Angkor Temples: An Introduction
Although it began to disintegrate in the late 13th century, Angkor, in its many evolving forms, was the capital city of the old Khmer empire from the 9th century to around the 15th. The largest pre-industrial city in the world, Angkor was home to over a million inhabitants and around 1000 temples. These were originally dedicated to the Khmer gods, with many converted to Buddhist worship in later years.
Today, the temples range from evocative piles of rubble in the middle of a paddy field, to the astounding Angkor Wat, which is the largest single religious monument in the world. Many of the larger temples have been beautifully restored, and are well cared for by teams of experts from around the world.
It is possible that the ruins of Angkor are, in many ways, more impressive today than when the great city was in its heyday. Over time the effects of the sun, rain and wind have softened the sandstone blocks and carvings, which would have appeared rather garish when freshly cut and brightly painted. The majority of the ruins are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Tonlé Sap Lake (the Great Lake) near modern day Siem Reap, and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What about the crowds?
Our qualified guides understand the importance of minimising the impact of crowds. All are highly skilled at ensuring minimal crowds. They access the various temples via lesser-known approaches, and at the quieter times of the day. This helps us ensure that every day you spend at the site is second-to-none.
How many days should you allow for touring the Angkor Temples?
How long is a piece of string!? We generally recommend two or three days, although many choose to stay longer. It's wise to account for time away from the temples during your stay, to avoid getting 'templed out'. Siem Reap is one of the most accessible cities in Cambodia, so it’s worth stopping to enjoy some of the highlights it has to offer.
A picture speaks a thousand words...the real thing may render you speechless.