Are you looking for an unforgettable experience? Look no further than the ancient city of Angkor. Located in northwestern Cambodia, Angkor is home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring ruins and temples. There are plenty of places to explore, from the iconic Ta Prohm temple to the mysterious Beng Mealea temple. Here are seven hidden gems that you must visit when exploring Angkor.
- Ta Prohm Temple
One of the most exemplary temples in Angkor, Ta Prohm, is a must-visit spot for any traveler. Built-in 1186 by King Jayavarman VII, this temple was once home to more than 12,000 people and featured intricate stone carvings that have since been reclaimed by nature. Today, Ta Prohm is one of the best examples of how nature can reclaim an artificial structure over time.
2. Bayon Temple
Constructed around 1181 by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon Temple is one of the most impressive structures in Angkor. The temple features 54 towers with four faces, each pointing in different directions. It also features intricate bas-reliefs depicting scenes from everyday life during that period and religious stories and legends.
3. Banteay Srei Temple
The Banteay Srei temple is considered one of the finest temples at Angkor because it showcases some of Southeast Asia’s most detailed and intricate stone carvings. Built around 967 AD by Yajnyavahara, this red sandstone temple features sculptures depicting Hindu gods such as Vishnu and Shiva and plenty of other figures from Hindu mythology.
4. Banteay Kdei Temple
Another stunning temple at Angkor is Banteay Kdei, built between 1100 – 1150 AD under King Suryavarman II’s reign. This sizeable Buddhist monastery showcases four levels surrounded by intricately carved walls depicting scenes from Buddha’s life, including his departure from his family home and his entrance into nirvana or enlightenment under a sacred Bodhi tree.
5. Preah Khan Temple
Preah Khan was built around 1191 by King Jayavarman VII and was used as both a Buddhist monastery complex and a military base at different points in its history until being abandoned in 1596 due to war with Thailand (then known as Ayutthaya). Today, visitors can explore this sprawling complex featuring numerous chambers decorated with artwork from multiple religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism.
6. Neak Pean Temple
Neak Pean is located on an artificial island on an ancient reservoir known as Indratataka, which used to provide water for irrigation purposes for nearby agricultural lands during medieval times. The temple consists of an octagonal pool surrounded by five small towers connected via stone bridges, each representing different aspects of Buddhism or Hinduism. Its name translates to “The Intersection Of Heaven And Earth,” signifying its spiritual and geographical importance within historic Cambodian culture.
7. Beng Mealea Temple
Beng Mealea is believed to have been constructed around 1113 under King Suryavarman II’s reign, but it was left unfinished due to war with Ayutthaya Kingdom. Although much less popular than other temples at Angkor, it still offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore what remains of this once-great structure that nature reclaimed over time.
If you want a memorable vacation, look no further than exploring the ruins of ancient Angkor. From Ta Prohm’s iconic architecture to Neak Pean’s spiritual significance, plenty of hidden gems are waiting for you within these old walls. So if you’re ready for a truly unique adventure, book your ticket today! You won’t regret it!