Traveling to Cambodia? Siem Reap specifically? If you’re a temple lover, you’re in for a treat. The temples in Siem Reap are known around the world. The shining star of these temples is of course the ever famous and ever-impressive Angkor Wat. We’re sure visiting Angkor Wat is already on your list, so we’re where here to give you a list of other Angkor temples in Siem Reap that definitely should not be missed.
So, whether you have a day in Siem Reap or a couple, be sure to make plans to spend time in Angkor Archeological Park. It is unlike any place on earth and we think you won’t regret it.
The Best Temples In Siem Reap
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1) Stand in Awe at Bayon Temple (The Face Temple)
This legendary Buddha-faced filled temple stands in the middle of Angkor Thom, the former capital of the Khmer empire. Built in the late 12th to early 13th century, Bayon Temple is home to about 216 smiling faces that are scatted about the ruin-filled complex and its 54 towers. One of the most well know and honestly, one of our favorite temples in Angkor Archeological Park will leave you standing in awe.
2) Wander Around Baphuon
Baphuon is another temple located in the center of the former Khmer empire Angkor Thom. This three-tiered Hindu temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva that was constructed in the 11th century.
However, in the 15th century, the temple was converted into a Buddhist temple. When the temple was converted, part of the Baphuon was demolished and those demolished stones were used to construct a reclining Buddha on the West wall of the temple. Be sure to look hard or else you’ll miss the reclining Buddha!
3) Hang Out at Pre Rup
Pre Rup is a Hindu temple and built for the god Shiva. Constructed in the 960s, Pre Rup is believed to have been a cremation temple. Recognizable with its several shaped pyramid tiers resembling the look of a lotus flower, Pre Rup is a popular place to watch the sunset over the grounds of Angkor Park
4) Explore Banteay Srei, The Citadel of Beauty
The furthest temple away from the cluster of Angkor temples in Siem Reap is Banteay Srei. Banteay Srei translates to “citadel of beauty” and is over 1,050 years old. As you explore the citadel, you’ll notice intricate carvings on pretty much every surfacing. Depicting traditional Hindu stories, it’s easy to see why this temple was built to honor the Hindu god, Shiva.
5) See The Giant Trees at Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Temple)
Made famous by the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movies, Ta Prohm is known for its beautiful interweaving web of ruins and nature. Large roots scale the walls all while the towering trees keep eye on the grounds below. Built over 700 years ago, Ta Prohm is in much of the same condition in which it was found, which in our opinion is very impressive.
6) Visit Ta Som
One of the smallest temples in Siem Reap you’ll see is Ta Som. Made famous by the large Fig tree growing on top and around the ruins, Ta Som was built in the 12th century and consists of a single shrine. Like other temples, you’ll see Ta Som is left largely unrestored but was restabilized to make it safe for tourists to visit.
7) Walk Around The Hindu and Buddhist Temple of Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng is one of the oldest temples in Siem Reap. Built to honor the Hindu god Shiva, Phnom Bakheng structure consists of 7 levels, symbolizing the 7 heavens that makeup Hinduism’s sacred Mount Meru. Popular to sunset over Angkor Wat due to its elevated position, Phnom Bakheng is among the more stunning and impressing temples in Siem Reap.
8) Explore The Ruins of Preah Khan
Built in the 12th century is another temple located on the grounds of the former Khmer capital, Angkor Thom. Preah Khan temple is completely flat and laid out as one big giant rectangle. Much of this temple has been largely unrestored, leaving you a beautiful maze of ruin and nature to walk through.
Be sure to make your way through the whole thing. You’ll be rewarded at the end with a beautiful giant Banyan tree. And we mean do mean GIANT.
9) Wander Through Banteay Samré
Upon your arrival, you’ll notice how similar in design Banteay Samré is to Angkor Wat. Maybe not comparable in size, but in its features. Built-in dedication to Shiva, Banteay Samré houses well-preserved carvings of Hindu mythology and depictions of Buddha. Little is known when the temple was actually built but it is assumed sometime during the 12th century and has been extensively restored.
10) Check Out Ta Keo
Ta Keo is built entirely of sandstone, making it the first sandstone temple for the Khmer empire. Ta Keo is square, consisting of two terraces with five towers. Unlike the other temples you’ll see, Ta Keo lacks ornate detail carvings which indicate the temple was never complete. Complete or not, it is still ascetically beautiful and well worth a visit.
And Then Of Course, Angkor Wat Temple
Duh, right? While we are sure this is on your list, we thought a little background on Angkor Wat is never a bad thing. After all, it’s the mac daddy of temples and the among the largest religious sites in the world.
Originally constructed as a Hindu temple to honor the god Vishnu, it was transformed in the 12th century into the Buddhist site we know it to be today. Taking 30 years to build, Angkor Wat was abandoned by the Khmer Kings in the 15th century and laid forgotten for centuries. It wasn’t until a French explorer by the name of Henri Mouhot, rediscovered the Khmer city in 1860.
In the early 1900s, the French established a commission to begin restoring Angkor Wat. To this day, restoration efforts are still underway, and a portion of ticket sales go to these restoration efforts.
Siem Reap Temple Tickets
To see the above temples in Siem Reap, you’ll need to purchase a one-day, three-day, or seven-day pass. These passes can be bought at the Angkor Wat Ticket Box Office, located 12-15 minutes outside of the city center of Siem Reap.
Ticket prices are below:
- 1 Day Angkor Pass – $37
- 3 Day Angkor Pass (valid for 1 week) – $62
- 7 Day Angkor Pass (Valid for 1 month) – $72
The Ticket Box Office opens at 5:00 am and closes at 5:30 pm. Both cash and credit cards are accepted forms of payment when purchasing your Angkor Archeological Park tickets.
Tip: If you buy tickets after 5:00 pm, they are valid for the next day. This is a great option if you want to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat’s reflection pool!
Temples In Siem Reap Tours – The Grand Circuit and The Small Circuit
When making plans to visit Angkor Wat and its complex of temples, know there are established tour routes referred to as The Grand Circuit or The Short Circuit. While these are established routes, understand you and can mix it up and customize your route as you see fit, especially if you hire your own Tuk-Tuk driver or book a private tour to take you around the park.
TIP: Before paying either the Tuk-Tuk or the private tour, BE SURE to agree on any modifications you’d like to make to the Small Circuit or Grand Circuit routes. You want to ensure you see the Angkor temples you want to see and are not surprised later by having to pay more money.
The Small Circuit Tour
Great for those who only have one day in the park. The Small Circuit route covers the major highlights of Angkor Wat Archeological Park.
- Angkor Wat
- Bayon Temple
- Baphuon Temple
- Terrace of the Elephants
- Ta Keo
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdei
Two popular guided tour options are to start the Small Circuit tour with sunrise or to start a little later to experience the Small Circuit with sunset. Whichever you decided, you’ll be whisked around Angkor Wat temples and shown some of the very best Angkor Wat has to offer.
There are two other Angkor temples that sometimes are or are not included in these routes, it just depends on your tour guide or Tuk-Tuk driver. But if of interest, it’s worth seeing if you can add on Srah Srang and Phnom Bakheng to your Small Circuit route.
The Grand Circuit Tour
Unlike the Small Circuit route, the Grand Circuit route (also called the Big Circuit) includes a handful of Angkor temples on the outskirts of the complex. These Angkor temples are typically less visited by tourists when compared to the temples on the Small Circuit.
- Preah Khan
- Neak Pean (or Neak Poun)
- Banteay Prei
- Ta Som
- East Mebon
- Banteay Srei
- Banteay Samre
- Pre Rup
If you are looking to experience the temples on both the Small Circuit and Grand Circuit, you can coordinate with a Tuk-Tuk driver or look into booking a tour like this one, where over two days you’ll be whisked around Angkor Wat and the most popular set of temples. Or, if you’re just wanting to explore the Grand Circuit route, this is a great guided tour to check out.
Tips For Visiting Temples In Siem Reap
- Do not ride the elephants. Just don’t. That’s animal abuse and it’s cruel so please avoid elephant rides and tours at Angkor Wat and everywhere else you travel too.
- Dress appropriately. Be respectful in your attire (cover your chest/cleavage, shoulders, and knees) if you want to gain access to temples in Angkor Wat.
- Stay Hydrated. Ya’ll we can’t stress enough how hot it can get. Just make sure you have plenty of water and more importantly drink the water.
- Plan Ahead. Know which temples or route you want to take, book tours or guides, and have a plan for when you want to buy your tickets. Laying out a plan will take any stress of your visit away.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to be doing LOADS of walking, so be sure those little feet of yours are supported.
- Be Wary of Fake Tour Guides: You may get approached by kids or adults offering to take you on a personal tour of “x” temple you are currently exploring. Politely, but assertively decline as these are not certified guides.
- Don’t Lose Your Ticket: You need to keep your ticket on you at all times as it is common to have your ticket checked by security at the entrance of certain Angkor temples. If you lose, tear or damage your ticket in anyway, you’ll have to buy a new one.
What To Bring With You To Temples in Siem Reap
- Water: It is hot, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking so make sure you have plenty of water on you.
- Daypack: You’ll definitely want a comfortable backpack to carry your items, food and water.
- Camera: Definitely do not leave this back at your room. Also, if you have extra batteries, be sure to pack those too.
- Sunscreen: Lather up your face and body. The sun is intense and since you plan on spending a full day exploring outside, make sure you apply several times throughout the day to keep you from looking like a crispy lobster.
- Sunglasses: Again, the sun. Protect those eyes and make it easier to see.
- Hat (if needed): Yup, the sun again. Hats help block the sun further and provide you a little shade.
- Angkor Wat Ticket: 100% don’t leave this back in your room or you won’t be getting very far.
- Bug Repellent: Don’t make yourself a mosquito snack. Pack and apply buy spray.
- Cash: There are food stalls and restaurants in the park, bring some cash for food and tips for your tour guide or driver.
- Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer: It’s nice to have some clean hands when you take a break for lunch or to eat any snacks.
- Power bank: Bring a power bank to keep your phone or any other gadgets charged.
- First Aid Kit: We always have one with us in our day bag. It’s SO nice pull out a Band-Aid to cover up blisters of some Tylenol when you have a headache. We don’t want you to have a cut or headache and have to go searching for relief when you could have something in your pack instead.
Temples in Siem Reap Map
Whether you just have plans to visit Angkor Wat, all the temples in Siem Reap we listed above or a few more, understand the Archeological Park is large, so knowing where temples are is helpful.
Below, you’ll find an interactive map showcasing the temples in Siem Reap traditionally shown during the Small Circuit route as well as the temples typically shown on the Grand Circuit route. Click on the map to show what temple is what as well as zoom in and out to get a feel of the space and the complex of Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap offer’s plenty of accommodation choices for those looking to explore Angkor Wat. With the city center of Siem Reap is only 15 minutes away, staying in Siem Reap is a great choice when booking accommodations. However, if you are wanting to stay outside of the city center, there are accommodations near Angkor Wat for you to consider.
For The Budget Conscious: Looking for a humble stay? Well, look no further than Sok Phen Homestay or Dany’s Angkor Cottage. Stay in humble abodes situated among the Cambodian countryside. Enjoy cooked meals and sweet serenity at Sok Phen Homestay or Dany’s Angkor Cottage.
For The Luxury Inclined: Templation Hotel, is a luxury getaway close to Angkor Wat. With lovely rooms, an amazing pool, beautiful gardens, and friendly staff you’re in for an unforgettable stay.
For Something In Between: Located a few miles from Angkor Wat, you’ll find the beautiful Grand Venus La Residence. Grand Venus La Residence is a modern hotel featuring a massive pool and beautiful surroundings far from the noise of Siem Reap.
For more places to stay near Angkor Wat, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)