Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire for over five centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of the most visited archaeological sites anywhere in the world now that the problems of Cambodia have been consigned to history. There are few people who will not have seen a photograph of Angkor Wat at one time when they have browsed travel pages on the Internet or in magazines. The Cambodian flag includes the image of Angor Wat, such is its importance to the Country. If you are on a Cambodia tour, you are certain to visit this important site.
The site is quite large; 400 square metres so a Cambodia tour package is likely todevote a reasonable time to the region which is fairly close to Siem Reap. There are around 1,000 temples, some in good condition and others in good condition. UNESCO was concerned about restoration of some and the general preservation of the site and until 2004, it was on the list of sites ‘’in danger.’’ Work has been done but the huge popularity of Angkor with tourists (2 million a year) is a danger in itself.
A guide is important in order to see the main highlights of Angkor which is why you should consider an experienced travel agent to arrange your Cambodia travel package. In all likelihood, it will include:
• Angkor Wat is the main attraction. There is no religious monument in the world to rival it in terms of size with the outer wall and moat 3.6 kilometres long. Inside, there is plenty of open space as you take the path to the main temple where you can see the Hindu stories portrayed on the walls as well as climb the central tower to get a view across the site.
• The Bayon is famous for its carved stone faces on the towers. There was as many as 200 at one time. There are some dark passageways and stairways before you reach the top.
• The Baphuon is a high temple with steep staircases, not all of which you are permitted to climb, even if you are fit enough to do so. A good deal of restoration work has been done on the Baphuon. At its summit, you will get great views, especially of city of Angkor Thom in which it is located.
• Phimeanakas is close by, and of a similar design. You can enjoy a visit even if you don’t climb the staircase. It dates back to the 10th Century when there would have been a tall tower as well.
• Thommanon is fairly small but worth a few minutes of your time. It is the carvings that make it stand out and they are in fairly good condition so that you will get a real feel for what others may have looked like in the past.
• Chau Say Tevoda is just across the road and is similar to Thommanon both in design and size. Certainly, the two will take less than half an hour to visit if your time is short.
• Ta Keo is made completely of sandstone and is one of the oldest at Angkor. There are five tiers with stairs either side and at one time it is thought there would be a surrounding moat.
• Ta Prohm’s popularity comes from the fact it has been left as it was found, with the jungle’s vegetation growing within and around it. It was used in the Hollywood film, ‘’Tomb Raider’’ because of its unique appearance.
• Banteay Kdei is a smaller version but it has been restored by the removal of the intruding vegetation.