The province of Siem Reap is conveniently situated 314 km northwest of Phnom Penh, along National Road No 6. Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor temple complex, which includes the magnificent Angkor Wat. The city of Siem Reap, also the capital of the province, is a 'must-visit' destination for all visitors to Cambodia. This is where the glorious 12th Century Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious building in the world, is located. Situated on the northern bank of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, this mesmerizing eighth wonder of the world can be easily accessed by plane, land, and boat. The ruins of Angkor, located in thick jungle, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over one thousand temples ranging in scale from nondescript piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat–the best-preserved temple.
Constructed for King Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century, it is the best-preserved temple and is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.
Angkor Wat, which literally means 'City Temple', is a Hindu temple complex built to replicate the heavens on earth.
It was established in the late twelfth century to early thirteenth century by King Jayavarman VII. This site is situated 1.7 Km north of Angkor Wat, within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors.
Angkor Thom is a very popular tourist spot.
Built at the centre of King Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha.
Bayaon is a richly decorated Khmer temple built in the late twelfth century or early thirteenth century.
Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance to their religious preferences.
Banteay Srei Temple
This was the only major temple at Angkor not built by a monarch; its construction is credited to a courtier named Yajnavaraha, who was a scholar and philanthropist and a counselor to king Rajendravarman. He was known to have helped those who suffered from illness, injustice or poverty.
Consecrated in 967 A.D, Banteay Srei was speculated to have been known earlier as Banteay Serai, which literally means the Citadel of Victory.
It is a Hindu temple originally built in the form of a temple mountain dedicated to Shiva. Historians believe that Phnom Bakheng was in its heyday, the principal temple of the Angkor region. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya in the Roluos area located to the southeast.
Phnom Bakheng was constructed more than two centuries before the Angkor Wat.
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm, a Bayaon style temple, is believed to be built in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. It was founded by King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university.
Ta Prohm, a Bayaon style temple, is believed to be built in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.
Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found where the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.
Kulen Mountain National Park
It is an isolated mountain massif located in Svay Leu District and some 48km from Siem Reap. Its highest point is 487 meters. This is widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire.
The Kulen Mountain or Phnom Kulen is declared as a National Park.
During the constructional period of the ancient temples in the nineth century, sand stones were brought from this sacred mountain to Angkor. It was here at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 A.D.
Angkor National Museum
On display are thousands of important Buddhist and Hindu sculptures from the various Angkor temples.
The Angkor National Museum is classified as one of Cambodia's premier museum sites.
Cultural Village Centre
In all, eleven villages or sectors, each a showcase of different landmarks and providing a peek into the lifestyles of the people from various provinces including the ethnic minorities.
The Cambodian Cultural Village is designed to provide tourists with an excellent insight into the life and culture of the Cambodians; their traditions and practices, etc.
Like the one in Phnom Penh, the Angkor Night Market is also designed to give visitors a secure and enjoyable shopping and dining experience in a vibrant, contemporary Khmer environment. Both these night markets offer a wide variety of stalls offering a diverse range of goods and services.
A 'must visit' when in the vicinity.
River of One-Thousand Lingas – Kbal Spean
Along the river of Siem Reap, there are a lot of figures of Yoni and Linga spreading out at its bottom. This holy place must have been favored during the great Angkorean epoch when its waters, after having washed gods and lingas, continued on to the wondrous royal city with its growing monumental temples.
It is located at the foot of the mountain.