Top most favourite Cambodian temple

Cambodian culture and traditions have a rich, diverse history spanning many centuries. Cambodia's culture is also heavily influenced by Indian culture.

Religion plays a big role in cultural activities and is an integral part of Cambodian life. This can be seen clearly through the architecture of communal houses and pagodas throughout Cambodia tours, such as the complex of Angkor monuments, in which the famous temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are. Let's learn interesting things about Cambodia with Threeland below!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a huge Buddhist temple complex located in the north of Cambodia. It was known as a Hindu temple when it was built in the first half of the 12th century. The total construction area of ​​the temple amounted to 400 acres. With a large area, Angkor Wat is said to be the largest religious monument in the world.
The meaning of the word Angkor in the Kmer language is "temple city", meaning as a temple of the state and an important political center. The temple was built by Emperor Suryavarman II. He was the ruler of the region from 1113 to 1150.

The design of the temple symbolizes the representation of Mount Meru, regarded as the home of the gods, according to both Hindu and Buddhist principles.

You can observe its five towers which aim to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru. While designing the walls and moat below honor the majestic mountains and sea surrounding the mountain.
You can enter the temple from the west, this is the main entrance through the first gate. You will see 2 pools, on the left is a pool full of red water lilies. Visitors to Angkor Wat Sunrise cannot ignore this fairy pool. You should go 30 minutes before to be able to see the whole sunrise in this area.

Angkor Thom (Bayon and surrounding small temples)

From the outside, Angkor Thom is a symbol of the strength of King Jayvarman VII in his huge construction program.
From Angkor Thom when translated means "great city", this place is the permanent presence of the oldest capital of the ancient Khmer Empire.
Angkor Thom was built in the late 12th century and has a total area of ​​9 square kilometers. However, this monument was abandoned in the 16th century.

List some of the most famous temples such as Bayon, Phimeanakas and Baphuon.
Bayon Temple was built nearly 100 years after Angkor Wat temple, is the largest temple in Angkor Thom complex. It was built on top of an older monument of various time periods.
The Bayon temple design consists of 54 towers representing the Khmer Empire Period (Angkor period). Visitors can observe the Golden Tower in the center with four majestic sides. It is said that those 4 faces represent Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara - Lokeshvara. At the same time, it also has the same meaning as the four faces of King Jayavarman VII to show the omnipotence and power of the king. In addition, the four smiley faces show expressions such as a charming smile, a sad smile, a happy smile, and a beautiful smile. Therefore, a total of 200 faces in Cambodia's typical culture can be expressed.

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm's original name was Rajavihara, which means "king's monastery".
Ta Prom functions as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. It was built in 1186 AD, but was later embellished and supplemented to perfection.

Ta Prom is designed with 5 large enclosing walls, up to 1 km and up to 600m wide to protect the central area.
Visitors can observe large gopuras (entrance gates) decorated with large faces of Lokeshvara in all four directions, like the Bayon temple. According to Buddhism, Lokeshvara is a bodhisattva representing the compassion of Buddha. The West Gate of Ta Prom is still well preserved, so visitors can see their intact beauty.

Surrounding the temple are large trees in the jungle, making this place even more attractive to visitors. Every year, the number of tourists coming here to visit and take pictures is very crowded, usually in the morning it will be more crowded than in the afternoon.

Neak Pean

This Buddhist temple was built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. It is said that it was built as a hospital and when someone bathes in the pool will cure illness. The meanings of the four lakes represent the natural elements water, earth, fire and water, respectively.
The central pool (replica of Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas) by a rock channel will connect the small lakes together. The stone channels are viewed by Elephants, Cows, Horses and Lions - one of the Four Great Animals. You will notice that each channel represents a large animal, except for the bull's head.

During the rainy season, the sculptures are barely visible because they are submerged in water. The whole temple is like a large pond 70 meters wide, surrounded by 4 small ponds. So they can only be seen in the dry season. The temple is built with 7 floors all of laterite.
When it was first built, each side of the temple had a door to enter. However, currently only the East door is open, the rest has been closed due to various reasons.
The distinctive false doors of this temple have Lokeshvara carvings. This is a Buddhist deity known for his miraculous healing powers. On the east entrance of the temple, there is a Buddha symbol that makes visitors feel interesting.

Ta Som

Ta Som is a medium-sized temple in the Bayon style. This temple was built as a Buddhist relic from the late 12th century.
Visitors can notice the temple's architecture and decorations typical of the Jayavarman VII dynasty. He was a king who built more structures than any other Khmer king. The Khmer temple has a face tower, so it is considered a mark of the typical Bayon style. You cannot find this imprint in other monuments in Cambodia.

Ta Som temple depicts both Hindu and Buddhist symbols. Meanwhile, the official religion of the temples of Angkor switched back and forth over the centuries to the present day.

Preah Khan

The meaning of the name Preah Khan is "Holy Sword" which is derived from Nagara Jayasri meaning "city of victory".
The Preah Khan temple was built on the site of Jayavarman VII when this king defeated the Cham invaders in 1191.
The significance of the temple is extremely large and important to the history of Cambodia. When visiting the temple, you will see the royal insignia of King Jayavarman VII that has been kept for up to a decade.

Many speculated that Preah Khan was the temporary capital of Jayavarman, while this king was preparing to leave the capital for Angkor Thom.
Previously, under many social periods, the temple was destroyed, losing many of its original values. However, after the restoration period, the temple was repaired, returning to the original original. The ancient temples are repaired to serve conservation and tourists visit.

Banteay Srei

This temple was built in the 10th century, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The meaning of the temple construction is to honor the female deities, representing strength, unity and safety in the beliefs of the Cambodian people.
Currently, it is maintained as an organization that provides social support, arts, medical support, and reproductive health education. It also builds life skills and leadership development for young Southeast Asian women affected by sexual exploitation in their communities.

Visitors coming here to visit can see Banteay Srei design which is pink quartz sandstone. Compared to the structure and design of the temple of Angkor, it is much smaller. In particular, Banteay Srei was not built by a King, so building a monument larger and more monumental than a Royal Family would be considered disrespectful. In addition, to prevent deterioration of the temple, the inner sanctuary has been closed to visitors.
Banteay Srei was built including 4 surrounding areas with a moat and distinct structure.
Visitors will see in the fourth enclosure (the outermost ring) a process walkway leading to the main east entrance of the temple. On either side of the walkway there are galleries, in which most of the sandstone pillars are still intact and sustainable.

Photographers can find carvings illuminated by the sun. Then align with a dark background to make the image more professional and unique.
You can choose to shoot early in the morning for the best quality lighting effects. You can also choose the overall angle of Banteay Srei temple from the east side of the ceiling, especially if the sun is shining on the temple, the colorful pink water lilies will pop out in the morning sun's rays, making the photo more attractive. so awesome.
As mentioned, you should go there early in the morning and take a quick photo before too many tourists. Once the bus arranges and the tour group comes in, you can walk in and be pleased that you saw something special for yourself.

Banteay Samre

Banteay Samre is designed quite flat, highly artistic showing the typical Angkor Wat style. Over the centuries, the temple has been restored, preserved, and applied the aearchlosis method of archaeologists.

This temple was built at the same time as the temple of Angkor Wat and is similar to the Phimai temple of the Khmer Thai people. Visitors can admire the intricate carvings of the temple. Archaeologists have not yet discovered all the mysteries about the history and existence of the temple.

Beng Mealea

About the same architecture as Angkor Wat but larger in size, Beng Mealea temple in the past was like a small city of 108 hectares surrounded by a moat, the temple had 3 layers of walls surrounded, at the gate were huge rocks. , in the center of the temple is a main tower 42 m high but now dilapidated, the temple has 4 libraries in 4 corners, these libraries are now in ruins.

When you go through the ruined gate, you will see the center of the temple, when you enter the center of the temple, you will see a coffin lying on the ground that is the coffin of King Suryavarman. II, but his body was not found in the coffin. According to historical records, during the war years, not only archaeologists came to discover but also gangs of grave robbers, they took away gold, silver, jewels, but also beautiful reliefs. mounted on the wall and even pushed the coffin from the pedestal to the ground.

The theory is that after King Suryavarman II died, he was cremated and then brought his ashes back to the time at Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea Temple was just a place to worship the image of the King.

The temple was built mainly of sandstone, according to research, the sandstone mine closest to the temple is 7km and is transported by an artificial canal to facilitate the movement of quite heavy stone blocks. up to 8 tons.

Phnom Bakheng 

Phnom Bakheng temple in the place of god's hill. Known for its stunning sunsets, Phnom Bakheng is the most popular spot in Angkor to end a full day of exploration. As one of the world's greatest architectural treasures, Phnom Bakheng appeared in the 2001 film "Tomb Raider" in the scene where Lara Croft first set foot in Cambodia. As soon as you get here, you will understand why the filmmakers chose this great location.

Phnom Bakheng, the tallest temple in the entire Angkor complex area, was built on the 70-meter-high Bakheng hill between the late ninth and early tenth centuries – two centuries before Angkor Wat. Known as the first and main temple of the Angkor region at the time, Phnom Bakheng's privilege of being on top of a hill seems to be the most ideal place to watch the sunset. This unique location makes Phnom Bakheng stand out among the temples of Angkor Wat.

The architecture and construction design of Bakheng temple is modeled and developed from the image of Bakong shrine located in the old capital of Rolous. 
At the top of Phnom Bakheng there is a ruined temple and Khmer artisans carved on the stone an image of a giant foot and according to legend, this is the foot of the Buddha. From the base of the temple to the top of the square tower, the height is 31 meters and connects to the surrounding small towers. 

The temple was carved from the existing rock on top of the hill in a step-pyramid style created to represent Mount Meru - the home of the Hindu gods. The whole building is surrounded by people called Yasodharapura, just over 4 km² wide (wider than later Angkor temples) and covered by a series of earthen walls. The building is rectangular, has five floors, each floor has 12 towers. The middle tower contains the linga, which is considered the most important and sacred tower. 
The seated lions are sculpted in the ring located on either side of the slope near the top. The surrounding tower has a square shape and the central tower has a pyramid shape surrounded by extremely sacred sub-towers with four towers on the top floor, five floors in the middle with 12 towers each built with symbolic baked bricks. for 12 animals with 104 smaller towers placed perfectly symmetrically. 
From the base of the temple to the top of the temple is connected with nearly 108 small towers - corresponding to the four lunar cycles, each cycle consists of 27 days, the main center of the temple is said to represent the axis of the earth. This area is considered a living astronomical calendar. A large number of details and towers have collapsed or eroded; however, some bas-reliefs are still well preserved and exist. The central temple was bordered by ruined brick walls.

Phnom Krom

Phnom Krom is a hilltop temple in Angkor, Cambodia. This temple was built in the late 9th century under King Yasovarman (889-910). Phnom Krom Temple, 12 km southwest of Siem Reap, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.

The temple faces east and has laterite walls.

Phnom Krom is the southernmost of the three hilltop temples built in the Angkor area during the reign of Yasovarman. The other two temples are Phnom Bakheng and Phnom Bok.

The hill where Phnom Krom stands is rocky; Local legend holds that the stones were exposed by the monkey general Hanuman during his hunt for medicine in the Ramayana epic. The area outside the west gate of the temple offers visitors a spectacular view of the Tonle Sap lake.

Pre Rup 

Pre Rup - (Vietnamese meaning: Temple of the Avatar) is a temple located in the ruins of Angkor - Siem Reap province. Located 25 km from the city center, the temple was built as the national shrine of King Rajendravarman in 961 and 962. This is a temple-mountain architecture that is a combination of brick, laterite and sandstone building materials.Pre Rup It is still a mystery to scientists when the gate tower is only 5 towers.

Located in the complex of Angkor complex located south of East BaRay in the complex of temples during the period of King Rajendravarman. After the reign of King Jayavarman 4] reigned, the capital at that time stretched from Angkor to Kor Ker. Located just south of East Baray, Pre Rup is arranged on a north-south axis with East Mebon being the temple, a creation of the people during the reign of King Rajendravarman. Pre Rup was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
You can see the temple has a square shape and is surrounded by four walls. From the main gate to the temple is a cluster of 5 towers located next to the wall. There should be 6 towers, but until now people still don't understand, why people don't build the 6th tower. These five towers were built along the North-South axis. As for the sixth tower, it seems that it was never built.

Through a door, continue to move up to the temple are 2 libraries located on 2 sides on a separate walking path. Entering the higher levels is the statue of stone lions sitting, there are 12 in all. At the top, five towers are arranged in a pattern, at each corner of the square is a tower and in the middle is the central tower. The carved deity stands guard at one of the two sides of the central area of ​​the tower at the East gate.

The temple was used as a place to cremate the remains of the Royal family. It is used as a crematorium, the ashes are brought directly to the shrine at the main towers of the temple. Visiting from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Located on the way to visit Banteay Srei, the temple is visited by many tourists because of its convenience and ancient features.

Rolous Group 

Roluos Group is a famous archaeological site about 15 km east of Siem Reap city along National Highway 6. This site was once the capital of Hariharalaya, the first capital of the Khmer Empire north of Tonle Sap. Hence the interpretation that the first capital in the strict sense of the term may have been Indrapura, identical with Banteay Prey Nokor).

According to archaeological discoveries, among the "Roluos Group" of temples there are some of the oldest structures built by the Khmer with their own stamp. It can be said that this temple marks the beginning of the classical period of Khmer civilization, dating back to the late 9th century.
Some parts of the temple are built entirely of bricks, others are built of laterite or sandstone. Did you know that the first major Angkorian temple built of sandstone was probably Ta Keo, Monti. At the same time, both Bakong and Lolei built modern Theravada monasteries.

Visitors can see that all three temples are of different sizes but still have a similar design.

Koh Ker

The ancient capital of Koh Ker is located in Preah Vihear province, about 140km northeast of Siem Reap city. This is the old capital under the Angkor dynasty ruled by King Jayavarman IV. The most prominent in this ancient capital is Prasat Thom temple located in the middle of a green old forest. With unique architecture, the temple is known as the pyramid of Angkor civilization.

The reason why many people call the ancient capital of Koh Ker the "fatal" ancient capital is because King Jayavarman IV allowed the construction of architectural works for 23 years (from 921 to 944). Koh Ker includes a total of 40 different temples, a 7-storey pagoda and a huge lake. However, when all was done, the king decided not to stay but moved the capital to Angkor Wat.
This place has been abandoned for a long time. So everything became desolate with moss covered the buildings. And during this time of oblivion, the capital has suffered many wounds from the war. Few people can discover Koh Ker because it is located deep in the vast mountains. It was not until 2003 that archaeologists discovered this place.

From Siem Reap you can choose a tuk tuk to go to Koh Ker in about 3 hours. If you choose to go by car, it will only take about 1 hour 30 minutes. The ancient capital Koh Ker is really a great place to visit for those who love to explore ancient architecture and ancient history.

Preah Vihear 

Preah Vihear Cambodia Temple worships the god Shiva, located on the top of a mountain in the Dangrek range, Champasak province, right next to the border between Thailand and Vietnam. It includes a series of ancient shrines and temples.
Located in a rather sensitive location, Preah Vihear Temple is not only a world cultural heritage, a unique tourist attraction but also a hotly disputed area for many times between Cambodia and Thailand.
Preah Vihear Temple was built in the 9th century, worshiping Shiva - the god of destruction and creation in Hindu legends along with the mountain gods Sikharesvara and Bhadresvara. After that, the temple was continuously completed and built new for many centuries, through about 7 kings of the old Khmer empire.

This temple has an architectural layout stretching to 800m, extending from the foot of the mountain to the top along the North - South axis. Hindus often believe that the higher the temple buildings are built, the more evidence of the supreme power of the kings who reigned at that time. Therefore, the kings of the Khmer empire built Preah Vihear temple located on a flat surface at the top of Dangrek mountain with an altitude of 625m above sea level. Unlike other temple architectures built in the Angkor period, Preah Vihear temple was built along the North - South axis instead of turning to the East according to the traditional construction of the temple on the mountain.

The layout at Preah Vihear Cambodia temple is divided into 3 distinct floors with the height increasing from north to south, a total of 120m high. The first floor is where the main gate of the temple is located, and the second floor is an architectural cluster built in the Banteay Srei style. Finally, the third floor, located on the top of the mountain, is the center of the complex.

On the first floor, there is a series of steps 7m wide, quite steep, about 150m long. This is also the way to the temple. Right on the stairs, there are two statues of 7-headed Naga snakes standing guard on both sides. Next is a yard area about 50m wide leading to the 2nd floor.

Sambo Prei Kuk

The new Sambor Prei Kuk relic site has been recognized as a world heritage site and has become a tourist attraction in Cambodia, following the complex of temples of Angkor and Preah Vihear.
About 200km from Phnom Penh, the ancient capital of Sambor Prei Kuk of the Chan Lap Dynasty, pre-Angkor period, is located on the eastern bank of Tonle Sap, among tropical forests.
In the 7th century, the capital Sambor Prei Kuk of the Chen La empire had more than 20,000 households. The Sambor Prei Kuk temple buildings are typical of the pre-Angkor period with the main building material being bricks. This is the era that has left many relics of temples, statues of gods, inscriptions inscribed in Sankris or ancient Khmer script.

On July 8, 2017, the Cambodian Government held very solemn ceremonies to celebrate the Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex being recognized as a world cultural heritage.

Sambor Prei Kuk Temple covers about 30 square kilometers with 54 clusters of temple towers. Currently, the relic site has 7 relatively intact temple clusters, of which 3 temples including Prasat Tao, Prasat Sambor and Prasat Trapeang Ropeak are open to visitors after being cleared of bombs and mines.

Coming to these 3 temple clusters, visitors will be surprised to admire the patterns created by the ancient Khmer people. The temple is made of fired bricks with a special adhesive. The carvings, sculptures as well as the shape of the temples influenced the Hindu culture that was strong in Chenla at that time.

The 19m high Prasat Tao temple, with a pair of majestic black stone lions standing in front of the temple from more than a millennium ago, has stood the test of time.

Phnom Banan 

Phnom Banan is a temple located on a mountain top, ruins of the Angkorian period. The mid-11th century consists of five prasats (towers) arranged in a quincunx (five-pointed) form that recall the design of the temple of Angkor Wat.
The Khmer ruler Udayadityavarman II, son of Suryavarman I, the king who built the temple at Ek Phnom built this temple.

Linen carvings are preserved in good condition. The high position from the top of the mountain is a peaceful spot that offers sweeping views of the area surrounding the temple.
This particular temple is located on the top of a mountain about 400 meters (1,310 ft) high in Koh Tey 2 commune, Banan district 15 km (9 mi) from Battambang province, about 165 km west of Siem Reap.

Threeland is pleased to share the above interesting information with visitors to have an interesting experience in Cambodia. We hope that your trip will be full of impressive and memorable memories.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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