There are many temples in the Siem Reap area. Your itinerary will depend on how much time you have and your level of interest.
The mass of tourists, visiting Siem Reap, come to see Angkor Wat and a couple more temples. It can be quite busy at times and when that happens the mystique and peace of Angkor is lost. If you have plenty of time in Siem Reap and have the interest, then browse our “Quiet Tour” suggestions further down this page to get the most out of your visit to Siem Reap.
If your time is limited and you are not worried about the other tourists, then browse our “Single Day Adventure Tours” or for a tour package, have a look at our “Multi-day Package Tours”.
Temples to See
Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Phrom are the “Must See” sights. Any itinerary should include the legendary ruins of Angkor Wat and the giant faces of Bayon. These two temple ruins offer the most spectacular and unique examples of Angkorian art and architecture. On the road trip to Bayon, you will also see the South Gate of Angkor Thom and some other minor ruins. As it is within walking distance of Bayon, most itineraries can easily include central Angkor Thom, with its artistically interesting terraces and massive “temple-mountains”, Baphuon and Phimeanakas. Due to lighting conditions, it is best to visit Angkor Wat in the afternoon, so most itineraries begin in the morning with Angkor Thom.
As your schedule allows, build the rest of your itinerary around visiting each type of major ruins – temple mountains such as Pre Rup, Ta Keo, Bakong (one of temples in Roluos Group) and West Mebon; flat, sprawling monastic complexes such as Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Preah Khan and Ta Som, and unique monuments such as Neak Pean and Srah Srang.
The Roluos Group, which comprises the monuments of an early Khmer capital, lies 12 km west of Siem Reap, outside the main temple complex. It is a bit out of the way, but offers some fine examples of early Angkorian art and should be included in two or more day itineraries. Of special note is the artistically exquisite but more distant temple, Banteay Srey. On the road trip to Banteay Srey, you will also see Banteay Samre which is always quiet and peaceful.
Other impressive temples outside the main temple complex are: Beng Mealea located about 70 km from Angkor Wat, which is largely unrestored with trees and thick bush thriving amidst its towers and courtyards’ and many of its stone lying in great heaps. A visit to Beng Mealea, can be combined with a visit to the Koh Ker Group which is located about 150 km from Angkor in the province of Preah Vihear. This was once the ancient capital of Cambodia (AD 928-942). If there is any way of squeezing it into your itinerary, it is well worth it!
Kbal Spean located more than 50 km from Angkor is not a temple but a river bed covered with sculptures of lingas, the symbol of the God Shiva’s supreme essence. Kbal Spean is a 45 minute trekking adventure through jungle up the mountain. Phnom Kulen, the most important historical site which marked the birth of the Angkor Civilization, consists of a big waterfall, reclining Buddha statue, and a river bed covered with sculptures of lingas.
Most of our tours are private, which means we have maximum flexibility. Here are some suggestions for quiet tours.
A quiet ONE DAY tour could consist of the following:
- Morning: Angkor Wat (start visiting in the morning by walking from East (back entrance) to the West (front entrance). Take in Angkor Thom (Bayon, Elephants Terrace, Palilay and Dead gate).
- Afternoon: Ta Prohm (walk from the North Gate entrance through the jungle (which is rarely using by tourists), Pre Rup or Phnom Bakheng to see the sunset or visit Artisan D’Angkor (Art carving school) and Floating village on Tonle Sap Lake at Chong Kneas (also with sunset).
- Night: Dinner whilst watching Cambodian traditional dance performance (often called Apsara Show).
For a TWO DAY tour, we suggest the following:
- 1st Morning: Angkor Wat (as per the ONE DAY suggestion above).
- 1st Afternoon: Preah Khan (walking on a small path through jungle to enter the temple from the South Gate (which is rarely using by tourists), Phnom Bakheng to see the sunset.
- 2nd Morning: Sunrise at Angkor Wat. Afterwards return to hotel for breakfast. Then out again to visit Pre Pup, Banteay Samre (walking along the ox-cart path through a local village flanked by rice paddy field and Cambodian traditional houses built with the long stilts to enter the temple from the East entrance. The East entrance is the front gate of temple, which never has tourists. Finally see Banteay Srei.
- 2nd Afternoon: Ta Prohm (walking from North entrance through jungle (which is rarely using by tourists)), Ta Keo (if time permits), Artisan D’Angkor (Art carving school), Floating village on Tonle Sap Lake at Chong Kneas village.
- 2nd Night: Dinner and dancing (as per the ONE DAY suggestion above).
If you need a THREE DAY tour, then you can try the following:
- 1st Day Morning: Angkor Wat (start visiting in morning by walking from East (back entrance), to West (front entrance)), Angkor Thom (South gate, Bayon, Elephants Terrace, Palilay, Dead gate).
- 1st Day Afternoon: Preah Khan (walking on small path flanked by jungled to enter the temple from South gate, which rarely has tourists), Phnom Bakheng with sunset.
- 2nd Day Morning: Sunrise at Angkor Wat then back to hotel for breakfast. Start again by visiting Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon, Pre Pup.
- 2nd Day Afternoon: Ta Prohm (Walking from the rarely used North entrance through jungle), Ta Keo (if time permits), Artisan D’Angkor (Art carving school), Floating village on Tonle Sap Lake.
- 3th Day Morning: Banteay Samre (walking on the ox-cart path through local village flanked by rice paddy field and Cambodia traditional houses built with long stilts to the temple on the East entrance (front gate which never has tourists), Banteay Srei.
- 3rd Day Afternoon: Beng Mealea (walking from rarely used West entrance flanked by jungle), Roluos Group (Lolei, Bakong, Preah Ko).
- 3rd Night: Dinner and dancing (as per the ONE DAY suggestion above).
And finally, for those with FOUR DAYS, we can build a itinerary taking in the following:
- A sunrise at Angkor Wat, (alternatives are: Srah Srang, Phnom Bakheng, Floating villages at Tonle Sap Lake)
- A sunset at Phnom Bakheng, (alternative: Floating Village, Pre Rup, Bakong)
- Trees growing from temple ruins: Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Ta Som, Beng Mealea, Banteay Chmar, Koh Ker Group
- Giant carvings of faces: Bayon, Gates of Angkor Thom, Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Ta Som, Bantay Chmar
- Notable artistry/carvings: Angkor Wat, Banteay Srey, Bayon
- Carvings on the river bed (called 1000 Lingas): Kbal Spean, Phnom Kulen Mountain
- Adventure temples: Kbal Spean, Phnom Kulen Mountain, Beng Mealea, Koh Ker Group, Preah Vihear, Banteay Chmar, Preah Khan, Kampong Svay
All these itineraries can be flexible and adjusted to meet guest requirements.