why, I never forget the day that I've been Cambodia
I do love Cambodia.
Sen - July 2008
I was there for the first time in late 1960s as a child.
I never forget the feeling when I was inside Angkor Wat. I felt like I was stepping back in time. It was so surreal, and of course there were a lot more statues in there back then.
We reached Phnom Kulen in the late evening. After we ate my father stepped away a little bit from us. The next thing we saw was he was running toward us saying that he can hear the tiger near by. Needless to say, we all got inside the car and left.
Pao Kruy Lim - December 2005
Hi everyone!!! I am one of Cambodia citizenship. Right now, I am living in the United States. I love My country so much, becuase there are a lot of special things which no any countries in Asia have. Angkor wat is in number 7 of the world heritages. I love Cambodia, and I have been to Angkor Wat 7 times already. It was fun, and it is the place which everyone should discover. One more special about Angkor Wat is that, Hollywood company is aim to produce many new films in this place. Since the year 2000 many hollywood films had been produced in Angkor. For example, " Tom Raider", " The ghost City", and many more. "Angkor wat is the soul of Cambodia" Pao Kruy Lim
Tan Tiang Soon - December 2005
Angkor Wat - The Ancient Architectural & Historical Wonder in the World & UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When I stepped into the Angkor Complex on my 1st day of visit, I was truly stunned and amazed.
Awesome ! Amazing !
My wish has come true !
These are my remarks, the words that I shouted and laughed with joy & satifaction when I saw Angkor Wat standing in front of me.....
Angkor Thom, The Bayon, Ta Prom....
all are truly magnificent sites!
Magul - August 2005
Not only is angkor breathtaking, but stand at a spot of your choosing, and imagine yourself surrounded by the times before its ruins. Monks walking by, soldiers guarding the royal walkways, boats and canoes align along the waterfronts. Lovers enjoying picking, champa flowers (lilies), and people of all sorts walk the busy street of this once powerful city.
To whom it may concern:
It has been three times now that I have visited the great temple of Cambodia. It's amazing everytime I looked at all those stone carvings on the stone wall, they looked so real. The Apsaras smile is fantastic, it looks so real.
I love all the temple in Cambodia. My favorite is the
Ta Prom temple. There is a tiny temple in the center of
Ta Prom where you can pound your chest and you can hear your chest sounds like a thunder, it's fantastic!
There are so many Apsaras statues needed to be renovated, also there are so many stones that have fallen on the ground and almost disappeared into the ground.
I'll be the guide to my Canadian and German friends who will visiting Cambodian temples in November this year 2005. I hope to see other temples renovated by the time we visit.
I would say that Angkor is the single most enthralling historical site I have ever seen. The range of levels of preservation is unique among such culturally important "must see" temples. You can not only see some temples in relatively very good repair, but you can also see temples that have been intentionally left as is. You get a chance to discover these temples as they were when they were first "re-discovered" nearly 150 years ago.
I have wanted to see Angkor since a friend visited in 2001 and brought back tales of a country finding a new sense of its self and its history. Despite having traveled nearly half of the world previously, I have to say I was a little nervous venturing into Cambodia. These fears turned out to be completely baseless. The Khmers are among the most friendly and genuinely nice people I have come across. When visiting many of the other must see historical sights around the world, I have been poisoned, extorted, and generally treated like the locals would rather just take my money and be done with me. This was not the feeling I got while in Cambodia.
Angkor has not yet reached the tourism levels of the Great Pyramids or the Taj Mahal and therefore still allows you the chance to occasionally have a moment alone with your awe. I went to Cambodia with the expectation of seeing Angkor Wat temple and nothing else. I was blown away by the vast amount of other temples in the Angkor complex. If you decide to make the trip, you should definitely set aside a minimum of 4-5 days to see the entire complex. Travel into the nearby countryside and check out the Tonle Sap.
Angkor, it's breathe taking monument's and carving is a must see.. i love and enjoyed every moment of my time at Angkor.
Mohan Rao Gunti
Angkor Wat - The Soul of Cambodia
Welcome to Cambodia! And discover the splendor of History, Nature, Culture and Heritage of Cambodia.
Cambodia has about everything for everyone. Apart from beautiful heritage places, smiling faces and graces that speak of genuine warmth and charming hospitality, it is rich with distinctive customs and traditions, which are visible in various aspects of architecture, art and craft. The country presents a fascinating history, diverse geography, and rich cultural heritage. Bordered by Thailand in the west, Laos in the north, and Vietnam in the east.
Its intriguing architectural and historical Wonder Angkor Wat, Tha Propham, Bayaon and many others ... Mesmerizing remnants of the past will spellbound you with endless wonders and fascination.
The ancient temple Angkor Wat is one of the greatest wonders of the oriental world. Masterpieces of decorative details as well as of architectural style, its awe-inspiring ruins survive as testament to the spectacular achievements of Southeast Asias greatest civilization. Today, Angkor is attracting world attention as a priceless heritage site and at the same time, Angkor remains an enduring monument to the people of Cambodia, their past glories, their hopes and aspirations. Angkor is a symbol of power, of greatness, of immortality. Angkor Wat and the other stone temples of the ancient capital of the Khmer were built by god-kings to link the human and the divine in life.
Angkor Thom, built in the late 11th century, covers almost four square miles and is enclosed by a 26 foot high wall. The moat surrounding it was once stocked with crocodiles. Its five monumental gates, each more more than 65 feet high, are dominated by four carved faces of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, facing north, south, east and west. In front of each gate are giant statues of 54 gods on the left, 54 demons on the right.
The Bayon rests in the center of Angkor Thom. It is a massive cluster of towers carved with 172 faces of the Bodhisattva. Its interior walls are covered with bas-reliefs, ceremonial pageants or the everyday life of 12th century Angkor.
We hope that you will take a passage through Angkor, appreciating it in its entirety, not as the scattered remains of the past but as a vital design in the cultural fabric of the Khmer world. Come and Explore Cambodia.. The Angkor experience!
Mohan Rao Gunti, Stationed at Cambodia
Just got back from an asian vacation that included Angkor. I have always wanted to see it, and it was spectacular!
It was so huge, and the temples so numerous and massive. The impact of the Khmer Rouge was very apparent; the heads of many statues had been chopped off to be sold on the black market by soldiers, the condition of the ruins in general is perilous. The guides let people touch, walk, and climb all over the temples and its grounds which has also contributed to its condition. It is truly a remarkable sight, and anyone interested in ancient culture and heritage should not miss this.
The town of Siem Reap was small, nice and safe. People were kind and friendly, and hotels were decent.
The best time of day to see the temples is at dawn or dusk. Make sure you get up early and stay till dusk. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular.
Breath-taking. Unbelievable carvings and buildings and many areas are under reconstruction. There are so many sites, it will take several days to see the major sites. Superior food and accomodations in the area. The landmine museum, a small, local place just outside of town was also interesting.
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Full name: Angkor
2004 - Removed from Danger listRemarkable improvement of the physical state of conservation
1992 - InscribedReasons for inscription
1992 - In Dangerurgent problems of conservation
The site has 36 connections. Show all
- Hospitals "The Chapel of the Hospital" - The chapel is all that remains of a hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1125-1218 r from c1181) He is credited with constructing 102 hospitals within Cambodia, inspired by his Mahayana Buddhist beliefs. In modern times he has become "a kind of paradigmatic national hero, who was credited not only with establishing the full greatness of the Cambodian nation but also with bringing into being a welfare state that was motivated by Buddhism and dedicated to serving both the spiritual and the physical needs of the Cambodian people" (Brtiannica).
- Notable Bridges South Gate Bridge
- Pyramids Baksei Chamkrong, Ak Yum and other temples are pyramidal
- Unfinished constructions Large portion of Angkor Wat and many small temples remain unfinished
- Walled cities Angkor Thom
- André Malraux arrested in 1923 for removing 7 stone statues from Banteay Srei. Sentenced to 3 years in prison, later reduced to 1yr 8mths suspended. Writes La Voie Royale based on this experience ("The characters go on an expedition in the jungle, along the ancient royal road. The first seeks marketable objects, the other wants to find an old lost friend" - Wiki)
Religion and Belief
- Hindu Sites in non Hindu countries Construction commencend in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. It was converted to a buddhist temple in the late 13th century when King Jayavarman VIII, who was Hindu, was deposed by his son in law,Srindravarman. Srindravarman had spent the previous 10 years in Sri Lanka becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk.
- Theravada Buddhism
- Built in the 9th century First capital from 802, earliest remaining temples date from ca. 880. Lots of later additions though, Angkor Wat for example dates from the 12th century.
- Depicted on National Flag Angkor Wat
- First inscriptions Cambodia 1992
- Located in a Former Capital Khmer Empire
- Location for a classic movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2001, Lord Jim 1965
- On Banknotes Angkor Wat; Several; 1996, 2001
- One million visitors or more 2,000,000
- Replica in Legoland Legoland Malaysia
- Sound and Light Show Angkor Wat (since 2006)
- Tobu World Square
WHS on Other Lists
- Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible heritage Royal ballet of Cambodia - closely associated with the Khmer court; the origins of Khmer classical dance in the style seen today are disputed. Cambodian scholars, such as Pech Tum Kravel, and French scholar George Groslier have claimed Khmer classical dance as a tradition maintained since the Angkor period (wiki)
- U.S. Ambassadors Fund Conservation of the 10th-Century Temple of Phnom Bakheng, Phase II (2011); Conservation of the 10th-Century Temple of Phnom Bakheng (2008)
- World Monuments Watch (past) Angkor Archaeological District (1996)