Guide To The Temples in Siem Reap

There are many guides, and tips for traveling in Siem Reap, Cambodia you can find on the internet but if you want to have an unforgettable adventure in the grandeur of its ancient temples in Siem Reap, we have something special for you! From the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat to the enigmatic Banteay Srei, and the hidden gem of Ben Mealea, our travel guide will take you on a journey to discover the most famous and impressive temples in the world. With insider information, you’ll have an unforgettable cultural experience in this charming and vibrant city. Pack your bags and get ready for a journey of a lifetime!

Angkor complex

Discover the Angkor complex is an absolute must-visit destination for those seeking a thrilling adventure into the heart of ancient history. Nestled in the charming city of Siem Reap, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts awe-inspiring temples and spellbinding ruins that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Khmer Empire. The complex spans over 400 square kilometers and dates back to the 9th century.

The Angkor complex is home to dozens of temples, each with its own unique architectural style and historical significance. Some of the highlights include:

Angkor Wat: The largest and most iconic temple in the complex, which is known for its intricate carvings and impressive size. It represents paradise and Vishnu’s residence on earth. The central tower symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, which is the center of the Universe, and the moat around symbolizes the Ocean of Milk, from where gods were getting the immortal elixir. Architecture lovers would be interested to see and learn how the moat is used to support the basement of the temple and how water was used for the construction. Another interesting fact about Angkor Wat is that on the day of the equinox, the sun rises just above the central tower of this temple. 

Bayon Temple: Located in the center of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple features dozens of massive stone faces that seem to stare out at visitors from every angle. Depending on the angle of the light covering the faces during the day, they change their mood from calm to angry, from happy to sad. 

Ta Prohm: This temple is famous for the way its massive trees have grown around and through the stone structures, creating a truly unique and otherworldly atmosphere. It is also known as the temple of Angelina Jolie, as it was filmed in Lara Croft: The Thomb Rader movie with this actress in the main role. Don’t miss to admire the wall carvings of the temples, during the time Ta Prohm was built, is known for incredible carvings. Also, try to find the image of the dinosaur there.  

Working hours: Angkor Complex is open daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Please note, that some temples have different opening hours.

Location: 7 km from the center of Siem Reap. It is easily accessible by tuk-tuk or car.

Ticket: The admission fee for a one-day pass is $37, a three-day pass is $62, and a seven-day pass is $72. Tickets can be purchased at the main entrance or online.

Banteay Srei 

Have you heard about Banteay Srei – a 10th-century temple complex, which have been known earlier as Banteay Serai – Citadel of Victory? It is famous for its intricate and well-preserved carvings, which are considered some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The temple complex is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is known for its unique pink sandstone construction. Interestingly, Banteay Srei is the only temple in the Angkor region that was not built by a king, but rather by a wealthy courtier named Yajnavaraha.

Banteay Srei is the main temple in the complex, but there are several other smaller temples nearby, including Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup, and Phnom Bok. The highlights of Banteay Srei include the intricate carvings of devatas (celestial nymphs) and apsaras (heavenly dancers) that adorn the walls of the temple. These factors have led to its being widely praised as a “precious gem” and interestingly, the carvings at Banteay Srei are so intricate and delicate that they are said to have been carved by women, rather than men. In fact, the temple’s name has changed from the formal name to Banteay Srei, which translates to “Citadel of Women” in Khmer.

Working hours: Banteay Srei is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Location: About 25 km northeast of the main Angkor Complex. It is accessible by car, tuk-tuk, or motorcycle.

Ticket: The admission fee for Banteay Srei is included in the Angkor Complex ticket, which costs $37 for a one-day pass, $62 for a three-day pass, and $72 for a seven-day pass.

Roluos Group

The Roluos Group is a collection of three early Angkor-era temples located near Siem Reap, Cambodia. They are famous for their historical significance as the first major temples built by the Khmer Empire, dating back to the late 9th and early 10th centuries. 

The Roluos Group consists of three main temples: Bakong, Preah Ko, and Lolei. The Bakong temple is the largest and most impressive of the three, with five tiers and a central sanctuary surrounded by smaller satellite temples. Preah Ko is a smaller temple with six brick towers that were originally dedicated to the ancestors of King Indravarman I. Lolei is a smaller, more compact temple that is known for its beautiful carvings and detailed brickwork.

One of the most fascinating things about the Roluos Group temples is their impressive architectural and decorative features. You will be awed by the intricate carvings and decorative brickwork that adorn the temples’ walls, columns, and lintels. And did you know that the Bakong temple is particularly notable for being the first temple to use the stepped pyramid design, so similar to the mesoamerican pyramids? 

But that’s not all! The Roluos Group temples are also surrounded by beautiful and tranquil landscapes, including rice paddies, palm trees, and small lakes. This creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and meditation.

Roluos group offers a fascinating glimpse into the early days of the Khmer Empire, and their impressive architectural and decorative features are sure to leave you in awe.


Working hours: The Roluos Group is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Location: About 13 km east of the main Angkor Complex. It is accessible by car, tuk-tuk, or motorcycle.

Ticket: The admission fee for the Roluos Group is included in the Angkor Complex ticket, which costs $37 for a one-day pass, $62 for a three-day pass, and $72 for a seven-day pass.

Beng Mealea 

As you explore the temple complex, you’ll be awed by the sheer scale and grandeur of Beng Mealea’s architectural features. The temple’s style is similar to that of the famous Angkor Wat, with towering walls, intricate passageways, and ornate carvings that are sure to impress.

Beng Mealea has a fascinating history that sets it apart from other ancient temples. Despite being built in the 12th century, the exact function and purpose of the temple are still a mystery. Some historians speculate that Beng Mealea served as a prototype for the Angkor Wat, while others suggest that it may have been used for military purposes.

Apart from its enigmatic past, Beng Mealea has also been a popular filming location for Hollywood movies, including “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” As a result, it has become a must-visit destination for adventurous travelers. The remote and mysterious location of Beng Mealea adds to its allure, making it a thrilling destination to explore.

Working hours: Beng Mealea is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Location: About 60 km east of the main Angkor Complex. It is accessible by car, tuk-tuk, or motorcycle.

Ticket: The admission fee for Beng Mealea is $5 per person and can be purchased at the ticket booth near the temple.

Koh Ker

Koh Ker complex is one of the most mysterious places in Cambodia. These remote temples are the least studied places from the Angkor period. Much of what was known about the site was destroyed during the Khmer Rouge days, and the temples were opened to the public not long ago. Koh Ker is set in the jungle between the Dangrek, Kulen, and Tbeng Mountains. Depending on what time of year you visit, you might find the ruins shrouded in green or completely exposed between barren trees. 

The complex was built in the 10th century, when King Jayavarman IV moved the capital to a new location, and Koh Ker was the capital just for 20 years. Despite this short reign, the number and appearance of the structures built are awe-inspiring. Although much of the area is still covered by jungles, You can explore a dozen temples as part of the complex.

The main attraction of Koh Ker is the Prasat Thom, which includes the massive 7-tiered pyramid, known as the Death Pyramid. This pyramid is unlike any other structure found in Asian architecture and is more reminiscent of mesoamerican pyramids, adding to the allure of the site. At the top of the pyramid is a well, which is steeped in legends and symbolism. According to local lore, the well symbolizes the unification of heaven, earth, and the underworld, and the pyramid was built to bury the king’s body. Other legends suggest that inside the temple there is an underground chamber or tunnel to a secret place, or even that the well was used to sacrifice victims to honor Mara, the goddess of death.

Unfortunately, Koh Ker is suffering from looters, and most of the most impressive sculptures were taken and continue to trade on the black market. Some of them were returned to Cambodia and you can see them at Phnom Penh National Museum.  

Working hours: Koh Ker is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Location: Around 120 km from Siem Reap. It is on the same road as Ben Mealea, so you can combine visiting both temples in one trip. 

Ticket: The ticket price is $10 per adult,  and it can be purchased in the Beng Mealea ticket booth.


How to explore these temples

There are a plethora of exciting activities to engage in at each temple complex in Siem Reap. You could opt for hiring a guide to gain more insights into the historical and cultural significance of the temples or take a guided tour to explore the intricate carvings and architecture. Alternatively, you could explore the complex and the surrounding countryside on a bicycle or witness the stunning sunset from one of these serene locations.

For a truly unforgettable experience, you could opt for a hot air balloon ride over the temples of Angkor Complex, enjoying a unique and breathtaking view. In addition, many of the temple complexes offer traditional Apsara dance performances and other cultural shows that are not to be missed. You could also indulge in some authentic Khmer cuisine at one of the local restaurants, or browse the local markets for souvenirs and handicrafts.

For those interested in photography, the temple complexes provide endless opportunities for capturing stunning shots, whether it be the intricate carvings, the colorful prayer flags, or the serene surroundings. You could also take a traditional ox cart ride through the countryside, providing a unique and authentic way to explore the area.

Overall, the temple complexes in Siem Reap offer a wide range of activities to suit every interest and preference. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a peaceful escape, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at these ancient and awe-inspiring sites.

Travel Tips

To make the most of your visit to the temples in Siem Reap, it’s best to plan your trip during the dry season (November to March), as flooded roads during the rainy season can make accessing the temples difficult. While exploring the expansive temple complex, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water.

It’s crucial to respect the temples and their rules, such as refraining from climbing on the ruins or touching the carvings. Please also wear modest clothes covering your shoulders and knees. 

Some temples are located in the jungle, which can be humid and buggy. Be sure to bring insect repellent and extra water. You should plan to spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the temple complex and its surrounding areas.

Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun by bringing sunscreen and a hat, as the temples are located in open areas and can get very hot. By following these guidelines and being prepared, you can have a memorable and enjoyable experience exploring the stunning temples in Siem Reap.

Beng Mealea and Koh Ker have been cleared from the landmines not long ago and some areas behind the main roads are still not safe. Please pay attention to the signs indicating areas with landmines and take them seriously. 


That is all the things we want to share with you. So let’s pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure to the past! Let us help you plan an unforgettable trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of its beautiful temples.

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