Temple Hopping: Must-see temples of Siem Reap


Siem Reap, Cambodia – No tour of Siem Reap is complete without a grand tour of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park. If you have more time, you can do your own DIY tour and rent a bike. But, the best way to maximize your time temple hopping is to get a tuk tuk driver and a 3-day entrance pass. This allows you to explore the must-see temples more convenient and efficient.

Tickets must be purchased prior to starting your tour as it will be checked upon each temple entrance.

  • 1 day pass costs 20USD
  • 3 days pass cost 40USD (can visit 3 days in one week period)
  • 7 days pass costs 60USD (can visit 7 days in one month period)
40USD worth it!
40USD worth it!

To get the most from your temple visits you will need to plan a temple itinerary. There are two basic touring circuits, small circuit tour (Angkor Wat and nearby temples) and grand circuit tour (outside Angkor City – around the sides of Archaeological Park)

Angkor Archaeological Park Map
Angkor Archaeological Park Map

Since we arrived at our hotel before lunch, we decided to take the grand circuit tour first ending the day with a sunset on top of Phnom Bakheng. The next day, sunrise at Angkor Wat and continued with the small circuit tour.

DAY1

DAY2

Morning

Arrival Angkor Wat – Sun Rise
Grand Circuit Tour (Banteay Kdei, Preah Rup, East Mebon, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Preah Khan) Small Tour (Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of Elephants, Ta Phrom)

Sunset

Phnom Bakheng Cruise on Tonlé Sap lake

Tip from our personal experience: Wear light, covering clothing to protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes. Bring hat, scarf, sunglasses and apply sunscreen. Wear practical/comfortable shoes for climbing temples and walking on uneven surfaces. There’s a lot of climbing out there! 😀

Grand Circuit Tour

Grand Circuit tour includes visit to following temples which will take at least one whole day.

Banteay Kdei – a Buddhist temple which literally means ‘Citadel of Chamber’

Bantea Kdei
Bantea Kdei

Srah Srang – artificial lake outside Bantea Kdei

Srah Srang, artificial lake
Srah Srang, artificial lake

Preah Rup – belief to be place for funerals

Pre Rup
Pre Rup

East Mebon – built during the 10th century dedicated to the parents of the then King

On top of East Mebon
On top of East Mebon

Neak Pean – a temple at the center of lake whose waters are thought to cure all illness

Neak Pean
Neak Pean

Ta Som – like a miniature Ta Prohm, very photogenic face towers with trees

Tasom
Tasom

Preah Khan – huge, highly explorable monastic complex, full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities

Preah Khan
Preah Khan
The temple explorers
The temple explorers inside Preah Khan
Angkor Thom North Gate
Angkor Thom North Gate

Small Circuit Tour

Small Circuit tour includes visit to following temples including Angkor Wat which will take at least half day depending on your pace.

Angkor Thom South Gate

Angkor Thom South Gate

Angkor Wat – The largest temple in the world. The highlight of every tourists’ Siem Reap visit.

The majestic Angkor Wat
The majestic Angkor Wat

Bayon – The temple with many faces. 54 face towers to be exact.

Bayon
Bayon

Baphuon – The temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva.

Baphuon Temple
Baphuon Temple

Phimeanakas – Perhaps known as the royal chapel

Phimeanakas
Phimeanakas
Phimeanakas
Phimeanakas

Terrace of the Elephants – Used as a base for the King to observe his victory army returning

Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants

Ta Prohm – Known as the Tomb Raider temple where the magic of nature and man made this temple stand out among the others

Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm

Outside each temples you can find markets for souvenirs or drinks or if you just want to rest for a little. But maybe, you can consider buying souvenirs at Pub Street or bringing a refilled water bottle from your hotel instead. 😀

Resting a bit at one of the restaurants outside temples
Resting a bit at one of the restaurants outside temples

Going through these pictures, reminds me how great this trip was. Hoping for more trips like this on our future weekends. Yangon, Myanmar perhaps? 😀

6 Replies to “Temple Hopping: Must-see temples of Siem Reap”

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