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10 Best Temples in Cambodia You Should Not Miss

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As one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is especially famous for its beautiful and gorgeous temples, from the planet’s largest temple Angkor Wat, and the Ta Prohm Temple hidden in the jungle to the sandstone-faced pyramid-like Koh Ker Temple, and even some of the pre-Angkorian monuments. With a long and complex history, Cambodia’s religious development is winding and diversified. Though its main religion is Buddhism, it had a long time rooted in Hinduism in history. As a result, today you can observe many famous temples with a typical Hinduism influence. Visiting these temples, you can not only take in the architectural beauty but also learn about the complex culture of the ancient country. Here we just list the 10 best temples in Cambodia. Grab your camera to have a great temple adventure!

1. Angkor Wat - the Largest Temple in Cambodia

If you can only visit one temple in Cambodia, then this magnificent temple must be your first choice. Built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century, it is the best-preserved temple in Angkor. Angkor Wat is also one of the largest religious monuments in the world. Nevertheless, not only the sheer size alluring visitors but also the intricacy of the religious structure stops people in their tracks. The temple has 5 concentric rectangular walls, galleries, and a 190m-wide (623 ft.) moat. The central structure has three floors made of laterite. The intricate carvings and motifs can be seen everywhere. A warm tip to visit the sacred religious site is that visitors should dress modestly.

 

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
Angkor Wat

If you want to visit the highest level of the temple, then wearing clothes with upper arms covered and shorts to the knees is necessary.

Location: Krong Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia

Opening hours: 5 am – 5:30 pm (Bakan Sanctuary opens from 7:30 am)

Entrance Fee:

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

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2. Koh Ker Temple - the Sandstone-faced Pyramid-like Hindu Temple

Situated about 120 kilometers (75 mi) away northeast of Siem Reap, the 30 meters (98 ft.) high pyramid temple is easy to reach by a 3-hour car ride. Koh Ker once served as the capital city of the Khmer Empire from 928 to 944, and it has preserved over 40 ruins. The most outstanding one is undoubtedly the pyramid-like Prasat Thom. This temple has a totally different architectural style compared to other Angkor temples, more similar to Mayan temples in South America. The amazing temple has 7 levels with one steep stair. Climbing to the top, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of shady trees and ruins.

 

Cambodia Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple

Location: Kulen district, Preah Vihear province, Northern Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: US$15 for adults; Free for children under twelve years old

3. Bayon Temple - the Iconic Buddhist Temple with Smiling Faces in Angkor

Located in the heart of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple is one of the must-visit temples in Cambodia. The mesmerizing temple was built in the 12th century and served as the state temple of King Jayavarman VII who is said to be Cambodia’s most celebrated king. The iconic Buddhist temple features 54 Gothic towers with 216 giant smiling faces of Avalokitesvara and each face has a height of about 4 meters (13 ft.). More than that, there are a lot of extraordinary bas-reliefs around the temple and you will be amazed at this architectural wonder.

 

Angkor Wat Bayon Temple
Bayon Temple

Location: Angkor Archeological Park, Krong Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the temple pass for the Angkor Archeological Park

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

4. Banteay Srei - the Lady Temple of Hindu style

Also known as the Lady Temple or the Temple of Women, Banteay Srei is dubbed the art gallery of Cambodia. This Hindu temple’s ancient history can date back to the 10th century and it was built to dedicate to the Hindu god Shiva. Though having a smaller size compared to other Angkor temples, it is no less brilliant. The wonderful temple is well-preserved and features elaborate stone carvings, some of which are even three-dimensional. You can observe the delicate women carving dressed in traditional skirts with lotus flowers in hand. There are also some reliefs depicting many classic mythological Hindu events.

 

Banteay Srei Temple
Banteay Srei

Location: Angkor, near the hill of Phnom Dei, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the temple pass for the Angkor complex

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

5. West Mebon - the Hindu Temple in the Center of Angkor’s Largest Reservoir

Situated in the center of West Baray reservoir, about 4 kilometers (2.4 mi) west of Angkor Thom and10 kilometers (6.2 mi) northwest of Siem Reap, West Mebon is a small Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. The temple was built on a square design and some of the earliest examples of carvings featuring animals can be found here. As it is surrounded by water, it can be reached by taking a boat, especially in monsoon season. It can also be accessed by motorboats through the land during the dry season. It is a less visited temple suitable for someone who wants to venture off the beaten track.  

 

West Mebon Temple

Location: within the West Baray reservoir, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the Angkor temple pass

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

6. Ta Prohm - the Buddhist Temple Swallowed by the Jungle

Ta Prohm Temple can be considered the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor. This breathtaking complex was a Buddhist temple ordered to build in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII and it was dedicated to his mother. It is an other-worldly experience to visit the temple which is only 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) east of Angkor Thom. Large tree roots just clutch to the crumbling stone walls and some even topple the stone walls. The venerable ruin, invasive giant tree roots, delicate bas-reliefs, impressive carvings, along with ancient trees together contributed to the most photographed temple complex of Angkor.

 

Angkor Wat Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple

Location: Angkor Archaeological Park, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the Angkor temple pass

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

7. Neak Pean – the Tiny Island Temple

Sitting in the center of a circular island of Jayatataka Baray, Neak Pean is a small temple dedicated to the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara. Neak Pean means“the entwined snakes” in English. The name comes from its unique structure which has a sandstone sanctuary encircled by two Naga snakes. The two entwined snakes just guard the temple’s east entrance. Apart from that, the central pond of the island is said to represent Anavatapta, which is considered the central lake of the world by Buddhists and its water can have medicinal properties to heal illness. The tiny temple just hides a lot of legends for your exploration.

 

Neak Pean Temple Cambodia
Neak Pean Temple

Location: Jayatataka Baray, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the ticket for the Angkor Park

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

8. Beng Mealea - the Most Mysterious Jungle Khmer Ruin

This temple is also known as Boeng Mealea, located about 40 km (25 mi) east of the main temples of Angkor Park and 68 km (42 mi) northeast of Siem Reap. Though not very close to the Angkor complex, it is indeed one of the core Angkor Wat period temples. It is worth taking the time to explore the mysterious jungle temple thoroughly. Enclosed by a massive moat, the temple’s central part has collapsed. However, that does not affect its beauty at all. You can see many impressive carvings and a well-preserved library. It is also possible for you to climb the large mossy stones of the ruins to explore the ancient Hindu temple.

 

Beng Mealea Temple

Location: Beng Mealea village, Svay Leu District, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the ticket for Angkor Park since 2020

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

9. Sambor Prei Kuk - the Pre-Angkorian Monuments

Only about a 40-minute drive from Kompong Thom, you can reach Sambor Prei Kuk which served as the capital city in the early 7th century and later in the Angkorian era it was still an important learning center. The ancient history endows it with some of the oldest and most impressive pre-Angkorian monuments in Cambodia. As the country’s third Unesco World Heritage site, the main temple area is composed of three complexes, having more than 100 brick temples hidden in the jungle. Do not miss a chance to go sightseeing the epitome of Khmer art and architecture.

 

Sambor Prei Kuk Temple
Sambor Prei Kuk Temple

Location: Prasat Sambor​ District, Kampong Thom Province, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Entrance Fee: US$10 per person (an extra US$6 if you want a local guide)

10. Banteay Kdei - “the Citadel of Chambers”

Also called “the Citadel of Chambers” and “Citadel of Monks’ cells”, Banteay Kdei is a charming Buddhist temple built in the 12th century. With typical Bayon architectural style, the temple is free from crowds and offers a much more “wild” temple exploration than other restored temples as it is starting to decay and has never been restored before. Visitors can enjoy its pristine beauty and serenity while strolling around the collapsed galleries and structures.

 

Banteay Kdei Temple
Banteay Kdei Temple

Location: Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: included in the ticket for the Angkor Park

US$37 for the one-day pass

US$62 for the three-day pass

US$72 for the seven-day pass

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