Beauty in ruins: Siem Reap, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat & other temples

Siem Reap, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is included in most, if not all, travelers’ bucket list, but the historical attraction may not appeal to everyone. If you’ve ever wondered what the fuss is all about in this temple complex that dates back to the 12th century, you probably won’t realize unless you set foot on the site itself. Here’s a guarantee though: the tourist attraction is “a wonder beyond words” — perhaps no other description can be truer than that.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site and Lonely Planet’s “world’s number 1 sight” will undoubtedly change anyone’s mind about historical attractions. It’s a strong testament that there’s indeed beauty in ruins, as the temple complex in Siem Reap leaves you in awe of its monumental structures which seem to transport you to a different world.

Angkor Wat is best visited early morning. The temple’s cone-shaped towers create a beautiful silhouette against the sky during sunrise, making it a common yet coveted image of photographers and travelers alike. The entire complex would take hours to explore, as it was built as “the earthly representation of Mt. Meru, the Mt. Olympus of the Hindu faith and the abode of ancient gods.” This explains the size and scale of the structures which are beyond remarkable.

Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple

Looking like a grand movie set, Angkor Thom is true to its name which means “Great City.” The site draws you to its gates and monumental (in the truest sense of the word) towers, each bearing the “magnanimous faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.”

Angkor Thom is where the famous Bayon Temple is located. There’s a section here too where you can climb steep stairs to enjoy more sights of the ruins.

Baphuon, Ta Som, Ta Prohm, and Phrea Khan

Besides Angkor Wat and Bayon, these are the other must-visit temples. The huge tree in Phrea Khan is among the most noteworthy sights here. Even if you don’t have a wild imagination, it’s not too difficult to see the tree as a huge insect or even reptile that seems to have devoured and taken over the old structure.





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content editor on weekdays, traveler on most weekends

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