Angkor Archaeological Park

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Archaeological Park is a must go, for any trip to Siem Reap. This will be a lengthy article to provide an idea on how much can be achieved with a 3 day pass. Angkor Archaeological Park is huge, you will need to walk and climb a lot! It was said that the steps were made steep on purpose, so people were be bowing as they climbed up into the temple.

We brought a 3 days pass @ USD 40 (Effective 1Feb17, 3 days pass will cost USD 62) and spent 2.5 days in Angkor Archaeological Park. On the 1st day, you will most likely be impressed; on the 2nd day, all might looked similar; on the 3rd day, you might just want to go the “must-go”.

Generally, the plan for exploring Angkor Archaeological Park will be

  • 1st Day: Little Circuit
  • 2nd Day: Big Circuit
  • 3rd Day: Whatever "must-go" that was missed

We went during the dry season; at times when I cleaned my sweat with wet tissue, the white sheet will turned brown! That was the soil!

The sculptures and cravings of the temples were generally made out of stones and the artwork were all very intricate. Some of them were well preserved, whereas some could not withstand the test of time. Though restoration work is still in process, but at some temples, I could easily identified the vast differences in details, between the initial works vs. restoration works.

As we walked from temples to temples, one of our friends volunteered and read aloud a brief intro from a free visitor guide given by our Tuk Tuk driver. I am not too sure if such guide books is still available, but back then, our Tuk Tuk driver managed to pass us 2 copies to share.

1st Day @ Angkor Archaeological Park, mainly Little Circuit:

  • Angkor Wat
    An interesting fact to share, Angkor Wat is oriented to west which was unlikely for Khmer Temples, since this direction symbolises Death. There are different views on Angkor Wat’s orientation. The most fascinating part of Angkor Wat, will be the Bas Relief Gallery! The sculptures tell a story! I found a good article on the explanation of Bas Relief Gallery, click here to read.
  • Angkor Thom
    Angkor Thom, also known as Big Angkor, was the last capital of Angkorian empire. I don’t have much collection aside we drove through it, I supposed it’s the South Gate? Though, I recalled the stone statues linking to the gate – 2 rows of strong men holding and pulling a long huge serpent/cobra.
  • Bayon
    This is one of the MUST SEE! This temple consists of stone towers with majority having carved faces oriented towards cardinal points. There are also bas-reliefs on the exterior walls but I just might have missed it
  • Baphuon
    This temple is located in the heart of Angkor Thom. Wooden planks were used to built steps, for tourist to enter the main area. Possibly due to the ruined condition, making it hard for the tourist to enter.
  • Phimeanakas
    An interesting legend to share about this temple – the King was supposed to sleep with a serpent spirit (disguised as a woman) every night, otherwise disaster/calamity will befall the king/kingdom. This could be one of the temples with relatively steep steps.
  • Terrace of the Leper King
    This terrace was named for the statue that sat on top of it. The existing statue of the Leper King on display at the terrace is a replica, the original statue resides in Phnom Penh National Museum.
  • Terrace of the Elephants
    This terrace is just next to Terrace of Leper King; as the name suggested, there’re lots of elephant carved. Just when we exited this terrace, we spotted our worried looking Tuk Tuk driver as we ain’t in sight after the _normal waiting time, he almost went in to look for us.
  • Tep Pranam
    The only photo we had was a huge Buddha statue at the end of the walkway
  • Thomanon
    Many of the cravings found here, were in good condition. Although there is no inscription found, but the style of the temple is similar to Angkor Wat, suggested it might have been constructed near 12th century.
  • Chau Say Tevoda
    It is located on another side of the road, across the Thomanon, with similar design and floor plan.
  • Ta Prohm
    One of the temples which I have stronger impression, as the nature had created a unique view. Trees had their roots stretched over corridors; these trees’ trunks are mostly in pale white colour.
  • Banteay Kdei
    Despite having photos of this temple, I couldn’t recall much of it. The only thing recalled was, upon exit, we saw a group of Tuk Tuk drivers playing Sey (KickShuttle).
  • Sras Srang
    A multi-tiered landing platform that oversee a lake? We went to view Sunrise at the same location the following day.

2nd Day @ Angkor Archaeological Park, mainly Big Circuit:

  • Sras Srang
    Incidentally, the last stop yesterday (last stop of first day), was the first stop today. We came earlier, though not as earlier as yesterday, to wait for the sunrise. It was less crowded, we waited long, even as dawn break, the dark went, the sun rise didn’t occur. There was this young vendor, who came and invited us to his stall for breakfast; as we didn’t wanna miss the sunrise, we decided to stay put. He was kinda cute, he kept coming back to us from time to time, mentioned that he wanted to serve us before going to school, continued to say he will be late for school, then said he is willing to be late for school just to serve us. His perseverance paid off, we did eventually went by the stall for breakfast and the pancakes were so good, that we wanted to return later that day for another round. We had given up on the sunrise, while enjoying our breakfast, since the sky was already all bright. This cute little boy was playing around the stall, and suddenly came running towards us to inform that the sun had rise! Such a loving cutie.
  • Pre Rup
    Vaguely remember this temple was in a corner; climbing to the top will be awarded with an unobstructed view. Uncertain of the reasons, our level of bravery increased and we took a few photos standing at the edges of the architecture. One of us slipped down the steps while exiting, though unscathed but a fellow tourist commented that our friend was the only person he saw slipped. Indeed, despite the steep stairs n sandy road, he was the only person we seen slipped.
  • Banteay Srei
    Banteay Srei is loosely translated as Citadel of the Women, constructed with pinkish sandstone. It was said the colours are best viewed before 10:30am and after 2pm.
  • East Mebon
    Hmmm… there are stone elephants sculpture, some about 2 meters high.
  • Ta Som
    Take note of the fig trees at one of the entrances.
  • Preah Khan
    I think we went here too but can’t be certain
  • Neak Pean
    Relatively special as the temple is constructed in the middle of the pond; it is possible to walk down to the center during dry seasons.

3rd Day @ Angkor Archaeological Park, just for Sunset:

  • Phnom Bakheng
    The only sunset we watched at Angkor Archaeological Park, it’s quite a bit of walk, up the mountains. Elephants ride was available at around USD20 but we boycotted it, mainly due to the horrified facts of animal cruelty for tourism. We spotted some interesting sights while waiting for the sunset – toddlers attempting to climb up the steps, tourist held on stone towers with one hand and dangle his foot in mid-air for almighty photo, tourists doing _rock climbing on a vertical wall to the peak of the temple instead of walking up the stairs, and so forth.

We concluded the Angkor Archaeological Park tour with a night shoot of Angkor Wat.

Verdict & Information

Angkor Archaeological Park             (4.5/5)


Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Operating Hours

5am to 6pm (Operating hours might change based on season)


USD  40.00