A tour of Cambodia gives a perfect opportunity to explore a few UNESCO world heritage sites. The most famous is Angkor Wat (recognised in 1992), an archaeological park deep in the forests of Siem Reap province and site to some of the most magnificent temples. The other is the Temple of Preah Vihear (recognised in 2008); an ancient Hindu temple located on 525 m cliff in the Dangrek Mountains.
A must-see site to include on the Cambodia travel package itinerary is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. This site is truly incredible and spans a total area of 155 mi². It has an extensive system of waterways, communication routes, and complex of elaborate temples that dates back to the Khmer Empire.
Once inhabited by 1 million people and one of the greatest cities in the ancient world, this complex of temples is very extensive with plenty of villages throughout the area. Many date to the Angkor period.
The most famous complex is Angkor Wat. The work to build this sacred and ancient site started in the 12th century for Khmer King Suryavarman II - though it was later neglected and abandoned for nearly 700 years. This Temple stands at a total height of 213 feet (similar to the height of the Notre Dame Cathedral) and used a similar amount of stone to the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
The entire process of building Angkor Wat made use of over 300,000 artisans and builders, and took in the region of 32 years to complete. All parts of the Temple complex were built without relying on any form of mortar and the stones were assembled before the process of carving took place.
Even though Angkor Wat is the most famous of the temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park, there are still plenty of other nearby temples that are well worth a look. Ta Prohm (the Tomb Raider temple), Preah Khan and Bayon are just a few of the other interesting temples to visit.
The very best tour experience of the temples on the Cambodia Package Holiday is possible by hiring one of the English-speaking tour guides who has the ability to provide in-depth background and history to the different temples
Temple of Preah Vihear
The Temple of Preah Vihear is located atop a cliff in the Preah Vihear province and is dedicated to Shiva. It was built in the 9th century and approx. 180 km from Angkor Wat, and close to the Thailand border (disputes over the ownership of this temple have been ongoing between the two countries).
This Temple complex has a spectacular setting and one of the most striking structures constructed throughout the six centuries of Khmer Empire. Because of its importance, this temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva continued to be modified and supported for centuries by successive Kings which lead to a few noticeable architectural styles.
This unique architectural complex is composed of a variety of sanctuaries that link a series of staircases and pavements and extends along an 800 m axis. It provides a stunning piece of Khmer architecture, in relation to its spectacular landscape and decoration.
The well-preserved natured of this site is mostly thanks to its remote location. This temple is appreciated for its outstanding architecture which is adapted to its religious function and natural environment of the temple, and well worth a visit on the Indochina tour packages. Other areas to impress include the high standard of carving for the stone ornamentation.