Siem Reap province is located in northwest Cambodia. It is the major tourist hub in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famoustemples of Angkor (the Angkor Wat temple complex "Click here to read Angkor Wat Temple in Japanese" is north of the city). The provincial capital is also called Siem Reap and is located in the South of the province on the shores of the Tonle Sap Lake, the greatest sweet water reserve in whole Southeast Asia. The name of the city literally means Siamese defeated, referring to the victory of the Khmer Empire over the army of the Thai kingdom in the 17th century.
At the turn of the millennium Siem Reap was a Cambodian provincial town with few facilities, minor surfaced roads and little in the way of nightlife. Tourism industry catered largely to hardy backpackers willing to brave the tortuous road from the Thai border on the tailgate of a local pick-up truck. There were a couple of large hotels and a handful of budget guesthouses. Tuk-tuks and taxis were non-existent and the trusty motodup (Moto taxi) was the chosen means of touring the temples of Angkor.
The proximity of the Angkorian ruins turned Siem Reap into a boomtown in less than half a decade. Huge, expensive hotels have sprung up everywhere and budget hotels have mushroomed. Property values have soared to European levels and tourism has become a vast, lucrative industry. The Siem Reap of today is barely recognizable from the Siem Reap of the year 2000.
Though some of the town's previous ramshackle charm may have been lost the developments of the last few years have brought livelihoods, if not significant wealth, to a good number of its citizens. This has been at a cost to the underprivileged people living within and beyond the town's limits that now pay inflated prices at the central markets and continue to survive on poorly paid subsistence farming and fishing. If Cambodia is a country of contrasts Siem Reap is the embodiment of those contrasts. Despite the massive shift in its economic fortunes, Siem Reap remains a safe, friendly and pleasant town. There is an endless choice of places to stay or dine and a host of possible activities awaiting the visitor.
General Information: Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor temple complex, which includes the magnificentAngkor Wat. The province also contains a vibrant capital city boasting many luxury hotels, beautifully-aged colonial buildings, a buzzing Pub Street, silk farms, markets, and much more.
The city of Siem Reap, also the capital of the province, is a “must-visit” destination for all visitors to Cambodia. This is where the glorious 12th Century Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious building in the world, is located. Situated on the northern bank of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, this mesmerizing eighth wonder of the world can be easily accessed by plane, land, and boat.%
The ruins of Angkor, located in thick jungle, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over one thousand temples ranging in scale from nondescript piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat the best preserved temple.
Apart from the legacy of the vast Angkor temple complex, Siem Reap has a lot more to offer to tourists, from the spectacular of floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake to the heritage site of the Kulen Mountain, to the recently discovered Koh Ker ruins.
In town, there are a bevy of ethnic craft shops, galleries, cafes, eateries and top-notch restaurants serving every type of cuisine. The famous “Pub Street” and the night markets of Siem Reap are now renowned tour destinations in their own rights. Additionally, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a very rich bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake make Siem Reap one of the most captivating places in the world.
Siem Reap province is 10,299 square kilometres big and definitely one of the most famous ones in Cambodia. It's located in the Northwest of the country bordering to the North with Oudor Meanchey, to the East with Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom, to the West with Banteay Meanchey and to the South with the biggest sweet water reserve in Southeast Asia, the huge Tonle Sap Lake.
The province in general, especially in the Southern part consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering lots of rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The northern part is turning into an undulating area covered with some deeper, green forests. A quite distinguished mark of Siem Reap Province is the smaller, but important Siem Reap River. It rises from Phnom Kulen, meanders through the northern part of Siem Reap Province and eventually into the Tonle Sap Lake.
The province of Siem Reap is conveniently situated 314 km northwest of Phnom Penh, along National Road No 6. It can be reached all year round by National Road No. 6 from Phnom Penh, Poi Pet border checkpoint from Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chan Province and Kampong Thom Province, and by National Road No. 5 and 6 from Kampong Chhnang Province, Pursat Province and Battambang Province. There are also speedboats operating along the Tonlé Sap from Phnom Penh and Battambang Province.
History: Located in Cambodia, Siem Reap city is the capital of Siem Reap – a Cambodian province situated in the North Western part of Cambodia. The name has been known to have various interpretations – While Wikipedia describes it as “Defeat of Siam (Thailand)”, others describe it as “Brilliance of Siam”. With a population of only a 172,000, this city was officially settled in 1907 after more than a thousand years of its existence in the 8th century AD. The 110 year-old French Institute – École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) - famous for its interests in Asian societies, played a pivotal role in freeing it from Thailand and giving it under the custody of Cambodia. EFEO was also responsible for making the city habitable and starting tourism as early as 1907. Surprisingly, Siem Reap witnessed its very first tourists (about 200 visitors) within only 3 months of its official existence!
Although influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, Siem Reap does have a lot of colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. It was the re-discovery of the Cambodian Region – Angkor by the French that was responsible for giving the city its first boost in terms of growth & development. The fame of Angkor’s rustic temples and the opening of its very first Hotel, The Grand Hotel d’Angkor in 1929 slowly started to drive tourism in the city of Siem Reap. Almost everyone who wanted to visit Angkor had to pass through Siem Reap as it was the most important & popular gateway to Angkor. This “satellite-effect”, together with Siem Reap’s own cultural heritage has now made it quite famous worldwide.
However in the past, the city’s development was greatly stunted by the Khmer Rouge regime, a ruling party in the middle of 19th century that drove the city’s population towards its country sides and radically stopped all economic growth. The notion was to ridicule and torture the educated people and encourage the growth of an agrarian society. This movement which lasted a few decades until late 1970′s had an adverse effect not only on Siem Reap & Angkor but the whole of Cambodia. The survivors of the brutality & torture inflicted by this regime are known to be still fresh with the stories that are yet not very old in their century-old history. Although this regime was brought down almost four decades ago, it is only during the 1990′s after the death of Pol Pot (Khmer Rouge’s key personality) that the country has started to witness real economic growth along with making its presence felt on the world map. Social-upheavals, guerrilla-warfare, famines, starvations – this city has been a witness to quite a lot but last ten years have been absolutely crucial in its relatively nascent history of economic growth. Currently one of the fastest growing cities of Cambodia, Siem Reap now boasts of numerous hotels and hundreds of restaurants that would be worth a visit! Few of the websites and magazines also wrote about its vibrant night life with lots of great pubs and cool places to hangout. Not to mention the Siem Reap International Airport that catered to 1.5 million visitors last year!
It is indeed hard to imagine how this place has exponentially grown in such a short time whilst carving a niche for itself in today’s ultra modern world! Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & the ruins are few of the key historical sites to visit around the city besides the Old French Quarter & the Markets as mentioned above.
We shall soon be posting a historical glimpse – few of the most beautiful pictures of this city in our following posts. Until then, happy posting!
The name Siem Reap means the “Flat Defeat of Siam” — today’s Thailand — and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples.
This name was baptized by King Ang Chan (1516-1566) as “Siem Reap”, meaning “the flat defeat of Siam” (Cambodians call Siam or Thailand “Siem”). It was because of the victory over the Thais which King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops.
The history was recorded that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert further independence against Thailand. The Thais also had been through internal trouble themselves during these years. King Prajai was poisoned by his wife, Queen Sri-Sudachan, who committed adultery with a commoner, Woravongsa, while he was on the campaign against Chiang Mai. The Queen then raised Woravongsa to the throne. The nobles hated Woravongsa, who was a commoner, and lured the usurper and his family to a place outside the city where he was assassinated together with Queen Sri-Sudachan and a new-born daughter during the royal family’s procession by barge to see a white elephant (allegedly just captured). The nobles then invited Prince Tienraja, who was a monk in a monastery, to disrobe and ascend the throne under the title of King Maha Chakrapat (1548-1569). Being informed of the internal troubles in Ayudhaya, King Ang Chan attacked Prachin in 1549 and successfully took away Thai inhabitants. At Prachin, he obtained information that King Maha Chakrapat had become the new king of Ayudhaya, signaling that the question of succession in Ayudhaya had thus become settled. King Ang Chan therefore retreated and did not advance any further. King Maha Chakrapat was very angry at this, but his hands were tied, because the Burmese had just come by the way of the Three Pagoda Pass, took Karnchanaburi and Suparnburi, and appeared in front of Ayudhaya.
Cambodian history presents the reason for the next Thai attack because King Ang Chan refused to give King Maha Chakrapat a white elephant when he asked for it, it is indicated that King Ang Chan declined any symbol of vassalage to Thailand. King Maha Chakrapat’s attention was now turned towards Cambodia. He put Prince Ong, the Governor of Sawankaloke and Srey’s son, in charge of an expedition against Cambodia. King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops. It was because of this victory over the Thais that King Ang Chan baptized that battle area as “Siem Reap” meaning “the flate defeat of Siam”.
In 1901 the École Française d'Extrême Orient (EFEO) began a long association with Angkor by funding an expedition into Siam to the Bayon. The EFEO took responsibility for clearing and restoring the whole site. In the same year, the first tourists arrived in Angkor - an unprecedented 200 of them in three months. Angkor had been 'rescued' from the jungle and was assuming its place in the modern world.
Grand Hotel d'Angkor:
was built in the mid 1920's Siem Reap was little more than a village when the first French explorers re-discovered Angkor in the 19th century. With the acquisition of Angkor by the French, in 1907, Siem Reap began to grow, absorbing the first wave of tourists. The Grand Hotel d'Angkor opened its doors in 1929 and the temples of Angkor remained one of Asia's leading draws until the late 1960s, luring visitors like Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Kennedy. In 1975, the population of Siem Reap, along with that of the rest of the cities and towns in Cambodia, was evacuated by the communist Khmer Rouge and driven into the countryside.
As with the rest of the country, Siem Reap's history (and the memories of its people) is coloured by specter of the brutal Khmer Rouge Regime, though since Pol Pot's death in 1998, relative stability and a rejuvenated tourist industry have been important steps in an important, if tentative, journey forward to recovery. With the advent of war, Siem Reap entered a long slumber from which it only began to awake in the mid-1990s.
Today, Siem Reap is undoubtedly Cambodia's fastest growing city and serves as a small charming gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples. Thanks to those attractions, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a major tourist hub. Siem Reap nowadays is a vibrant town with modern hotels and architectures. Despite international influences, Siem Reap and its people have conserved much of the town's image, culture and traditions.
The Wat and the river: The Town is a cluster of small village along the the Siem Reap River. These village were originally development around Buddhist pagodas (Wat) which are almost evenly spaced along the river from Wat Preah En Kau Sei in the north to Wat Phnom Krom in the south, where the Siem Reap River meets the great Tonle Sap Lake.
The main town is concentrated around Sivutha Street and the Psar Chas area (Old Market area) where there are old colonial buildings, shopping and commercial districts. The Wat Reach Bo area is now full of guesthouses and restaurants while the Psar Leu area is often crowded with jewellery and handicraft shops, selling rubies to woodcarving. Other fast developing areas are the airport road and main road to Angkor where a number of large hotels and resorts can be found.
Economy: Generally spoken Siem Reap Province is all in all economically focusing on the foreign tourism due to the famous Angkor Temples. Since the year 2000 the economical growth rate is gaining double-digits. It's all sub-sectors such as hotels, restaurants, bars, entertainment places and transportation to profit from the annual influx of tourists, which was in 2007 more than 1,000,000 people.
Except the tourism sector the provincial economy was and still is growing due to the enforced fishery. Thousands of tons are annually exported to the other provinces within the country or outside Cambodia. Farming and fruit cropping has probably become a minor profitable sector, but is still done by the vast poor rural population, who are the underdogs regarding the annual provincial revenue.
Businesses centered on tourism have flourished thanks to the tourism boom. There is a wide range of hotels, ranging from several 5-star hotels and chic resorts to hundreds of budget guesthouses. A large selection of the restaurants offer many kinds of food, including Italian, Indian, French, German, Russian, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Burmese. Plenty of shopping opportunities exist around the Psar Chas area while the nightlife is often vibrant with a number of western-styled pubs and bars.
Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap now serves the most tourist passengers to Cambodia. Most tourists come to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, (about 6 km north of the city), and other Angkor ruins. While those are still the main attractions, there are plenty of other things to experience, such as a dinner with an Apsara Dance performance, a trip to fishing villages and bird sanctuary, a visit to a craft workshop and silk farm, or a bicycle tour around the rice paddies in the countryside.
The Gecko Environment Center is a floating environment center located in the province of Siem Reap on the Tonle Sap Lake. The goal of the center is to promote environmental awareness among the local community as well as visitors to the great lake. The province of Siem Reap is part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
Climate: The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travelers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April. General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November - March (23-29c)
- Hot season: March - May (27c-37c)
- Rainy season: May - October (24-33c, with humidity up to 90%)
Population: The current population in this province is about 903,030 people or 6.3% of the country's total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 440,395 male and 462,635 female. The population density is therefore 87,7 people per square kilometer.
Siem Reap is an excellent place to buy Cambodian souvenirs, handicrafts, textiles and art. Only Phnom Penh offers a comparable selection, but much of what is available in Siem Reap is unique to Siem Reap. Until recently, the Old Market (Phsar Chas) and vendors at the temples were the only places to buy souvenirs. Over the last few of years there has been a small boom of new shops, galleries and boutiques, offering a more varied selection of quality handicrafts and silks as well as original artistic creations - paintings, prints, carvings and such.
The Old Market still has the widest variety of souvenirs, as well as the best selection of items such as baskets, silver work and musical instruments. It also offers an interesting local ambiance, but the boutiques, galleries and specialty shops offer generally higher quality items and a more sophisticated selection of Cambodian products. Of particular interest are the traditional craft workshops and silk farms where you can see crafts in the making as well as buy the final product.
When purchasing local crafts, be selective in your purchase as there might also be some fakes. Most of the crafts, particularly the carvings, silk products and silverwork are hand-made, making each piece a unique work. Masters as well as students produce much of what is available, so some pieces are significantly better than others.
Tourist Attractions Of Temple In Siem Reap:
ANGKOR WAT Temple is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means "City Temple"; Angkor is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagar (नगर). Wat is the Khmer form of the Pali word "vatthu", meaning "temple grounds". Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founder.
Angkor Wat History:
Angkor Wat lies 5.5 km (3.4 mi) north of the modern town of Siem Reap, and a short distance south and slightly east of the previous capital, which was centred at Baphuon. It is in an area of Cambodia where there is an important group of ancient structures. It is the southernmost of Angkor’s main sites.
The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113–c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the King’s state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as Vrah Vishnulok after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the King’s death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished. In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new King, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few kilometers to the north.
In the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day. Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never completely abandoned, its preservation being due in part to the fact that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the jungle.
One of the first Western visitors to the temple was Antonio da Magdalena, a Portuguese monk who visited in 1586 and said that it “is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of”. However, the temple was popularized in the West only in the mid-19th century on the publication of Henri Mouhot’s travel notes. The French explorer wrote of it: Facade of Angkor Wat, a drawing by Henri Mouhot
"One of these temples a rival to that of Solomon and erected by some ancient Michelangelo might take an honourable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged."
Mouhot, like other early Western visitors, found it difficult to believe that the Khmers could have built the temple, and mistakenly dated it to around the same era as Rome. The true history of Angkor Wat was pieced together only from stylistic and epigraphic evidence accumulated during the subsequent clearing and restoration work carried out across the whole Angkor site.
There were no ordinary dwellings or houses or other signs of settlement including cooking utensils, weapons, or items of clothing usually found at ancient sites. Instead there is the evidence of the monuments themselves.
Angkor Wat required considerable restoration in the 20th century, mainly the removal of accumulated earth and vegetation. Work was interrupted by the civil war and Khmer Rouge control of the country during the 1970s and 1980s, but relatively little damage was done during this period other than the theft and destruction of mostly post-Angkorian statues.
The temple is a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great national pride that has factored into Cambodia’s diplomatic relations with its neighbour Thailand, France and the United States. A depiction of Angkor Wat has been a part of Cambodian national flags since the introduction of the first version circa 1863. The splendid artistic legacy of Angkor Wat and other Khmer monuments in the Angkor region led directly to France adopting Cambodia as a protectorate on 11 August 1863. This quickly led to Cambodia reclaiming lands in the northwestern corner of the country that had been under Thai control since the Thai invasion of 1431 AD. Cambodia gained independence from France on 9 November 1953 and has controlled Angkor Wat since that time. During the midst of the Vietnam War, Chief of State Norodom Sihanouk hosted Jacqueline Kennedy in Cambodia to fulfill her “lifelong dream of seeing Angkor Wat.”
In January 2003 riots erupted in Phnom Penh when a false rumour circulated that a Thai soap opera actress had claimed that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand.
Site and plan:
Angkor Wat, located at 13°24′45″N 103°52′0″E / 13.4125°N103.866667°E / 13.4125;103.866667, is a uniquecombination of the temple mountain, the standard design for the empire’s state temples, the later plan of concentric galleries, and influences from Orissa and the Chola of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is a representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods: the central quincunx of towers symbolizes the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moats the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean. Access to the upper areas of the temple was progressively more exclusive, with the laity being admitted only to the lowest level.
Unlike most Khmer temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west rather than the east. This has led many (including Glaize and George Coedès) to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his funerary temple. Further evidence for this view is provided by the bas-reliefs, which proceed in a counter clockwise direction Prasavya in Hindu terminology as this is the reverse of the normal order. Rituals take place in reverse order during Brahminic funeral services. The archaeologist Charles Higham also describes a container which may have been a funerary jar which was recovered from the central tower. It has been nominated by some as the greatest expenditure of energy on the disposal of a corpse. Freeman and Jacques, however, note that several other temples of Angkor depart from the typical eastern orientation, and suggest that Angkor Wat’s alignment was due to its dedication to Vishnu, who was associated with the west.
A further interpretation of Angkor Wat has been proposed by Eleanor Mannikka. Drawing on the temple’s alignment and dimensions, and on the content and arrangement of the bas-reliefs, she argues that the structure represents a claimed new era of peace under King Suryavarman II: “as the measurements of solar and lunar time cycles were built into the sacred space of Angkor Wat, this divine mandate to rule was anchored to consecrated chambers and corridors meant to perpetuate the King’s power and to honor and placate the deities manifest in the heavens above.” Mannikka’s suggestions have been received with a mixture of interest and scepticism in academic circles. She distances herself from the speculations of others, such as Graham Hancock, that Angkor Wat is part of a representation of the constellation Draco.
Style: Angkor Wat is the prime example of the classical style of Khmer architecture—the Angkor Wat style—to which it has given its name. By the 12th century Khmer architects had become skilled and confident in the use of sandstone (rather than brick or laterite) as the main building material. Most of the visible areas are of sandstone blocks, while laterite was used for the outer wall and for hidden structural parts. The binding agent used to join the blocks is yet to be identified, although natural resins or slaked lime have been suggested.
Angkor Wat has drawn praise above all for the harmony of its design, which has been compared to the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. According to Maurice Glaize, a mid-20th-century conservator of Angkor, the temple “attains a classic perfection by the restrained monumentality of its finely balanced elements and the precise arrangement of its proportions. It is a work of power, unity and style”.
Architecturally, the elements characteristic of the style include: the ogival, redented towers shaped like lotus buds; half-galleries to broaden passageways; axial galleries connecting enclosures; and the cruciform terraces which appear along the main axis of the temple. Typical decorative elements are Devatas (or Apsaras), bas-reliefs, and on pediments extensive garlands and narrative scenes. The statuary of Angkor Wat is considered conservative, being more static and less graceful than earlier work. Other elements of the design have been destroyed by looting and the passage of time, including gilded stucco on the towers, gilding on some figures on the bas-reliefs, and wooden ceiling panels and doors.
The Angkor Wat style was followed by that of the Bayon period, in which quality was often sacrificed to quantity. Other temples in the style are Banteay Samré, Thommanon, Chao Say Tevoda and the early temples of Preah Pithu at Angkor; outside Angkor, Beng Mealea and parts of Phnom Rung and Phimai.
Features Outer Enclosure:
The outer wall, 1024 by 802 m and 4.5 m high, is surrounded by a 30 m apron of open ground and a moat 190 m wide. Access to the temple is by an earth bank to the east and a sandstone causeway to the west; the latter, the main entrance, is a later addition, possibly replacing a wooden bridge. There are gopuras at each of the cardinal points; the western is by far the largest and has three ruined towers. Glaize notes that this gopura both hides and echoes the form of the temple proper. Under the southern tower is a statue of Vishnu, known as Ta Reach, which may originally have occupied the temple's central shrine. Galleries run between the towers and as far as two further entrances on either side of the gopura often referred to as "elephant gates", as they are large enough to admit those animals. These galleries have square pillars on the outer (west) side and a closed wall on the inner (east) side. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus rosettes; the west face of the wall with dancing figures; and the east face of the wall with balustered windows, dancing male figures on prancing animals, and devatas, including (south of the entrance) the only one in the temple to be showing her teeth.
The outer wall encloses a space of 820,000 square metres (203 acres), which besides the temple proper was originally occupied by the city and, to the north of the temple, the royal palace. Like all secular buildings of Angkor, these were built of perishable materials rather than of stone, so nothing remains of them except the outlines of some of the streets. Most of the area is now covered by forest. A 350 m causeway connects the western gopura to the temple proper, with naga balustrades and six sets of steps leading down to the city on either side. Each side also features a library with entrances at each cardinal point, in front of the third set of stairs from the entrance, and a pond between the library and the temple itself. The ponds are later additions to the design, as is the cruciform terrace guarded by lions connecting the causeway to the central structure.
Central Structure: The temple stands on a terrace raised higher than the city. It is made of three rectangular galleries rising to a central tower, each level higher than the last. Mannikka interprets these galleries as being dedicated to the King, Brahma, the moon, and Vishnu. Each gallery has a gopura at each of the points, and the two inner galleries each have towers at their corners, forming a quincunx with the central tower. Because the temple faces west, the features are all set back towards the east, leaving more space to be filled in each enclosure and gallery on the west side; for the same reason the west-facing steps are shallower than those on the other sides.
The outer gallery measures 187 by 215 m, with pavilions rather than towers at the corners. The gallery is open to the outside of the temple, with columned half-galleries extending and buttressing the structure. Connecting the outer gallery to the second enclosure on the west side is a cruciform cloister called Preah Poan (the "Hall of a Thousand Gods"). Buddha images were left in the cloister by pilgrims over the centuries, although most have now been removed. This area has many inscriptions relating the good deeds of pilgrims, most written in Khmer but others in Burmese and Japanese. The four small courtyards marked out by the cloister may originally have been filled with water. North and south of the cloister are libraries.
Beyond, the second and inner galleries are connected to each other and to two flanking libraries by another cruciform terrace, again a later addition. From the second level upwards, devatas abound on the walls, singly or in groups of up to four. The second-level enclosure is 100 by 115 m, and may originally have been flooded to represent the ocean around Mount Meru. Three sets of steps on each side lead up to the corner towers and gopuras of the inner gallery. The very steep stairways represent the difficulty of ascending to the Kingdom of the gods. This inner gallery, called the Bakan, is a 60 m square with axial galleries connecting each gopura with the central shrine, and subsidiary shrines located below the corner towers. The roofing of the galleries are decorated with the motif of the body of a snake ending in the heads of lions or garudas. Carved lintels and pediments decorate the entrances to the galleries and to the shrines. The tower above the central shrine rises 43 m to a height of 65 m above the ground; unlike those of previous temple mountains, the central tower is raised above the surrounding four. The shrine itself, originally occupied by a statue of Vishnu and open on each side, was walled in when the temple was converted to Theravada Buddhism, the new walls featuring standing Buddhas. In 1934, the conservator George Trouvé excavated the pit beneath the central shrine: filled with sand and water it had already been robbed of its treasure, but he did find a sacred foundation deposit of gold leaf two metres above ground level.
Integrated with the architecture of the building, and one of the causes for its fame is Angkor Wat's extensive decoration, which predominantly takes the form of bas-relief friezes. The inner walls of the outer gallery bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Higham has called these, "the greatest known linear arrangement of stone carving". From the north-west corner anti-clockwise, the western gallery shows the Battle of Lanka (from the Ramayana, in which Rama defeats Ravana) and the Battle of Kurukshetra (from the Mahabharata, showing the mutualannihilation of the Kaurava and Pandava clans). On the southern gallery follow the only historical scene, a procession of Suryavarman II, then the 32 hells and 37 heavens of Hindu mythology.
On the eastern gallery is one of the most celebrated scenes, the churning of the Sea of Milk, showing 92 asuras and 88 devas using the serpent Vasuki to churn the sea under Vishnu's direction (Mannikka counts only 91 asuras, and explains the asymmetrical numbers as representing the number of days from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, and from the equinox to the summer solstice). It is followed by Vishnu defeating asuras (a 16th-century addition). The northern gallery shows Krishna's victory over Bana (where according to Glaize, "The workmanship is at its worst") and a battle between the Hindu gods and asuras. The north-west and south-west corner pavilions both feature much smaller-scale scenes, some unidentified but most from the Ramayana or the life of Krishna.
Construction Technique: The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar with very tight joints that were sometimes hard to find. The blocks were held together by mortise and ten on joints in some cases, while in others they used dovetails and gravity. The blocks were presumably put in place by a combination of elephants, coir ropes, pulleys and bamboo scaffolding. Henri Mouhot noted that most of the blocks had holes 2.5 cm in diameter and 3 cm deep, with more holes on the larger blocks. Some scholars have suggested that these were used to join them together with iron rods, but others claim they were used to hold temporary pegs to help man oeuvre them into place. The Khmer architects never made the curved arches used by the Romans. They did create a corbelled arch, but this often proved unstable and collapsed.
The monument was made out of enormous amounts of sandstone, as much as Khafre's pyramid in Egypt (over 5 million tons). This sandstone had to be transported from Mount Kulen, a quarry approximately 25 miles (40 km) to the northeast. The stone was presumably transported by raft along the Siem Reap River. This would have to have been done with care to avoid overturning the rafts with such a large amount of weight. One modern engineer estimated it would take 300 years to complete Angkor Wat today. Yet the monument was begun soon after Suryavarman came to the throne and was finished shortly after his death, no more than 40 years.
Virtually all of its surfaces, columns, lintels even roofs are carved. There are miles of reliefs illustrating scenes from Indian literature including unicorns, griffins, winged dragons pulling chariots as well as warriors following an elephant-mounted leader and celestial dancing girls with elaborate hair styles. The gallery wall alone is decorated with almost 1,000 square metres of bas reliefs. Holes on some of the Angkor walls indicate that they may have been decorated with bronze sheets. These were highly prized in ancient times and were a prime target for robbers. While excavating Khajuraho, Alex Evans, a stonemason and sculptor, recreated a stone sculpture less than 4 feet (1.2 m), this took about 60 days to carve. Roger Hopkins and Mark Lehner also conducted experiments to quarry limestone which took 12 quarrymen 22 days to quarry about 400 tons of stone. The labour force to quarry, transport, carve and install so much sandstone must have run into the thousands including many highly skilled artisans. The skills required to carve these sculptures were developed hundreds of years earlier, as demonstrated by some artefacts that have been dated to the seventh century, before the Khmer came to power....
Angkor Wat Today: Since the 1990s Angkor Wat has seen a resumption of conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The temple is part of a World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has encouraged the Cambodian government to protect the site. The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs which decorate the temple from damage. The organization's survey found that around 20 percent of the devatas were in very poor condition, mainly because of natural erosion and deterioration of the stone but also in part also due to earlier restoration efforts. Other work involves the repair of collapsed sections of the structure, and prevention of further collapse: the west facade of the upper level, for example, has been buttressed by scaffolding since 2002, while a Japanese team completed restoration of the north library of the outer enclosure in 2005.
Angkor Wat has become a major tourist destination: attendance figures for the temple are not published, but in 2004 the country received just over a million international arrivals, of whom according to the Ministry of Tourism 57 percent planned to visit the temple.
The temple has become a symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great pride for the country's people. A depiction of Angkor Wat has been a part of every Cambodian national flag since the introduction of the first version circa 1863—the only building to appear on any national flag.
The Archaeological Survey of India carried out restoration work on the temple between 1986 and 1992. Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has seen continued conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The temple is part of the Angkor World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has encouraged the Cambodian government to protect the site. The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs which decorate the temple from damage. The organization's survey found that around 20% of the devatas were in very poor condition, mainly because of natural erosion and deterioration of the stone but in part also due to earlier restoration efforts. Other work involves the repair of collapsed sections of the structure, and prevention of further collapse: the west facade of the upper level, for example, has been buttressed by scaffolding since 2002, while a Japanese team completed restoration of the north library of the outer enclosure in 2005. World Monuments Fund began work on the Churning of the Sea of Milk Gallery in 2008.
Angkor Wat has become a major tourist destination. In 2004 and 2005, government figures suggest that, respectively, 561,000 and 677,000 foreign visitors arrived in Siem Reap province, approximately 50% of all foreign tourists in Cambodia for both years. The influx of tourists has so far caused relatively little damage, other than some graffiti; ropes and wooden steps have been introduced to protect the bas-reliefs and floors, respectively. Tourism has also provided some additional funds for maintenance—as of 2000 approximately 28% of ticket revenues across the whole Angkor site was spent on the temples—although most work is carried out by foreign government-sponsored teams rather than by the Cambodian authorities.
At the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012, both parties have agreed Borobudur and Angkor Wat to become sister sites and the provinces will become sister provinces. Two Indonesian airlines are considering the opportunity to open a direct flight from Yogyakarta, Central Java Province, Indonesia to Siem Reap.
The Bayon (Prasat Bayon) is a well known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist Kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes. The current main conservatory body, the Japanese Government team for the Safeguarding of Angkor (the JSA) has described the temple as "the most striking expression of the baroque style" of Khmer architecture, as contrasted with the classical style of Angkor Wat.
Bayon Histry; Buddhist symbolism in the foundation of the temple by King Jayavaraman VII: The Bayon was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha, though a great number of minor and local deities were also encompassed as representatives of the various districts and cities of the realm. It was the centrepiece of Jayavarman VII's massive program of monumental construction and public works, which was also responsible for the walls and nāga-bridges of Angkor Thom and the temples of Preah Khan, Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei.
The similarity of the 216 gigantic faces on the temple's towers to other statues of the King has led many scholars to the conclusion that the faces are representations of Jayavarman VII himself. Others have said that the faces belong to the bodhisattva of compassion called Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara. The two hypotheses need not be regarded as mutually exclusive. Angkor scholar George Coedès has theorized that Jayavarman stood squarely in the tradition of the Khmer monarchs in thinking of himself as a "devaraja" (god-King), the salient difference being that while his predecessors were Hindus and regarded themselves as consubstantial with Shiva and his symbol the lingam, Jayavarman as a Buddhist identified himself with the Buddha and the bodhisattva.
Alterations following the death of Jayavaraman VII:
Since the time of Jayavarman VII, the Bayon has suffered numerous additions and alterations at the hands of subsequent monarchs. During the reign of Jayavarman VIII in the mid-13th century, the Khmer empire reverted to Hinduism and its state temple was altered accordingly. In later centuries, Theravada Buddhism became the dominant religion, leading to still further changes, before the temple was eventually abandoned to the jungle. Current features which were not part of the original plan include the terrace to the east of the temple, the libraries, the square corners of the inner gallery, and parts of the upper terrace.
Modern Restoration and Scholarship: In the first part of the 20th century, the École Française d'Extrême Orient took the lead in the conservation of the temple, restoring it in accordance with the technique of anastylosis. Since 1995 the Japanese Government team for the Safeguarding of Angkor (the JSA) has been the main conservatory body, and has held annual symposia.
The Site: The temple is orientated towards the east, and so its buildings are set back to the west inside enclosures elongated along the east-west axis. Because the temple sits at the exact centre of Angkor Thom, roads lead to it directly from the gates at each of the city's cardinal points. The temple itself has no wall or moats, these being replaced by those of the city itself: the city-temple arrangement, with an area of 9 square kilometres, is much larger than that of Angkor Wat to the south (2 km²). Within the temple itself, there are two galleried enclosures (the third and second enclosures) and an upper terrace (the first enclosure). All of these elements are crowded against each other with little space between. Unlike Angkor Wat, which impresses with the grand scale of its architecture and open spaces, the Bayon “gives the impression of being compressed within a frame which is too tight for it”.
The outer gallery; depictions of historical events and everyday life:
The outer wall of the outer gallery features a series of bas-reliefs depicting historical events and scenes from the everyday life of the Angkorian Khmer. Though highly detailed and informative in themselves, the bas-reliefs are not accompanied by any sort of epigraphic text, and for that reason considerable uncertainty remains as to which historical events are portrayed and how, if at all, the different reliefs are related. From the east gopura clockwise, the subjects are:
In the southern part of the eastern gallery a marching Khmer army (including some Chinese soldiers), with musicians, horsemen, and officers mounted on elephants, followed by wagons of provisions.
§ Still in the eastern gallery, on the other side of the doorway leading into the courtyard, another procession followed by domestic scenes depicting Angkorian houses, some of the occupants of which appear to be Chinese merchants;
§ In the southeast corner pavilion, an unfinished temple scene with towers, Apsaras, and a lingam;
§ In the eastern part of the southern gallery, a naval battle on the Tonle Sap between Khmer and Cham forces, underneath which are more scenes from civilian life depicting a market, open-air cooking, hunters, and women tending to children and an invalid;
§ Still in the southern gallery, past the doorway leading to the courtyard, a scene with boats and fisherman, including a Chinese junk, below which is a depiction of a cockfight; then some palace scenes with princesses, servants, people engaged in conversations and games, wrestlers, and a wild boar fight; then a battle scene with Cham warriors disembarking from boats and engaging Khmer warriors whose bodies are protected by coiled ropes, followed by a scene in which the Khmer dominate the combat, followed by a scene in which the Khmer King celebrates a victory feast with his subjects;
§ In the western part of the southern gallery, a military procession including both Khmers and Chams, elephants, war machines such as a large crossbow and a catapult;
§ In the southern part of the western gallery, unfinished reliefs show an army marching through the forest, then arguments and fighting between groups of Khmers;
§ In the western gallery, past the doorway to the courtyard, a scene depicting a melee between Khmer warriors, then a scene in which warriors pursue others past a pool in which an enormous fish swallows a small deer; then a royal procession, with the King standing on an elephant, preceded by the ark of the sacred flame;
§ In the western part of the northern gallery, again unfinished, a scene of royal entertainment including athletes, jugglers and acrobats, a procession of animals, ascetics sitting in a forest, and more battles between Khmer and Cham forces;
§ In the northern gallery, past the doorway to the courtyard, a scene in which the Khmer flee from Cham soldiers advancing in tight ranks;
§ In the northeast corner pavilion, another marching Khmer army;
§ In the eastern gallery, a land battle between Khmer and Cham forces, both of which are supported by elephants: the Khmer appear to be winning.
The outer gallery encloses a courtyard in which there are two libraries (one on either side of the east entrance). Originally the courtyard contained 16 chapels, but these were subsequently demolished by the Hindu restorationist Jayavarman VIII.
The inner gallery: depictions of mythological events: The inner gallery is raised above ground level and has doubled corners, with the original redented cross-shape later filled out to a square. Its bas-reliefs, later additions of Jayavarman VIII, are in stark contrast to those of the outer: rather than set-piece battles and processions, the smaller canvases offered by the inner gallery are decorated for the most part with scenes from Hindu mythology. Some of the figures depicted are Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma, the members of the trimurti or threefold godhead of Hinduism, Apsaras or celestial dancers, Ravana and Garuda. There is however no certainty as to what some of the panels depict, or as to their relationship with one another. One gallery just north of the eastern gopura, for example, shows two linked scenes which have been explained as the freeing of a goddess from inside a mountain, or as an act of iconoclasm by Cham invaders. Another series of panels shows a King fighting a gigantic serpent with his bare hands, and then having his hands examined by women, and finally lying ill in bed; these images have been connected with the legend of the Leper King, who contracted leprosy from the venom of a serpent with which he had done battle. Less obscure are depictions of the construction of a Vishnuite temple (south of the western gopura) and the Churning of the Sea of Milk (north of the western gopura).
The upper terrace: 200 faces of Lokesvara: The inner gallery is nearly filled by the upper terrace, raised one level higher again. The lack of space between the inner gallery and the upper terrace has led scholars to conclude that the upper terrace did not figure in the original plan for the temple, but that it was added shortly thereafter following a change in design. Originally, it is believed, the Bayon had been designed as a single-level structure, similar in that respect to the roughly contemporaneous foundations at Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei.
The upper terrace is home to the famous "face towers" of the Bayon, each of which supports two, three or (most commonly) four gigantic smiling faces. In addition to the mass of the central tower, smaller towers are located along the inner gallery (at the corners and entrances), and on chapels on the upper terrace. "Wherever one wanders, writes Maurice Glaize, the faces of Lokesvara follow and dominate with their multiple presences."
Efforts to read some significance into the numbers of towers and faces have run up against the circumstance that these numbers have not remained constant over time, as towers have been added through construction and lost to attrition. At one point, the temple was host to 49 such towers; now only 37 remain. The number of faces is approximately 200, but since some are only partially preserved there can be no definitive count.
The central tower and sanctuary: Like the inner gallery, the central tower was originally cruciform but was later filled out and made circular. It rises 43 metres above the ground. At the time of the temple's foundation, the principal religious image was a statue of the Buddha, 3.6 m tall, located in the sanctuary at the heart of the central tower. The statue depicted the Buddha seated in meditation, shielded from the elements by the flared hood of the serpent King Mucalinda. During the reign of Hindu restorationist monarch Jayavarman VIII, the figure was removed from the sanctuary and smashed to pieces. After being recovered in 1933 from the bottom of a well, it was pieced back together, and is now on display in a small pavilion at Angkor.
ANGKOR THOM SOUTH GATE (late 12th—early 13th centuries):
Angkor Thom is quadrangle of defensive walls totaling 12 kilometers that once protected the Khmer capital of the same name (Angkor Thom means 'Great City'). Built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries by King Jayavarman VII, the walls are divided by two axes running north-south and east-west. A gateway lies at the end of each axis, four in total, facing the four cardinal directions. An additional gate, called the “Gate of Victory”, pierces the east wall justnorth of the “Gate of the Dead”, the east gate along the central axis. The significance of the additional gate is that it provided access to a terrace of the royal palace. As for the other gates, the two axes intersect at the center of the enclosed area where the Bayon temple sits.
The south gate of Angkor Thom is the best preserved. It is approached from outside via a causeway that extends about fifty meters across a moat. On each side of the causeway are railings fashioned with 54 stone figures engaged in the performance of a famous Hindu story: the myth of the Churning of the Ocean. On the left side of the moat, 54 “devas” (guardian gods) pull the head of the snake “Shesha” while on the right side 54 “asuras” (demon gods) pull the snake's tail in the opposite direction. In this myth, the body of the snake is wrapped around the central mountain Meru perhaps corresponding here to the Bayon temple at the center of the site. In any case, the myth relates that as the Devas pulled the snake in one direction and the gods pushed in the other, the ocean began to churn and precipitate the elements. By alternating back and forth, the ocean was 'milked', forming the earth and the cosmos anew.
The central tower of the stone gate is capped by three face-towers that face the four directions (the central tower faces both out and in). Below them at the base of the gate are two sets of elephant statues that flank the entrance on both sides. Sitting on each elephant is a figure of the god Indra carrying his usual weapon the “vadra” (a lightning bolt). The gate itself is shaped like an upside-down “U” and is corbelled at the top (instead of arches, the builders of Angkor preferred to use corbelling to span distances). It is still possible to see where wooden doors once fitted to the gate through openings in the stone.
There is some debate as to the functionality of Angkor Thom as a whole. If it was a wall intended for defense, it was rather poorly designed, since there is nowhere along the wall for defenders to take refuge from incoming fire or shoot back from a shielded location. This is surprising since Angkor had been sacked in 1177 by Champa invaders, and one can readily imagine that its new King, Jayavarman VII would have been concerned with defense should the invaders return.
If not intended for defense, the walls may simply have been an additional enclosure around the Bayon temple, more for ceremony than for practical use. As in Southern India, the Angkor rulers built temples surrounded by walls, but usually not with walls as thick and grand as those of Angkor Thom.
TA KEO Temple:
Ta Keo had to be the state temple of Jayavarman V, son of Rajendravarman, who had built Pre Rup. Like Pre Rup, it has five sanctuary towers arranged in a quincunx, built on the uppermost level of five-tier pyramid consisting of overlapping terraces (a step pyramid), surrounded by moat, as a symbolic depiction of Mount Meru. Its particularly massive appearance is due to the absence of external decorations, as carving had just begun when the works stopped, besides an elaborate use of perspective effects. It is considered an example of the so-called Khleang style.
The main axis of the temple is E-W and a causeway 500 meters long connects its eastern entrance to a landing stage on the Eastern Baray, with which Ta Keo was in tightly relationship. The outer banks of the surrounding moats, now vanished, measure 255 m by 195 m.
The first terrace is 122 m by 106 m its wall of sandstone on laterite basis constitutes the outer enclosure. Along the east side there are two long galleries, whose roofs were probably in wood and tiles. They were illuminated by balustrade windows.
The second terrace is 5.5 m higher. Each of the first two terraces has a gopura at the four cardinal points. Each gopura has three independent passages and a central tower with diminishing tiers.
A continuous gallery (1.4 m width) constitutes the inner enclosure of the second terrace. It has windows only towards the interior and measures 80 m by 75 m. It’s really interesting, because it has no door and seems to be purely decorative, and is the first example of Khmer gallery (together with Phimeanakas). Before Ta Keo (e.g. in Pre Rup) there were long buildings that followed the length of enclosures with some discontinuity. However it hasn’t a stone vault, probably its roof was made of wood and tiles too.
Along the eastern side of the second terrace in the corners there are two buildings that are the shorter version of the long galleries of the first terrace. More towards the central axis there is two little sandstone “libraries”, opening to the west, with false windows on upper stories.
The final pyramid rises 14 m in three narrow steps from the second terrace. Its base is 60 m square, the summit is 47 m square and stands 21.5 m above the ground. The four stairways that lead on the summit are continuous and very steep. At the foot of the eastern one there is a statue of a kneeling Nandi, which confirms that Ta Keo was a Shivaite temple. The absence of any decoration makes the final pyramid really massive. However on the east face some damaged carvings of floral patterns are still visible.
The four corner towers on the summit stand on 0.8 m high basements and open to the four cardinal points with protruding vestibules. In the central tower, which dominates the others from its basement 4 meters high, the vestibules are doubled. Fragments of lingas and several statues were found in the sanctuary chambers (some 4 meters wide) and around the towers. The central tower reaches a height of 45 meters.
The bird was that shelters under its wings. This little temple with its four square tiers of laterite, crowned by a brick sanctuary, might serve for a model in miniature of some of its giant neighbors, and is almost as perfect as perfect as the day it was built...
Prasat Baksei Chamkrong is located 150 meters (492 feel) north of Phnom Bakheng and 80 meters (262 feet) from the road leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom. A visit to Baksei Chamkrong can be combined with a stop at the south gate of Angkor Thom. Enter and leave the temple from the east entrance.
Tip: The stairs to the Central Sanctuary are in poor condition but the architecture and decoration of this temple can be viewed by walking around it (in a clockwise direction). Those who persist in climbing to the Central Sanctuary should use the north stairway. It was built in middle of the tenth century (947), perhaps begun by Harshavarman I and completed by Rajendravarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu) may have been a funerary temple for the parents of the King with following transitional between Bakheng and Koh ker.
Background: According to legend, the King fled during an attack on Angkor and was saved from being caught by the enemy when a large bird swooped down and spread its wings to shelter the King. The name of the temple derives from this legend.
Baksei Chamkrong was the first temple-mountain at Angkor built entirely of durable materials brick, laterite and sandstone. Even though it is small the balanced proportions and scale of this monument are noteworthy. Inscriptions on the columns of the door and the arches give the date of the temple and mention a golden image of Siva.
Layout: Baksei Chamkrong is a simple plan with a single tower on top of a square tiered base with four levels of diminishing size (27 meters, 89 feet, a side at the base) built of laterite (1-4). The height from the ground to the top of the Central Sanctuary (7) is 13 meters (43 feet). Three levels of the base are undecorated but the top one has horizontal molding around it and serves as a base for the Central sanctuary. A steep staircase on each side of the base leads to the top. A brick wall (5) with an entry tower (6) and sandstone steps enclosed the temple. Although it has almost all disappeared vestiges are visible on the east side of the temple.
Central Sanctuary (7): The square central tower is built of brick and stands on a sandstone base. It has one door opening to the east with three false doors on the other sides. As is typical of tenth-century Khmer architecture, the columns and lintels are made of sandstone. A vertical panel in the center of each false door contains motifs of foliage on stems. The interior of the tower has a sunken floor and a vault with a corbel arch.
The finely worked decoction on the sandstone columns and horizontal beams above the doors imitates woodcarving. An outline divinity can be seen in the bricks at the corners of the tower. A three-headed elephant on the east lintel is finely carved.
Bakong is located at Roluos south of Preah Ko. Enter and leave the temple at the east. A modern Buddhist temple is situated to the right of the east entrance to Bakong. It was build in late ninth century (881) by King Indravarman I dedicated to Siva (Hindu) followed Prah Ko art style.
Background: Bakong was the center of the town of Hariharalaya, a name derived from the God Hari-Hara; a synthesis of Siva and Visnu. It is a temple representing the cosmic Mount Meru. Four levels leading to the Central Sanctuary correspond to the worlds of mythical beings (Nagas, Garudas, Raksasas and Yaksas).
Layout: The temple of Bakong is built on an artificial mountain and enclosed in a rectangular area by two walls. It has a square base with five tiers. The first, or outside, enclosure (not on the plan) (900 by 700 meters or 2,953 by 2,297 feet) surrounds a moat with an embankment and causeways on four sides, which are bordered by low Naga balustrades. The second and smaller enclosure (1) has an entry tower (2) of sandstone and laterite in the center of each side of the wall. There were originally 22 towers inside the first enclosures. After passing through the entry tower at the east one comes to a long causeway (3) decorated with large seven-headed serpents across a moat. Long halls (4) on each side lie parallel to the eastern wall. They were probably rest houses for visitors. Two square-shaped brick building at the northeast and southeast (5) corners are identified by rows of circular holes and an opening to the west. The vents in the chimneys suggest these buildings served as crematoriums. There was originally a single building of this type at the northwest and southwest corners but today they are completely ruined. On each side of the causeway just beyond the halls there are two square structures with four doors (6). The inscription of the temple was found in the one on the right.
Further along the causeway, there are two long sandstone buildings (7) on each side, which open to the causeway. These may have been storehouses or libraries. To the north and south of the storehouses receptively there is a square brick sanctuary tower (8). There are two more on each side of the central platform, making a total of eight. Decoration on the towers is in brick with a heavy coating of stucco. The towers, with one door opening to the east and three false doors, have a stairway on each side, which is decorated with crouching lions at the base. The two to the east of the central platform have a unique feature, a double sandstone base, The door entrance and the false doors were uniformly cut from a single block of sandstone, the decoration on the false doors is exceptionally fine, especially that on the tower on the right in the front row, the false door of which has remarkable Kala handles. The corners of the towers are decorated with female and male guardians in niches.
Tip: the lintels of the west towers are in the best condition. A long building with a gallery and a porch opening to the north (9) is situated close to the western wall (on the left); it is mostly demolished.
Central Area (Base And Towers): The square-shaped base (10) has five tiers with a stairway on each of the four sides and, at the base, a step in the shape of a moonstone. Remains of a small structure can be seen at the base of the stairway fairway flanked by two sandstone blocks, which may have held sculpted figures. Elephant’s successively smaller size stand at the corners of the first three tiers of the base. The fourth tier is identified by twelve small sandstone towers, each of which originally contained a linga. The fifth tier is framed by a molding decorated with a frieze of figures (barely visible) the ones on the south side are in the best condition.
The Central Sanctuary (11) is visible from each of the five levels because of the unusual width of the tiers. The sanctuary is square with four tiers and a lotus-shaped top. Only the base of the original Central Sanctuary remains. The rest was constructed at a later date, perhaps during the twelfth century.
LOLEI Location: Lo Lei is at Roluos, north of Bakong. A modern Buddhist temple is located in the grounds of Lo Lei near the central towers. Access: Enter and leave the temple by the stairs at the east.
Tip: Beware of the ants during certain seasons near the top of the entrance steps. Date: End of the ninth century (893) Religion: Transitional between Prah Ko and Bakheng
Background: Although Lo Lei is small it is worth a visit for its carvings and inscription. The temple of Lo Lei originally formed an island in the middle of a Baray (3,800 by 800 meters or 12,467 by 2,625 feet), now dry. According to an inscription found at the temple the water in this pond was for use at the capital of Hariralaya and for irrigating the plains in the area.
Layout: The layout consists of two tiers with laterite enclosing walls and stairway to the upper level in the center of each side. Lions on the landings of the stairways guard the temple. A sandstone channel in the shape of a cross situated in the center of the four towers on the upper terrace is an unusual feature; the channels extend in the cardinal directions from a square pedestal for a linga. It is speculated the holy water poured over the linga flowed in the channels.
Central Sanctuaries: Four brick tower with tiered upper portions, arranged in two rows, on the upper terrace make up the Central Sanctuaries. As the two-north towers are aligned on the east-west axis, it is possible the original plan had six towers, which probably shared a common base like that at Preah Ko.
Tip: The northeast tower is the best preserved. The entrances of the doors to the towers are cut from a single block of stone, as at Bakong. The corners of the towers on the east are decorated with male guardians holding tridents and those of the west with female divinities holding fly whisks. They are sculpted in sandstone with a brick casing. The panels of the false doors have multiple figures. The inscriptions on the doorframes are exceptionally fine. The workmanship on the lintels is skilled and the composition balanced. Some noteworthy depictions are: Indra on an elephant with figures and Makaras spewing serpents (northeast tower); Visnu riding a Garuda with a branch of serpents (south-east tower).
The citadel of the cells . In the ruin and confusion of Banteay Kdei the carvings take one's interest. They are piquant, exquisite, not too frequent... they seem meant, to make adorable a human habitation.
Banteay Kdei is located south of Ta Prohm. A enter the monument from the west and leave at the west or vice versa, either way, also visit Srah Srang.
It was built in middle of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century by king Jayavarman II in Mahaya Buddhism with following at least two different art periods Angkor Wat and Bayon are discernible at Banteay Kdei.
Background: Banteay Kdei has not been restored and allows the visitor to experience what it may have looked like originally. Changes and additions account for is unbalanced layout. Banteay Kdei was built of soft sandstone and many of the galleries and porches have collapsed. The wall enclosing the temple was built of reused stones.
The temple is built on the ground level use as a Buddhist monastery. The elements of the original design of Banteay Kdei seem to have been a Central Sanctuary (5), a surrounding gallery (6) and a passageway connected to another gallery. A moat enclosed the original features of the temple. Another enclosure and two libraries were among the additions in the Bayon period. The outer enclosure (700 by 500 meters 2,297 by 1,640feet) is made of laterite (1) and has four entry towers.
A rectangular courtyard to the east is known as 'the hall of the dancing girls', a name derived from the decoration which includes dancers (2) The entry tower of the second enclosure (3) is in the shape of a cross with three passages; the two on either end are connected to the literate wall of the enclosure (4) 320 by 200 scrolls of figures and large female divinities in niches. In the interior court there is a frieze of Buddha.
A causeway of a later date, bordered with serpents, leads to the entry tower of the third enclosure. It comprises a laetrile wall (6) includes a gallery with a double row of sandstone pillars that open onto a courtyard. Tip Parts of this area have been walled in and passage is limited. Vestiges of the wooden ceiling can still be seen in the central Sanctuary. The galleries and halls, which join it in a cross to the four entry towers, are probably additions. Two libraries (7) open to the west in the courtyards on the left and right of the causeway.
BANTEAY SAMRE Temple:
Banteay Samre is among the wonderful temples in Angkor area, Siem Reap, Cambodia. It’s an excellently restored Angkor Wat style temple with its single ogival tower. Banteay Samre locates on the eastern site of the East Baray, about 11 km north east of Siem Reap town.
There was no stone inscription was found about this temple. According to its decorations and the art style, the construction of Banteay Samre temple is probably in the late of 11th century during the reign of King Suryavarman II (1113-1150) and finished in the reign of King Yasovarman II (1150-1165). There are some other temples in Angkor area which also built in the same period of time such as Chao Say Tevada, Beng Mealea, Thommanon. And two more temples in present day Thailand are Phnom Rung and Phimai, in which Banteay Samre has very much similarity to Phimai. The same to Angkor Wat Temple, Banteay Samre is a Hinduism temple dedicated to Vishnu.
Many researchers have suggested about the name of the temple “Banteay Samre” which translates “The citadel of the Samre”, and no one could know exactly about the reason why this temple get its’ present name. Samre refers to a group of an ethnic who inhabited the region at the base of Kulen Mountain. According to this meaning, some researchers assumed that, there was probably a group of Samre people were living at the temple construction site, so they named this temple so to review to this ethnic. Other mention comes out that, a high ranking official of Suryavarman II, who in charged in constructing this temple was a Samre. So the King gave the temple this name to show his gratitude toward the builder. However, these two reasons are not related.
Architecture Plan of Banteay Samre Temple: Has a plan similar to Chao Say Tevada temple which was built in the same period. The central sanctuary has a single tower with mandapa (antechamber) in the front and connected to the east entrance gopura with a short corridor. Inside the complex also have two libraries in exactly style at Chao Say Tevada. However, Banteay Samre is larger in size and surrounded by two galleries enclosures.
Like Angkor Wat, Banteay Samre is approached by a long, raised causeway, but from the east, leading to a cruciform terrace and continues until reaching the main temple. The raise causeway which probably added later, is 200 m long, 10 m wide, and decorated with many naga balustrades which made Banteay Samre temple become more fantastic. There is another approach from the west, an avenue of about 350 m long, leading from the East Baray and ending in another cruciform terrace which connected to the first gopura. The avenue is decorated with many boundary stones on each side, now many are collapsed and some are stolen. There are signs that the entire complex was much large, which Banteay Samre was at the heart of a small town of this area and the town was enclosed by another wall. The outer enclosure measures 83 m by 77 m, built by laterite in 6 m high. The inner enclosure is 44 m by 38 m, both enclosures have gopuras at each side of the cardinal directions.
Carvings and Decoration of Banteay Samre; Outer enclosure:
The path from the road leads to the north side of the temple. It’s suggested that visitors should enter the temple from the east for better experience with Banteay Samre. So after arrived the north wall from the path, turn left and walk along the outer enclosure wall, then turn right toward the east entrance. You may take a few steps further to the east for reviewing the terrace and the causeway, before entering the enclosure.
The outer enclosure wall looks solid and strong, it’s should be a protection wall than the gallery wall. The gopura has only one entrance. After passing the gopura, the inner side of the outer enclosure walls are surrounded by the platform lined with sandstone pillars and was originally roofed with tiles over wooden beams. Now there are only pillars still visible.
The fronton of the east gopura is missing; it’s never finished or were demolished. However, the three other gopuras are in good conditions where visitors can review the deep-relief frontons and half frontons, most of which are scenes from Ramayana.
The south gopura, north facing fronton show the building of the bridge to Lanka, the half fronton above has Vishnu battling a demon. On the south of facing one, the monkey general Sushena rescues Rama and Lakshmana which was wounded by Indrajit.
The west gopura, the east facing fronton is about Vishnu fighting with two demons. And on half fronton has a procession of God on their mounts. The west facing frontons show a battle between Hanuman’s troops and demons.
The north gopura, the south facing fronton has Rama riding on Hanuman and Lakshmana on Angada, around them are monkey army. The north facing fronton shows Rama fighting with Ravana on chariots.
Once again back to the east entrance, enter the inner enclosure from here, through its east gopura. Inside, the central sanctuary with mandapa and a short corridor links to the gopura, two libraries at the left and the right. The spaces inside are narrow. There is also a platform on the inner side of the gallery which allow visitors to walk around the enclosure. However, the architecture and decoration inside the enclosure are impressive. The central sanctuary with a single tower same to the tower of Angkor Wat, the libraries are well-proportioned, and the tiered frontons with variety of deep carvings. One figure that a temple of Angkor Wat period is expected to have, Apsara, is not found on the wall of the central sanctuary.
There are some remarkable lintels and frontons inside this inner enclosure:
The east gopura: east facing lintel is about Krishna defeating serpent Kaliya, east facing fronton shows scene of Churning of the Ocean of Milk, south facing fronton shows Vishnu crossing the ocean, west facing fronton is the scene of Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana.
The south gopura: There are various scenes from Ramayana.
The west gopura: A scene of a particular ceremony toward Surya and Chandra by Brahmans, Surya and Chandra appear in roundels.
The north gopura: Apsaras are dancing with their musicians. The fronton of the north east library shows Vishnu reclines on the serpent Ananta, with his wife Laksmi at his feet, and Brahma is emerged on a golden lotus from Vishnu’s navel. The fronton of the south east library is a scene of Sita trial in fire. The west facing fronton of the central tower has dancing Shiva and the lintel show a procession of Gods.
BANTEAY SREY Temple:
Location: 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north-east of
Access: Enter and leave the temple by the east
Date: Second half of the 10th century (967)
King: Rajendravarman II (reigned 944-968)
and Jayavarman V (reigned 968-1001)
Religion: Hindu (dedicated to Shiva)
Art style: Banteay Srei
The tenth century temple of Banteay Srei is renowned for its intricate decoration carved in pinkish sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry. This site warrants as much time as your schedule allows. The roads have been recently repaired and it takes about 30 minutes from Siem Reap to get to the temple.
To reach Banteay Srei, follow the main road north out of Siem Reap, turn right at Angkor Wat and follow the road to Srah Srang where you turn right past Preah Rup. At the East Mebon there is a check post where you need to obtain clearance. Turn right again at the road before the East Mebon; pass through the village of Phoum Pradak, where there is a junction (if you continue straight, after about 5 minutes, you will reach Banteay Samre). At this point, you come to a fork; take the road on the left and follow it to Batneay Srei which you will reach shortly after crossing two rivers - on your left hand side.
Banteay Srei is an exquisite miniature; a fairy palace in the heart of an immense and mysterious forest; the very thing that Grimm delighted to imagine, and that every child's heart has yearned after, but which mature years has sadly proved too lovely to be true. And here it is, in the Cambodian forest at Banteay Srei, carved not out of the stuff that dreams are made of, but of solid sandstone.
The enchanting temple of Banteay Srei is nearly everyone's favorite site. The special charm of this temple lies in its remarkable state of preservation, small size and excellence of decoration.
The unanimous opinion amongst French archaeologists who worked at Angkor is that Banteay Srei is a “precious gem” and a “jewel in Khmer art”. Banteay Srei, as it is known by locals, was originally called Isvarapura, according to inscriptions. It was by a Brahmin of royal descent who was spiritual teacher to Jayavarman V. Some describe it as being closer in architecture and decoration to Indian models than any other temple at Angkor. A special feature of the exquisite decoration was the use of a hard pink sandstone (quartz arenite) where enabled the “technique of sandalwood carving with even an Indian scent to it”.
History: Foundation and dedication:
"Bantãy Srĕi" (Citadel of Women) is the modern name of a 10th century Khmer temple originally called "Tribhuvanamaheśvara" (Great Lord of the Threefold World), an appellation of the god Siva.
Consecrated on the 22nd of April, 967A.D, Bantãy Srĕi was the only major temple at Angkor not built by a monarch; its construction is credited to a courtier named Yajnavaraha / Yajñavarāha, who served as a counsellor to King Rājendravarman II. The foundational stela says that Yajñavarāha, grandson of King Harṣavarman I was a scholar and philanthropist who helped those who suffered from illness, injustice, or poverty. His pupil was the future King Jayavarman V (r. 968- ca. 1001) originally; the temple was surrounded by a town called Īśvarapura.
It has been speculated that the temple's modern name, Bantãy Srĕi, is due to the many devatas carved into the red sandstone walls.
Yajñavarāha's temple was primarily dedicated to the Hindu god Śiva. Originally, it was carried the name Tribhuvanamaheśvara — great lord of the threefold world — in reference to the Shaivite liṅga that served as its central religious image. However, the temple buildings appear to be divided along the central east-west axis between those buildings located south of the axis, which are devoted to Śiva, and those north of the axis, which are devoted to Viṣṇu.
The temple's modern name, Bantãy Srĕi — citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty — is probably related to the intricacy of the bas relief carvings found on the walls and the tiny dimensions of the buildings themselves. Some have speculated that it relates to the many devatas carved into the walls of the buildings.
Expension and rededication: Bantãy Srĕi was subject to further expansion and rebuilding work in the eleventh century. At some point it came under the control of the King and had its original dedication changed; the inscription K 194 from Phnoṃ Sandak, dated Monday, the 14th or 28th of July, 1119 A.D. records (line B 13) the temple being given to the priest Divākarapaṇḍita and being rededicated to Śiva. It remained in use at least until the fourteenth century as the last known inscription K 569), dated Thursday, 8th August 1303 A.D.
Restoration: The temple was rediscovered only in 1914, and was the subject of a celebrated case of art theft when André Malraux stole four devatas in 1923 (he was soon arrested and the figures returned). The incident stimulated interest in the site, which was cleared the following year, and in the 1930s Banteay Srei was restored in the first important use of anastylosis at Angkor. Until the discovery of the foundation stela in 1936, it had been assumed that the extreme decoration indicated a later date than was in fact the case. To prevent the site from water damage, the joint Cambodian-Swiss Banteay Srei Conservation Project installed a drainage system between 2000 and 2003. Measures were also taken to prevent damage to the temples walls being caused by nearby trees. Unfortunately, the temple has been drainage by pilfering and vandalism. When toward the end of the 20th century authorities removed some original statues and replaced them with concrete replicas, looters took to attacking the replicas. A statue of Shiva and his shakti Uma, removed to the National Museum in Phnom Penh for safekeeping, was assaulted in the museum itself.
Materials and Style: Banteay Srei is built largely of hard red sandstone that can be carved like wood. Brick and laterite were used only for the enclosure walls and some structural elements. The temple is known for the beauty of its sandstone lintels and pediments.
A pediment is the roughly triangular space above a rectangular doorway or openings. At Banteay Srei, pediments are relatively large in comparison to the openings below, and take a sweeping gabled shape. For the first time in the history of Khmer architecture, whole scenes of mythological subject-matter are depicted on the pediments.
A lintel is a horizontal beam spanning the gap between two posts. Some lintels serve a structural purpose, serving to support the weight of the superstructure, while others are purely decorative in purpose. The lintels at Banteay Srei are beautifully carved, rivaling those of the 9th century Preah Ko style in quality.
Noteworthy decorative motifs include the kala (a toothy monster symbolic of time), the guardian dvarapala (an armed protector of the temple) and devata (demi-goddess), the false door, and the colonette. Indeed, decorative carvings seem to cover almost every available surface. According to pioneering Angkor scholar Maurice Glaize, "Given the very particular charm of Banteay Srei-its remarkable state of preservation and the excellence of a near perfect ornamental technique-one should not hesitate, of all the monuments of the Angkor group, to give it the highest priority." At Banteay Srei, wrote Glaize, "the work relates more closely to the art of the goldsmith or to carving in wood than to sculpture in stone".
The Site: The site consists of three concentric rectangular enclosures constructed on an east-west axis. A causeway situated on the axis leads from an outer gopura, or gate, to the third or outermost of the three enclosures. The inner enclosure contains the sanctuary, consisting of an entrance chamber and three towers, as well as two buildings conventionally referred to as libraries.
The outer Gopura: The gopura is all that remains of the outer wall surrounding the town of Isvapura. The wall is believed to have measured approximately 500 m square, and may have been constructed of wood. The gopura's eastern pediment shows Indra, who was associated with that direction, mounted on his three-headed elephant Airavata. The 67 m causeway with the remains of corridors on either side connects the gopura with the third enclosure. North and south of this causeway are galleries with a north-south orientation.
The Third (Ouhter) Enclosure: The third enclosure is 95 by 110 m; it is surrounded by a laterite wall breached by gopuras at the eastern and western ends. Neither pediment of the eastern gopura is in situ. The west-facing pediment is now located in the Musée Guimet in Paris. It depicts a scene from the Mahabhārata in which the Asura brothers Sunda and Upasunda fight over the Apsaras Tilottamā. The east-facing pediment is lying on the ground. It depicts a scene from the Rāmāyaṇa in which a demon seizes Ramā's wife Sitā. Most of the area within the third enclosure is occupied by a moat divided into two parts by causeways to the east and west.
The Second Enclosure:
The second enclosure sits between an outer laterite wall measuring 38 by 42 m, with gopuras at the eastern and western ends, and a brick inner enclosure wall, measuring 24 by 24 m. The western gopura features an interesting bas relief depicting the duel of the monkey princes Vāli and Sugrīva, as well as Rāma's intervention on Sugrīva's behalf. The inner enclosure wall has collapsed, leaving a gopura at the eastern end and a brick shrine at the western. The eastern pediment of the gopura shows Śiva Nāṭarāja; the west-facing pediment has an image of Durgā. Likewise, the laterite galleries which once filled the second enclosure (one each to north and south, two each to east and west) have partially collapsed. A pediment on one of the galleries shows the lion-man Narasiṃha clawing the emon Hiraṇyakaśipu.
The First (Inner) Enclosure: Between the gopuras on the collapsed inner wall are the buildings of the inner enclosure: a library in the south-east corner and another in the north-east corner, and in the centre the sanctuary set on a T-shaped platform 0.9 m high. Besides being the most extravagantly decorated parts of the temple, these have also been the most successfully restored (helped by the durability of their sandstone and their small scale). In 2010, the first enclosure is open to visitors again, but the inner temples are roped off and inaccessible.
The Libraries: The two libraries are of brick, laterite and sandstone. Each library has two pediments, one on the eastern side and one on the western. According to Maurice Glaize, the four library pediments, "representing the first appearance of tympanums with scenes, are works of the highest order. Superior in composition to any which followed, they show true craftsmanship in their modeling in a skilful blend of stylisation and realism."
§ The east-facing pediment on the southern library shows Śiva seated on the summit of Mount Kailāsa, his mythological abode. His consort Umā sits on his lap and clings anxiously to his torso. Other beings are also present on the slopes of the mountain, arranged in a strict hierarchy of three tiers from top to bottom. In the top tier sit bearded wise men and ascetics, in the middle tier mythological figures with the heads of animals and the bodies of humans, and in the bottom tier large animals, including a number of lions. In the middle of the scene stands the ten-headed demon King Rāvaṇa. He is shaking the mountain in its very foundations as the animals flee from his presence and as the wise men and mythological beings discuss the situation or pray. According to the legend, Śiva stopped Rāvaṇa from shaking the mountain by using his toe to press down on the mountain and to trap Rāvana underneath for 1000 years.
§ The west-facing pediment on southern library shows Śiva again seated on the summit of Mount Kailāsa. He is looking to his left at the god of love Kāma, who is aiming an arrow at him. Umā sits to Śiva's right; he is handing her a chain of beads. The slopes of the mountain are crowded with other beings, again arranged in a strict hierarchy from top to bottom. Just under Śiva sit a group of bearded wise men and ascetics, under whom the second tier is occupied by the mythological beings with the heads of animals and the bodies of humans; the lowest tier belongs the common people, who mingle sociably with tame deer and a large gentle bull. According to the legend, Kāma fired an arrow at Śiva in order to cause Śiva to take an interest in Umā. Śiva, however, was greatly angered by this provocation, and punished Kāma by gazing upon him with his third eye, frying Kāma to cinders.
§ The east-facing pediment on the northern library shows the god of the sky Indra creating rain to put out a forest fire started by the god of fire Agni for purposes of killing the nāga King Takṣaka who lived in Khāṇḍava Forest. The Mahābhāratan heroes Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are shown helping Agni by firing a dense hail of arrows to block Indra's rain. Takṣaka's son Aśvasena is depicted attempting to escape from the conflagration, while other animals stampede about in panic.
§ The west-facing pediment on the southern library depicts Kṛṣṇa slaying his wicked uncle Kaṃsa.
The Sanctuary: The sanctuary is entered from the east by a doorway only 1.08 m in height: inside is an entrance chamber (or maṇḍapa) with a corbelled brick roof, then a short corridor leading to three towers to the west: the central tower is the tallest, at 9.8 m. Glaize notes the impression of delicacy given the towers by the antefixes on each of their tiers. The six stairways leading up to the platform were each guarded by two kneeling statues of human figures with animal heads; most of those now in place are replicas, the originals having been stolen or removed to museums.
This temple built by Udayadityarvarman II was the most poorly constructed of all the temples in Angkor. From the remaining ruins, it is possible to see how imposing it was. This temple hill was dedicated to Shiva, but in its reliefs many motives from the Vishnu epic can be seen. Restoration work continues to be carried out on the Baphuon.
North of the Golden Tower [Bayon] rises the Tower of Branze [Baphuon] higher even than the Golden Tower: a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than ten chambers at its base. Prasat Baphuon is located 200 metres (656 feet) northwest of the Bayon and south of Phimeanakas. A enter and leave at the east.
Tip: Access to the summit is difficult as much of the temple has collapsed and it is overgrown but for those stalwarts who want to go to the top, use the way with columns at the east and the temple of Phimeanakas on the left. Visitors should walk down the causeway, climb the steps to the first tier, turn left and walk around the temple, always keeping it on their right. It was built in middle of the 11th century (1060) by King Udayadityavarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu) with following Prasat Baphuon.
Background: The grandeur of Baphuon as described above by Zhou Daguan is unrecognizable today because of the poor condition of the temple. The French were in the process of restoring this temple when they were forced leave Angkor in 1972 because of war. Baphuon is situated inside the royal city of Angkor Thom but dates from the eleventh century and was built before the city was established. An interesting feature of Baphuon are the bas-reliefs which are scenes carved in small squares. Unfortunately few of these are visible because of the poor state of the temple. The narrative themes are realistic depictions of daily life and forest scenes.
Baphuon is a single sanctuary temple-mountain situated on a high base. It is a symbolical representation of Mount Meru. A rectangular sandstone wall measuring 425 by 125 metres (1394 by 410 feet) encloses the temple. A long sandstone elevated approach (200 metres or 656 feet) at the east entrance forms a bridge to the main temple. It is supported by three rows of short columns.
Tip: Before walking down the approach turn left at the east entry tower and walk to the end of the gallery for a superb view of a four-faced tower of the Bayuon framed by a doorway of Baphuon. The approach is intercepted by a pavilion in the shape of a cross with terraces on the left and right sides. Turn left and walk to the opening the approach. Continue to the view of the arrangement of the imposing pillars under the approach. Continue to the end of the gallery to see a rectangular paved pool.
The temple stands on a rectangular sandstone base with five levels that are approximately the same size, rather than the more common form of successively smaller levels. The first, second and third levels are surrounded by sandstone galleries. Baphuon is the first structure in which stone galleries with a central tower appear. Two libraries in the shape of a cross with four porches stand in the courtyard. They were originally connected by an elevated walkway supported by columns.
The gallery of the enclosure collapsed and, at a later date, the stones from it were modeled into the shape of a reclining Buddha that spans the length of the west wall (the head is on the left, facing the temple). It is an abstract form and the outline of this Buddha is difficult to distinguish. A stairway leading to the summit begins in the middle of the Buddha. The top level is in poor condition due to several collapses. Originally there was a Central Sanctuary with two wings. Each side of the entrance to the Central Sanctuary is carved with fine animated figures. If you look carefully you can see these from the ground on the west side.
Beng Mealea was built in middle of the 12th century, with later additions in the reing of the Suryavarman II with the style of Agnkor Wat and dedicated to Hinduism.
40 km due east from Angkor Wat, take the road to Banteay Srei, but at the fork 2 km before Banteay Srei (31 km from the Grand Hotel, Siem Reap and 17.5 km from the village of Phum Pradak) take the right fork.
Continue for 8 km and at the crossroads turn right. After anther 26 km you reach a T-junction; turn left hear and after 11 km you reach the south gate of the temple. Enquire about the condition of the road before setting out; it may be impassable in the wet season and certain makeshift bridges may be unsafe. A total is 77 km from Siem Reap. Though unrestored, and in a fairly ruinous state, the large temple of Beng Mealea “Lotus Pond” some 40 km due east of Angkor on the ancient royal way to the “great Preah Khan” of Kompong Svay (another 60 km further on), is one of the major monuments of the classical period, in the style of Angkor Wat and roughly contemporary with it. Whoever built it must have been a figure of some importance, but he remains unknown, as no inscriptions have been found here, and no other that mentions it.
Its position was strategic, where the Royal way to Koh Ker in the NE forks from the road E to the “great Preah Khan”, and also at the head of a canal that leads directly to the Great Lake, down which sandstone blocks from the nearby quarries could have been floated on their way to Angkor.
Its chaotic state, with collapsed galleries and towers (the central sanctuary is virtually a pit, with no superstructure whatsoever) may be due to a variety of causes. The most important is simply the wear and tear of eight and a half centuries in a tropical climate, with the spread of vegetation, including the silk-cotton tree and strangler fig, going to work on some ambitious vaulting which was being tried out here and at Angkor Wat for the first time. It is not known whether there was any iconoclasm, a possibility whenever there is evidence of different faiths practiced, as here. Happily, there is no evidence of recent looting. There is a considerable disorder, but very romantic for all that.
Many of the early French scholars thought highly of this temple for both its architecture and its decoration. Coedes made a special study of its carving, and Groslier considered it to be a prototype, with a "harmony, powerful and sober". Its history is completely unknown, and it can be dated only by its style, which is of the mid-12th century. Beng Mealea was built of blue sandstone from local quarries, and while there are no narrative bas-relief panels as at Angkor Wat, there is a fair amount of decoration on walls and pilasters, all of a high standard, as well as apmras, lintels and few pediments. The religious history is also unknown, with carvings showing legends of Vishnu, Shiva and the Buddha.
The temple marked the centre of a town, surrounded by a moat 1025m by 875m, and 45m wide. Four paved avenues lead via cruciform terraces to the entrances at the cardinal points, and it is oriented to the E. Directly to the E of the complex is a large baray, with a small island containing a shrine in its centre, as usual. In plan, Beng Mealea reminds one of Angkor Wat, though all at ground level with no temple mountain. There are three concentric enclosures, each one set back slightly to the west, with the central shrine at the intersection of the axes (and so the intersection of the town's avenues as well). These enclosures are tied together with “cruciform cloisters”, just as at Angkor Wat, and in the NE and SE corners of the enclosures are shrines of the kind known wrongly as “libraries”. Also as at Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea has some impressive stone vaulting, and half-vaults that work as a kind of buttressing.
Without the ample space that there is at Angkor Wat, all these interconnecting galleries would be confusing enough, even if the temple were in a restored condition. In addition, however, there have been additions, such as the raised causeways and probably the cruciform terraces, possibly also the two large galleried structures that fill the space between the second and outer enclosures on the south side. In its present state this last is a warren of stone and vegetation.
Unlike Ta Prohm's controlled “wild” state where the undergrowth is cut back, Beng Mealea is genuinely uncleared - the real thing for would be explorers. You will need the services of a local guide, which is to say one of the villagers, and by the end of the visit you will be happy to pay for being taken around the tortuous route. This involves clambering through small spaces and along roof tops, although in time this may become restricted as access comes under the control of the Angkor authorities.
The state of the temple means that access is not by the obvious routes, and there are several ways of visiting. The route given here has been worked out by local guides, and shows most of what is interesting. Begin at the S gate of the outer enclosure, a short walk or drive from the road. Walk east along the outside of the wall to the SE corner pavilion. Here is excellent decorative carving on the walls, and a group of devatas, very clearly in the style of Angkor Wat, with stylised large folds of the sarong flying out left and right from above the belt. The expressions of these girls are particularly serene, and one is, unusually, cupping her bare breast (the guides never fail to point this out).
Continue around the outside of the E side, to the cruciform terrace, raised on circular columns, with the remains of naga balustrades. The rearing five-headed nagas are magnificent and elaborately decorated, each with a proboscis and all tied together with a large, arrow-like halo. The route continues past the NE corner pavilion and round to the north side, where several metres beyond it is easy to clamber over. Here you face one of the raised “libraries”. Walk left around this to the end of the small raised causeway that connects it to the “cruciform cloister”. For once, it is possible to use a doorway; once through, turn right and head W into the second enclosure, following the ledge on the inside of the gallery.
Enter the gallery of the inner enclosure a few steps S of the corner. On your left are the barely recognizable shrine and its vestibule, with a fallen lintel showing the Churning of the Sea of Milk. It is possible to walk around the upper part of the shrine, as the tower has completely collapsed. From here it is necessary to clamber southwards and up onto the roof of the N-S axial gallery. On either side as you walk there are views of the additional southern complexes. Descend to the left and enter a dark but impressive long vaulted gallery, running W-E along one side of one of these structures, exiting opposite the “library” of the SE corner. Turn right and you can climb out over the outer gallery. At this point, there is an unusual pediment over the door to your right, showing a god riding a rhinoceros. This is Agni “the god of fire” guardian of the SE, which accounts for his position in this part of the temple.
TA PRUHM Temple:
After ascending the throne of Cambodia in 1181 A.D, Jayavarman VII embarked on a massive program of construction and public works. Rajavihara “Royal temple”, today known as Ta Pruhm (ancestor Brahma), was one of the first temples founded pursuant to that program. The stele commemorating the foundation gives a date of 1186 A.D.
Jayavarman VII constructed Rajavihara in honor of his family. The temple’s main image, representing Prajnaparamita, the personification of wisdom, was modeled on the King’s mother.
The northern and southern satellite temples in the third enclosure were dedicated to the King’s guru and his elder brother respectively. As such, Ta Pruhm formed a complementary pair with the temple monastery of Preah Khan, dedicated in 1191 A.D, the main image of which represented the Bodhisattva of compassion Lokesvara and was modeled on the King’s father.
The temple’s stele was records that the site was home to more than 12,500 people (including 18 high priests and 615 dancers), with an additional 80,000 souls in the surrounding villages working to provide services and supplies. The stele also notes that the temple amassed considerable riches, including gold, pearls and silks. Expansions and additions to Ta Pruhm continued as late as the rule of Srindravarman at the end of the 13th century.
Abandonment and Restoration: After the fall of the Khmer empire in the 15th century, the temple of Ta Pruhm was abandoned and neglected for centuries. When the effort to conserve and restore the temples of Angkor began in the early 20th century, the École Française d’Extrême-Orient decided that Ta Pruhm would be left largely as it had been found, as a “concession to the general taste for the picturesque.” According to pioneering Angkor scholar Maurice Glaize, Ta Pruhm was singled out because it was “one of the most imposing temples and the one which had best merged with the jungle, but not yet to the point of becoming a part of it”. Nevertheless, much work has been done to stabilize the ruins, to permit access, and to maintain “this condition of apparent neglect.
As of 2010, however, it seems authorities have started to take a more aggressive approach to restoration. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is underway to restore the temple, with much of the work seemingly just rebuilding the temple from scratch as at other sites. Wooden walkways, platforms, and roped railings have been put in place around the site which now block some of the previously famous postcard photo opportunities.
EAST MEBON Temple:
East Mebon how to go: Location: Description: Also built in the 10th Century by Rajendravarman, this temple was situated on a small island in the middle of the Oriental, or Eastern, Baray. It has all the characteristics of the mountain temple but was accessible by boat only. From the inscriptions found close to it, we know that Rajendravarman dedicated it to his parents.
East Mebon is a large temple-mountain-like ruin, rising three levels and crowned by five towers. Jayavarman IV, a usurper to the throne, moved the capital from Angkor to Koh Ker in 928 A.D. Sixteen years later Rajendravarman II returned the capital to Angkor and shortly thereafter constructed East Mebon on an island in the middle of the now dry Eastern Baray. The temple is dedicated to Shiva in honor of the King’s parents. Inscriptions indicate that it was also built to help reestablish the continuity of Kingship at Angkor in light of the interruption that occurred when the seat of power had been moved to Koh Ker. There seems to be some scholarly debate as to whether East Mebon should be categorized as a temple-mountain. Inscriptions record activity at the temple as early as 947 A.D, but East Mebon was not consecrated until 952 A.D.
You need to use quite a bit of imagination when visiting the East Mebon temple. It's not that the temple is badly ruined. The imagination is needed to think of the temple as it originally existed, as an island in the middle of a large artificial lake, the Eastern Baray.
When it was built, around 952, the East Mebon must have been quite impressive. The pyramidal structure consists of three concentric tiers crowned by five towers. It is a typical motif of many Angkor temples, which seek to represent Mount Meru, the location of the Hindu "heaven". It must have been highly symbolic, rowing a boat across the lake to one of the temple's four landings, then climbing up the tiers to pray at the shrines.
On arriving at the temple, one of the first things you'll notice is the large elephants standing at each corner of the lowest tier. The elephants are carved from a single block of stone. Gateways in the center of each side lead up to the second and third platforms.
It was realized during the reign of Yasovarman towards the end of the 9th century and supplied by waters from the Siem Reap River. This vast reservoir served to regulate the flow of the river and to irrigate the surrounding plain, is today given over to rice fields. To judge by the laterite steps that surround the small island of the Mebon, the original depth of water contained was approximately three meters and its volume must have been some 40 million cubic meters.
The Mebon has all the characteristics of a “temple-mountain” symbolizing Mount Meru - here there is a three-metre high central platform carrying the quincunx of towers. Originally the Mebon temple stood on an island surrounded entirely by the waters of the Eastern Baray - accessible only by boat. The centre of the Baray was marked by this small island of 120 metres across on which the temple stands. The main entry pavilion of the Royal Palace and the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom were subsequently aligned along this axis.
Several inscriptions found in the vicinity as well as the foundation stele - dated 952 (only nine years prior to Pre Rup temple) describe the placing in the various sanctuaries of the linga Sri Rajendresvara, of several gods - notably Shiva and Parvati "in the likeness of the mother and the father" of King Rajendravarman in addition to Vishnu with Brahma. Eight linga of the god in eight forms were also placed in the eight small towers of the surrounding court. The Mebon belongs to a group of temples consecrated to the memory of deified parents.
According to an inscription, the walls were originally covered externally with a lime-based plaster coating (as evident at Pre Rup temple) with the pitted hammer marks in the brickwork to adhere the stucco onto the towers, the only remaining evidence. Most lintels remain in place on this monument and are of excellent craftsmanship. On the central tower to the east, Indra on a three-headed elephant with flights of figures disgorged by makara, under a small frieze of figures in meditation; to the west, Skanda the god of war on his peacock with a line of figures holding lotus flowers; and to the south, Shiva on the sacred bull Nandin.
East Mebon, a 10th century Hindu temple, erected by Rajendravarman II, would have been on an islet in the centre of the Eastern Baray, but is now very much on dry land. This temple is like a smaller version of Pre Rup, which was built 15 to 20 years later and lies to the south. The temple-mountain form is topped off by the now familiar quincuncial arrangement of towers. The elaborate brick shrines are dotted with neatly arranged holes, which attached the original plasterwork. The base of the temple is guarded at its corners by perfectly carved stone figures of harnessed elephants, many of which are still in a very good state of preservation.
The East Mebon was built dedicated to the Hindu god of Shiva and honours the parents of the King. Its location reflects Khmer architects? Concern with orientate and cardinal directions. It was built on a north-south axis with Rajendravarman’s state temple, Pre Rup, located about 1,200 meters to the south just outside the Baray. The East Mebon also lies on an east-west axis with the palace temple Phimeanakas, another creation of Rajendravarman’s reign, located about 6,800 meters due west.
It has two enclosing walls and three tiers. It includes the full array of durable Khmer construction materials: sandstone, brick, laterite and stucco. At the top is a central tower on a square platform, surrounded by four smaller towers at the platform’s corners. The towers are of brick; holes that formerly anchored stucco are visible.
The sculpture at the East Mebon is varied and exceptional, including two-meter-high free-standing stone elephants at corners of the first and second tiers. Religious scenes include the god Indra atop his three-headed elephant Airavata, and Shiva on his mount, the sacred bull Nandi. Carving on lintels is particularly elegant.
East Mebon is a small temple built in the reign of King Rajendravarman, who named the temple “Yashodharatataka” (the reservoir of Yashodhara). King Rajendravarman greatly admired King Yashovarman I, who ruled from 889-900 A.D. and built the East Baray (reservoir). Out of respect, King Rajendravarman built East Mebon at the center of the Baray. Its main god was Rajendreshvara, a linga of the present King.
The lovely temple of Mebon, a pyramid of receding terraces on which are placed many detached edifices, the most effective being the five towers which crown the top could any conception be lovelier, a vast expanse of sky-tinted water as wetting for a perfectly ordered temple. The East Mebon is 500 metre (1,640 feet) north of Pre Rup. A enter and leave the temple from the east entrance. It was built in the second half of the tenth century (952) by King Rajendravarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu), an ancestor temple in memory of the parents of the King with following the Pre Rup style art.
The Mebon stands on a small island in the middle of the Eastern Baray, which was a large body of water (2 by 7 kilometers, 1.2 by 4.3 miles) fed by the Siem Reap River. The temple was accessible only by boat. Today the Baray, once a source of water for irrigation, is a plain of rice fields and the visitor is left to imagine the original majesty of this temple in the middle of a large lake.
The East Mebon is a temple with five towers arranged like the numbers on a die atop a base with three tiers. The whole is surrounded by three enclosures. The towers represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru.
The stairways of the tiered base are flanked by lions. Beautiful monolithic elephants stand majestically at the corners of the first and second tiers. They are depicted naturalistically with fine detail such as harnessing.
Tip: The elephant in the best condition, and the most complete, is in the southwest corner.
The large inner courtyard contains eight small brick towers two on each side opening to the East. Each one has octagonal columns and finely worked lintels with figures amongst leaf decorations. On the East Side of the courtyard there are three rectangular laterite buildings without windows opening to the west. The two on the left of the entrance are decorated with either scenes of the stories of the nine planets or the seven ascetics. Vestiges of bricks above the cornices suggest they were vaulted. There are two more buildings (without windows) of similar form at the northwest and southwest comers of the courtyard.
Kbal Spean is an ancient Angkor ruin that is a 90-minute bumpy ride from Siem Reap, on the same route to Banteay Srei. The tarred road ends at Banteay Srei, after which the roads become either very muddy or very dusty, depending on the time of the year. Upon your arrival at the foothills, get ready for another 45 minutes of moderately easy uphill climb. All this are the sake of viewing the carvings of lingas on the riverbed of the Siem Reap River, making it a "river of 1,000 lingas". The belief is that the lingas "fertilize" the water that feed the East Baray and irrigates the rice fields.
KAMPONG KHLEANG Temple:
Kampong Khleang is located on the northern lake-edge about 55 km east of Siem Reap town, more remote and less tourist than Kampong Pluk. Visitors to Kampong Khleang during the dry season are universally awestruck by the forest of stilted houses rising up to 10 meters in the air. In wet season the waters rise up to one or two meters of the buildings. Like Kampong Pluk, Kampong Khleang is a permanent community within the flood plain of the Lake, with an economy based in fishing and surrounded by flooded forest. But Kampong Khleang is significantly larger with nearly 10 times the population of Kampong Pluk, making it the largest community on the Lake.
The area can be reached by charter boat from the Chong Khneas dock takes about two and a half hours or by a combination of road to Domdek on Route 6 takes one and a half hour reach to dock and then meet a boatman drive another one hour to the village, the best method depending on the time of year. During the dry season, boats cannot get all of the way to the main villages. Consult with our tour operator about current conditions. Many travel agencies have very little experience in this area, our Tour operator is specialized in this area.
Phnom Bakheng is a temple built on a hill of the same name, where the first city at Angkor was established. This gives its state temple on Phnom Bakheng special significance. It was to here that Yasovarman I moved his capital from Roluos. His capital city, called Yasodharapura, was larger than Angkor Thom, which came later, and was centre around the hill of Phnom Bakheng.
The design of the temple of Bakheng borrowed elements from the Bakong which was built 20 years earlier. Both are step pyramids of ascending square terraces. We do know that work on the temple began at the end of the 9th century. The linga in the central sanctuary was dedicated around 907 A.D, while construction work continued. The temple was called Yasodharesvara, after its patron deity, which means Lord who Bears Glory. In 928 the temple was abandoned, only to be briefly rehabilitated in 968 by Jayavarman V.
Kravan temple is located east of Angkor Wat and south of Banteay Kdei. The temple was built in 921 during the reign of King Harshavarman I (AD 910-923), dedicated to Vishnu Brahmanism. It may have been built in high court officials. Although this temple looks small and somewhat undistinguished from the outside, it contains some remarkable brick of clay sculptures on its interior walls which stand alone as unique example in Khmer art.
The interior of two of the five towers has sculptures depicting Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi, the scene is the central tower is the most impressive, but both are exceptional in statue and quality of workmanship. The five brick towers are in a row on one platform which is decorate with carved, sandstone, lintels and columns. All the towers open to the east.
CHAO SAY TEVADA Temple:
Chao Say Tevada is design in the Angkor Wat temple style in the early of the 12th century by Suryavarman II (1113 – 1150) in religion of Hindu.
On the small circuit, on the right side while leaving Angkor Thom by Victory Gate, opposite Thomanun temple. Chao Say Tevada is currently very interesting to be able to observe the enormous work that requires: the method used, the anastylose, consists in dismounting the monument item by item then to rebuild it by reconstituting the missing elements. This very hard method applies perfectly to the Khmer monuments and makes it possible to return to them an aspect nearest possible to that of origin contrary to the methods of restorations traditional.
The restoration is illustrated and commented in a small building located near the temple, it is a unique opportunity to understand the vastness of work in progress or to come on the site of Angkor.
PHNOM KROM HILLTOP Temple:
This is the big hill that you see near the landing if you head to Siem Reap by bullet boat. The hilltop area provides magnificent panoramic views of the Great Lake Tonle Sap, the surrounding countryside and Siem Reap town. The commanding view of the lake was used for a more practical, albeit more deadly, purpose in the fairly recent past as evidenced by a big gun mounted on the side of the hill and pointing toward the landing part of the Great Lake.
A modern-era active temple shares the hilltop with the temple ruins of Phnom Krom. There are seven crumbling towers among the ruins in two lines, with four towers east and three towers a bit higher up nearby and west. The 11th century ruins are definitely in need of a facelift and it looks like they may get one at some point as a sign in front states that a project is underway. Unfortunately, the same sign has made the same announcement with no results apparent since a year ago.
To get there, just follow Sivutha Street south out of Siem Reap town. The road follows the river for much of the way and road is in good shape for most of the short journey. You will arrive at the base of the hill after just 15 minutes and there is an archway and stairway that you take up about halfway, which leads to the spot near the big gun. From there you follow a small road to the temple area. You can actually ride all the way up by going past the stairway, beyond the house and tree area, where you will see a long out-building off on the right side. Follow the small road that runs along side of the building and stay on this winding road to the temple area. There are drink and food stands at the base of the stairway to re-hydrate after the trip.
PHNOM KULEN National Park:
Kunlen mount is situated at north east of Angkor Complex about 50 Km, it takes approximately 2 hours drive up to the hill top with 487 meters height and plateau stretches 30 km long, it is opened for tourists in 1999 by private owned and charged for $20 toll per foreign visitors. The company developed road up to the peak. It is only possible to go up before 11 Am and only possible to come down after midday, to avoid vehicles meeting on the narrow road.
Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and it is a popular place for domestic visitors during weekends and festivals. The hill is used as the ancient capital city II in AD 802 declared himself as god King and announced independence from Java, then giving birth to present day Cambodia.
On the hilltop there are 56 Angkorian temples made of bricks and volcanic stones, but most of them are badly in poor condition, today name Hahendrapura, founded in the reign of King Jayavarman temple base only is remain intact.
The visible sites in modern day are Prasat Kraul Romeas, Rong Chen (the first mountain temple), Srah Damrei (Elephant pond), Thousands of phallic symbols carved a long liver bed and divided in three ports for the Hindu trinity gods. These three ports used for baptistery. At the summit of the hill you can see Buddhist pagoda and a large reclining Buddha statue 8 meters length carved into a sandstone bock in 16th century.
The last attractive spot is a waterfall, it splits in two spots the first waterfall is four or five meters heights and 20 to 25 diameters in dry and raining seasons. The second waterfall is 15 to 20 meters heights and 10 to 15 diameters in dry and raining seasons.
The water is considered holy and Khmers like to bottle it to take home with them. The source of water eventually flows in to Tonle Sap Lake and is thought to bless the water ways of Cambodia.
PREAH KHAN Temple:
Preah Khan temple is located 2 kilometers north-east of Angkor Thorn on the Grand Circuit. The temple was built in the second half of the 12th century in AD 1191 by King Jayavarman VII, dedicating to his father Dharanindravarman. The Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares served as the nucleus of a group that includes Neak Pean and Ta Som, located 4 kilometers long Jayatataka Baray the last of the great reservoirs to be built in Angkor.
The inscription indicates that Preah Khan was built on the battle site where King Jayavarman VII finally defeated the Chams. In those days it was known as Nagarajayacri which mean the city of Preah Khan.
Four concentric ramparts subdivide Preah Khan. The outer or fourth wall, which is encircled by a wide moat, today encloses a large tract of jungle, formerly the living quarters of the monks, students and attendants of Preah Khan. The second rampart delineated the principle religious compound of about four hectares within which there is a dense concentration of temple and shrines. The central complex is Buddhist. The northern and western sectors are dedicated to Brahmanism Vishnu (west) and Shiva (north), whilst the southern sector is a place of ancestor worship. The eastern sector forms the grand entrance to the central shrine.
A place for a King located near Preah Khan temple is called Veal Reacheak or Preah Reachea Dak. It is 1,500 meters long and 1,200 meters wide. Nearby about 700 meters north of Preah Khan temple along the road to Angkor Thorn district is another small temple called Ptu. The temple was made of laterite.
Angkor National Museum:
Visiting the Angkor National Museum was an eerie, surreal experience. For the first 45 minutes of the trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The museum opened in November 2007, and it’s freshly painted, shopping mall like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-conditioner alternative to visiting the temples themselves, and a nice educational supplement to the history of Angkor if you visit the park without a tour guide. It's composed of eight separate galleries, all connected by a vaulted corridor with a series of fountains and lined with what seems like all the Angkorian limestone lion and demon heads missing from statues at the temples. After an explanatory film screening called Story behind the legend, you're pointed toward the galleries:
Gallery 1; 1,000 Buddha Images: This is the only gallery that's just one large room, rather than a series of maze like alcoves, and the sight of all these Buddhas at once is striking. Hundreds of small and miniature Buddha figurines, made of metals, jewels and wood, all individually illuminated, line the walls here, identified according to the period they were made during and where they were discovered. In the centre, life size and larger Buddha characters are displayed. The display includes Buddhas from Banteay Kdei, Bayon, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear.
Gallery 2; Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilization: This gallery and all the subsequent ones combine mural size explanations and short films through maze like rooms explaining Angkorian history. The styles of figurines precede the trademark Angkor style, and there's a large collection of Lingas, lintels and colonnades.
Gallery 3; Religion and Beliefs: This room explains several of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist religious stories and folk tales depicted on Angkorian temples, including the most memorable Churning of the Sea of Milk carved into the rear wall at Angkor Wat. Carvings of Buddhist and Hindu religious figures are concentrated here as well.
Gallery 4; The Great Khmer Kings: The gallery focuses on King Jayavarman II, Yasovarman I, Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, those most responsible for Angkor's greatest constructions. Figures of the Kings and relics from the temples they commissioned abound.
Gallery 5; Angkor Wat: There's a large film gallery inside this section of the museum. It features beautiful, panoramic images of the temple and explanations of how it was constructed. There are also many restored figures from the temple itself as well as post Angkorian wooden statues used for worship at the temple until several hundred years ago.
Gallery 6; Angkor Thom: In addition to recovered artefacts from Angkor Thom, this gallery includes a history of and artefacts from the vast irrigation projects commissioned by the King who built Angkor Thom with his smiling face looking out from every tower: Jayavarman VII.
Gallery 7; Story From Stones: This room is one of the most interesting. It's a collection of stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions. The writing on each slate is explained on placards below. The writing on them includes the declaration of the construction of a new hospital, lists of slave names, mediations of land disputes and adulations of Kings and gods.
Gallery 8; Ancient Costume: From Apsaras and Kings to princesses and warriors, this room contains the busts and statues of distinct fashions and styles as they evolved throughout Angkor time. There's also a collection of ancient jewellery and headdresses. It's a clever segue to the final room “the gift shop” where upscale imitations of these fashions abound.
It's $12 to enter the museum, plus another $3 if you want to bring in your camera and another $3 for an educational headset. Sadly, like ticketing and management of the Angkor park, the museum is owned and run by a private company, so little of your admission money goes to Cambodia or to temple restoration (though what the company paid for the concession might). Still, it's perhaps better than these artifacts remaining in the hands of private collectors. A connected mall is still under construction but has a few open stores, including a Blue Pumpkin satellite, several souvenir shops and the sure sign of apocalypse.
Civil War Museum:
The guy that runs this small and very new place was forced to join the Khmer Rouge as a boy and trained to make as lay landmines, something they were all too good at. The Vietnamese-installed government rescued him in 1985 so his story goes and thereafter he helped the government in clearing areas where landmines have been laid. His name is Akira and he is a friendly guy that speaks English and Japanese ad is happy to visit with people that come by.
He has a lot of the weaponry on hand that has been used over these past few decades, during Cambodia’s civil war and the long struggle against the Khmer Rouge that followed. It’s worth a look. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. To get there go past the Hotel Grande de Angkor (on the road to the Angkor ticket checkpoint) about 1 km to a small sign on the right for the Civil War Museum. Turn right, and follow this road to a four way intersection and turn left. There is a sign for the place here. Go about 1 km and you will see it on the right.
Civil War Museum, Siem Reap is one of the popular tourist attractions in Siem Reap. Whenever you come to Siem Reap, visit this sightseeing spot to get a better insight into the history of the region. The Civil War Museum, Siem Reap is run by a guy who was forced to join the Khmer Rouge as a boy and trained to make as lay landmines, something they were all too good at. After the Vietnamese-installed government rescued him in the year 1985, he helped the government in clearing areas where landmines have been laid. The name of this boy is Akira and he is a friendly guy. He speaks English and Japanese and feels very happy to meet the people who come to visit this place.
The guy who runs the Civil War Museum, Siem Reap has a lot of the weaponry on hand that have been used over these past few decades, during Cambodia’s civil war and the long struggle against the Khmer Rouge that followed. The collection in this Civil War Museum in Siem Reap is definitely worth a look for one and all who are intrigued by the turbulent past of this place.
The admission to the Civil War Museum, Siem Reap is free, but donations are appreciated. If you want to get to the museum then go past the Hotel Grande de Angkor on the road to the Angkor ticket checkpoint about 1 kilometer to a small sign on the right for the Civil War Museum. Then turn right, and follow this road to a four-way intersection and turn left. You will find a sign for the place here. Drive for more 1 kilometer and you will reach the Civil War Museum.
Angkor Handicraft 1:
Angkor Handicraft 1 How to go: 1.5 km (5mn) From Provincial Town. Location: Description: Location: Steung Thmey Village, Sway Dongkom Commune, Siem Reap District.
Angkor Handicraft 2: Angkor Handicraft 2 How to go: 7 km (15mn) From Provincial Town. Location: Description Angkor Compound.
At the Silk Farm free-guided tours of the workshops will show you how silk is traditionally worked in Cambodia. Learn about the culture of mulberry trees providing feed for silkworm and observe artisans removing of the silk thread from the cocoons and working the thread prior to traditional dyeing and weaving. You can also experience the art of silk by yourself in a dedicated workshop o silk weaving and painting at the Angkor Silk Farm.
There is a crocodile farm on the south end of Siem Reap town and they have about 300 crocodiles of various sizes and dispositions. They charge US$ 1 admission for foreigners and 1,000 riel for Cambodians. You can buy stuffed crocs on the premises. Just head south on Sivutha Street, cross the bridge and it's down another kilometres from there.
Angkor Zoo: The Angkor Zoo is situated 5 km from Provincial Town and takes around 10 minutes to reach to the location. It is located on the turn off just past the admission entrance to the temples on the right hand side about 1 kilometer down the road. If you do not wish to walk to the Zoo, you can take tuk-tuk to reach this place. Unfortunately the zoo has gone pretty much to ruins and is not very well maintained. If you wish, you can donate some money for the maintenance of the zoo. Porcupines to some extent always present a problem. They are expert excavators and cages often need solid cement floors to prevent their escape. We have already built many very large enclosures for other species and had the option of placing them in these. Both groups of porcupines from Angkor are now in our two spacious, forested serow enclosures, one group in each.
One pair traveled down with their two very tiny babies perfect miniature replicas of the adults. All arrived safely and are now enjoying their new natural environment. Despite their years of captivity in their hot, dusty cages at Angkor Zoo, they have reverted to a nocturnal way of life and we seldom see them. We now have porcupines at PTWRC sharing cages with the following animals: serow, peafowl, gibbons, muntjac, and civets. We do this out of necessity as we do not have the money to provide individual cages for each species and have to use resources wisely. We believe that this is also an appropriate and ecologically responsible way to allow animals to interact as they would in the wild, as long as there is no chance of them harming one another.
Apsara Dance; Traditional Khmer Dance-Drama and Dance-Drama Performances:
No visit to Cambodia is complete without attending at least one traditional Khmer dance performance, often referred to as “Apsara Dance” after one of the most popular Classical dance pieces. Traditional Khmer dance is better described as “dance-drama” in that the dances are not merely dance but are also meant to convey a story or message. There are four main modern genres of traditional Khmer dance: 1-Classical Dance, also known as Court or Palatine Dance (lakhon preah reach troap or lakhon luong); 2- Shadow theater (sbek thom and sbek touch); 3-Lakhon Khol (all-male masked dance-drama.); 4- Folk Dance (Ceremonial and Theatrical).
As evidenced in part by the innumerable Apsaras (celestial dancers) that adorn the walls of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian temples, dance has been part of Khmer culture for well more than a millennium, though there have been ruptures in the tradition over the centuries, making it impossible to precisely trace the source of the tradition. Much of traditional dance (especially Classical) is inspired by Angkorian-era art and themes, but the tradition has not been passed unbroken from the age of Angkor. Most traditional dances seen today were developed in the 18th through 20th centuries, beginning in earnest with a mid-19th century revival championed by King Ang Duong (reigned 1841-1869). Subsequent Kings and other Khmer Royals also strongly supported the arts and dance, most particularly Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearireach (retired King Norodom Sihanouk's mother) in the mid-20th century, who not only fostered resurgence in the study and development of Khmer traditional dance, but also helped move it out of the Palace and popularize it. Queen Sisowath Kossamak trained her grand daughter Princess Bopha Devi in the art of traditional dance from early childhood, who went on to become the face of Khmer traditional dance in the 1950s and 60s both in Cambodia and around the world. Many traditional dances that are seen in performances today were developed and refined between the 1940s and 1960s under the guidance and patronage of Queen Sisowath Kossamak at the Conservatory of Performing Arts and the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. Almost all of the Theatrical Folk dances that are presented in modern performances were developed during this period. Like so much of Cambodian art and culture, traditional dance was almost lost under the brutal repression of the Khmer Rouge regime of the late 1970s, only to be revived and reconstructed in the 1980s and 90s due, in large part, to the extraordinary efforts of Princess Bopha Devi.
Classical dance, including the famous “Apsara dance”, has a grounded, subtle, even restrained, yet feather-light, ethereal appearance. Distinct in its ornate costuming, taut posture, arched back and feet, fingers flexed backwards, codified facial expressions, slow, close, deliberate but flowing movements, Classical dance is uniquely Khmer. It presents themes and stories inspired primarily by the Reamker (the Cambodian version of the Indian classic, the Ramayana) and the Age of Angkor.
Folk Dance comes in two forms: ceremonial and theatrical. As a general rule, only Theatrical Folk Dance is presented in public performances, with Ceremonial Folk Dances reserved for particular rituals, celebrations and holidays. Theatrical Folk Dances such as the popular Good Harvest Dance and the romantic Fishing Dance are usually adaptations of dances found in the countryside or inspired by rural life and practices. Most of the Theatrical Folk Dances that are seen in performances today were developed at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in the 1960s as part of an effort to preserve and perpetuate Khmer culture and arts.
Shadow theatre comes in two forms: Sbek Thom (big puppets that are actually panels depicting certain characters from the story) and Sbek Touch (small articulated puppets). The black leather puppets are held in front of a light source, either in front or behind a screen, creating a shadow or silhouette effect. Sbek Thom is the more uniquely Cambodian, more formal of the two types, restricting it to stories from the Reamke. The performance is accompanied by a pin peat orchestra and narration, and the puppeteers are silent, moving the panels with dance-like movements. Sbek Touch has a far lighter feel, presenting popular stories of heroes, adventures, love and battles, with or without orchestra and with the puppeteers often doing the narration. Lakhon Khol is all male masked theatre presenting exclusively stories from the Reamke.
Most dance performances in Siem Reap offer a mixture of Classical and Theatrical Folk dances. A few venues offer Shadow Theater. Many of the dance performances in Siem Reap consist of 4-6 individual dances, often opening with an Apsara Dance, followed by two other Classical dances and two or three Theatrical Folk dances. The Apsara Dance is a Classical dance inspired by the Apsara carvings and sculptures of Angkor and developed in the late 1940s by Queen Sisowath Kossamak. Her grand daughter and protégé, Princess Bopha Devi, was the first star of the Apsara Dance. The central character of the dance, the Apsara Mera, leads her coterie of Apsaras through a flower garden where they partake of the beauty of the garden. The movements of the dance are distinctly Classical yet, as the dance was developed for theatrical presentation, it is shorter and a bit more relaxed and flowing than most Classical dances, making it both an excellent example of the movements, manner and spirit of Classical dance and at the same time particularly accessible to a modern audience unaccustomed to the style and stories of Khmer dance-drama.
Another extremely popular dance included in most traditional dance performances in Siem Reap is the Theatrical Folk Dance known as the “Fishing Dance”. The Fishing Dance is a playful, energetic folk dance with a strong, easy-to-follow story line. It was developed in the 1960s at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and was inspired by the developer's interpretation of certain rather idealized and stereotyped aspects of rural life and young love. Clad in rural attire, a group of young men and women fish with rattan baskets and scoops, dividing their attention between work and flirtatious glances. Women are portrayed as hardworking, shy, demurring and coy, whereas the young men are strong, unrestrained, roguish and assertive. As the dance continues a couple is separated from the group allowing the flirtations between them to intensify, only to be spoiled by the male character playing a bit too rough, leading to her coy rejection. He pokes and plays trying to win her back, bringing only further rejection. Eventually he gently apologizes on bended knee and after some effort, draws a smile and her attention once again. Just as they move together, the group returns, startling the couple and evoking embarrassment as they both rush to their “proper” roles once again. The men and women exit at opposite sides of the stage, leaving the couple almost alone, but under pressure of the groups, they separate, leaving in opposite directions, yet with index finger placed to mouth, hint of a secret promise to meet again. (In an interesting side note, placing one's index finger to the lips to denote quiet or secrecy is not, generally speaking, a gesture found in Cambodia, but is common in the West. Its employment in the dance probably indicates a certain amount of “foreign influence” amongst the Cambodian choreographers when the dance was developed in the 1960s.)
Recommended reading: Dance in Cambodia by Tony Samantha Phim and
New York: Oxford University Press, 1999
Dance of Life: The Mythology, History and Politics of Cambodian
Culture by Julie B. Metha.
Singapore: Graham Brash Pte. Singapore, 2001
Performance Venues in Siem Reap: There are occasional dance performances at the temples but most visitors attend one of the nightly dinner performances at a local restaurant. Dinner ordinarily begins at 6:00 or 7:00PM and dance performances at 7:30PM or 8:00PM, consisting of 4 or 5 dances, lasting about 45 minutes to an hour in all. (Contact the performance venue for specifics.) Many places offer a buffet featuring Khmer and international food. Some offer a set menu Khmer dinner. Price and venue style vary considerably. Most restaurants with buffets and set menus are run between $10 and $25 including the buffet and performance. Some restaurants do not charge admission for the performance, but you are expected to order dinner. For the best seats, call for reservations, especially during the high season.
Angkor Night Market: The Angkor Night Market is designed to give visitors a safe, secure, and enjoyable shopping and dining experience in a vibrant, contemporary Khmer environment. As well as a wide variety of stalls offering diverse range of goods and services in a hassle-free environment, the Angkor Night Market includes the ambient Island Bar and food court serving all the usual drinks, cocktails and large menu of Asian and Western cuisine from the afternoon until late night. Open from 4pm-12am every day.
“Most of the popular bars, both Cambodian and Western in style, are at the Old Market in Siem Reap, on what else but “Pub Street” and the smaller side streets branching off from it. Nightlife goes on until the morning some nights in this area.”
While the above was true once, nightlife around town is changing, with Pub Street becoming a bit more of a dinner street than a nightlife street. The Angkor Wat bar and the Temple Club are the exceptions, with ground shaking music going on well into the evening, or morning, and plenty of backpackers shaking to the beat. Off of Pub Street the following places also see a fair bit of night time action.
The X Bar is now by far the post 3 AM venue of choice, rocking on through dawn virtually every night. Good food, movie nights regularly.
Abacus is known for its great food, but is also a nice bar, a bit more of a French crowd, but definitely one of the places to be in town.
The Laundry Bar maintains its hold on those looking for a more mellow experience, with fantastic lounge music and great atmosphere.
The Warehouse is the place to kick off a big night, and will often go late if the mood is right. Probably the best cocktails in town and a variety of music depending on the evening and the bar tender are urges. Also probably the best place to be for football viewing. Good food.
Aqua Sydney is a swimming pool/bar and a nice place to while away some hours morning, noon, or night. A bit off the beaten tracked but worth finding.
The Funky Munky has moved, but will likely retain the same midday and early evening may hem they are famous for at their new location near Pub Street. Excellent English of pub grub.
The Ivy Bar serves some of the best European food around. Not a late night bar, but an ex-pat favorite and a good place to sit for dinner and a few drinks with a chance to hear some of the local gossip.
Cafe Bar-Noir! Located in The Cockatoo Nature Resort, on the second floor of an elegantly restored/renovated Khmer house, this bar is unique – it holds movie nights for cineastes, with focus on film classics including Hollywood film-nor (hence the name). Cocktails are named after movies such as Gilda and Double Indemnity. Semi-open verandah overlooks beautiful pool and gardens, making a very romantic venue at night.
Pub Street: After the sun goes down, the focus shifts firmly a block east of the Old Market to the “Pub Street” and the nearby alleys, so named for the numerous and varied restaurants and pubs that line Street 8. It all began in 1998 when Angkor Wat Bar opened its doors – the lone pub on an otherwise quiet street. These days Pub Street is packed end to end with restaurants, boutiques, shops and pubs as are the many of the connecting alleys and passages, each with its own special character.
Bird Sanctuary at Prek Toal:
Boat trip to Prek Toal takes about two hours from Chong Kneas boat dock, upon arrival meet Prek Toal Environmental Research Station for guiding tour to birds’ sanctuary. The Research Station has information on the area's flora and fauna. There are also basic overnight accommodations at the Research Station if you want to stay the night to take full advantage of the sunset and early morning viewing hours. The entrance free for birds watching for two persons cost 25$ each, 3 pax up cost 20$ per person including boat guided tour to birds sanctuary. Your entrance fee expense use to help promote responsible tourism in Cambodia, and contributes to the conservation of the area especially educate children, villagers about the importance of the birds and the unique flooded forest environment, all your expenses go through to local communities the “bird sanctuary” at the Prek Toal core area of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve has been called "the single most important breeding ground in Southeast Asia for globally threatened large water birds.
The Biosphere covers 31,282 hectares at the northwest tip of the Tonle Sap Lake and plays host to species including Greater and Lesser Adjuncts, Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork, Milky Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle and many more species. Of the three Biosphere core areas on the Tonle Sap Lake, Prek Toal is the most popular with birdwatchers. The best time to explore is the dry season between Decembers to May when flocks of migratory birds congregate at Prek Toal. While the dry season progresses and the water recedes, the number of birds increased, but the tour to some of the more important viewing areas becomes more difficult. That's why requires to rent a small motorboat drives a long the stream for one hour to birds tower.
The Tonle Sap is connected to the Mekong by a short river also called Tonle Sap. During the rainy season, from May to October, the river reverses its flow into the lake causing it to expand to more than six or seven times its normal size of approximately 2,600 square kilometers. It becomes a vast inland sea.
Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting myriad water birds. Villages along the shores live with the rhythm of the season and the floods. Prek Toal is one of the most attractive floating fishing villages on the Tonle Sap lake, with a school, hospital, restaurants, shop and even a pagoda. Just behind the Prek Toal village are flooded forests with bird sanctuaries. Every year, between December and March, thousands of birds come to fish and to breed here.
Kampong Pluk is about 20 Km locates on the Southeast of Siem Reap Town. Two ways are accessible to Kampong Pluk, a charter boat ride from Chong Kneas takes one and a half hour and the other by overland just one hour by car, upon arrival at dock meet a boatman drives a long a small stream to the village. In dry period we can drive motorbike or car all the way to the village because the road is clear.
Over 3000 inhabitants are real Khmers, their households made of wood and bamboo built on stilts of about 6m to 7m high. During dry season when the lake is low and lack of water those buildings look like the skyscrapers. At this time of the year many of villagers move out onto the lake and build at provisional stilted houses. In wet season while the water level rises up again, the dwellers move back to their permanent houses on the flood plain, the stilts now hidden under the water. People made a living by catching fishes produce as well as smelly fish paste, fermented fish, smoked fish, dried fish, dried prawn etc.
Upon arrival this village we will explore the above activities and we can have a chat with children at private English class, then stop at Buddhist Island to see Buddha paintings. The last fascinating spot, we take a mini boat row to see flooded mangrove forest surrounds the area and it is home to a variety of wildlife including crabs, snakes, rats etc.
River & Park Area:
The Siem Reap River parkways and the big park in front of the Hotel Grand d'Angkor are nice for a jog, stroll and people watching, especially in the early evening hours when the locals are out in numbers. The river area is pleasant and the park is nicely landscaped. There are plenty of drink and snack vendors around. The King's Siem Reap residence is just across from the park.
Siem Reap Lake Golf Club; Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
The Siem Reap Lake Resort is construction in 72 pars and 18 holes. The Golf Club is the third international standard golf course in Siem Reap. The course took 1 year to construct and cost $150 million US dollar and is located only 6km from the centre of Siem Reap. The course was designed by Kentaro Sato, the well-known Japanese golf course designer. The course is owned by a Korean company and no expense has been spared making the Siem reap Golf Club the largest Angkor Wat golf resort.
The Siem Reap Lake Golf Course layout features generous palm lined fairways and with five sets of tees is suitable for both beginners and the most accomplished golfers. Both nines open with long par 5s which is a bit unusual. Additionally, the toughest par are saved for holes 9 and 18, insuring that golfers keep their concentration through to the end of the front and back, respectively, to score well.
Other unique features of the Siem Reap Lake Golf Club are meandering creeks that cross several of the holes almost making for blind water hazards and severe green side bunkering which demands accurate shot making into the greens. On the other hand the fairways are wide and flat and the greens very large which balances out the course difficultly very nicely.
Course conditions are immaculate and the club house stands out as the largest structure among the surrounding rice paddies. Elaborate saunas and showing areas are available for golfers bathing after the round. Several restaurants are available although the Korean dishes are highly recommended over the local fare. Over the next 2 years KTC Leisure plans to expand the site introducing luxury villas, a hotel, a water park, and Cambodia is first horse racing track.
| Year Built
| Guest Policy
| Golf Season
|| Year round
| Driving Range Available
| Rental Carts Available
| Rental Clubs Available
| Pro Shop
| Pro Available
| Teaching Pro
| Tee Times Welcome
| Other facilities
|| Clubhouse, Restaurants, Sauna, Spa
Phokeethra Country Club:
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Phokeethra Country Club is Cambodia’s debut international quality course, offering clients the best of modern golfing, while retaining the refined ambiance of an exclusive country club. The Club is part of the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, with its dedication to luxury, art de vivre elegance, and a personalized style of service that makes it a choice 5-star accommodation for any golfing or family holiday.
| Year Built
| Guest Policy
| Driving Range Available
| Putting Green Available
| Rental Carts Available
| Rental Clubs Available
| Pro Shop
| Pro Available
| Teaching Pro
| Tee Times Welcome
| Other facilities
|| Clubhouse, Restaurants, Sauna, Massage, Bar
Angkor Golf Resort; Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Located just a short drive from the airport and the center of Siem Reap, the Nick Faldo-designed course at Angkor Golf Resort provides an exciting challenge for golfers of all handicaps. The 600-plus-yard, par-5 third hole is a highlight of play at Angkor. The longest hole on the golf course, it begins with a tee shot through a narrow gap in the trees. Water runs down the entire left side of the hole but really comes into play only on the second shot and the approach. The green is long and narrow and is hard by the water’s edge, making par a very good score.
|Driving Range Available
|Putting Green Available
|Rental Carts Available
|Rental Clubs Available
|Price Range Weekdays
|Price Range Weekends
||Clubhouse, restaurant, bar
| Red (W)
Srok Yeung or Our Ecotourism Site; Background: Srok Yeung or Our Ecotourism Site is a community-based recreational area located at the foot of Phnom Krom mountain near the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia and also home to the world's most productive inland fishery. Situated on the northwest Cambodian floodplain, the 100-hectare rural property is owned by the Empress Angkor Hotel, one of the leading hotels in Siem Reap, and is only 20 minutes from the town's airport and the historic Angkor temples.
Visitors are offered a unique chance to experience nature and traditional rural lifestyles with the charm, elegance and comfort of an international-standard hotel while helping to diversify local livelihoods and reduce poverty. The site has been developed by hotel management in partnership with local residents in Phum Krorsang Roleung village, a small rural settlement near the lake.
With four lakes covering 26 hectares, Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site has a wide range of opportunities for fishing and boating. Other activities include cycling and riding on ox or water buffalo-carts operated by local villagers. Depending on the season, visitors can also observe and even take part in traditional agricultural activities such as planting and harvesting rice or tending tropical fruit orchards.
We also offer team-building exercises for companies and other organizations. For the more adventurous, camping in tents with luxury hotel bedding allows visitors to experience the beauty of the Cambodian countryside at night in a comfortable and secure setting. Future plans include a football field, a mini-golf course, a cooking school and luxury resort accommodation.
Despite its remote location, the site offers the full range of catering services available at the Empress Angkor Hotel management. For short visits of three to five hours, these range from lunch boxes and light meals for two people to cocktail receptions and gala dinners with traditional live music and dancing for up to 1,800 guests. For longer visits, we offer full-day packages for groups seeking team-building exercises.
We also offer one or two night camping tours for guests wanting to experience the real Cambodia beyond the temples including the stunning natural environment around the Tonle Sap Lake. Srok Yeung literally means our district but is used in a wider sense to refer to the whole of Cambodia. Similarly, the term Srok Khmer means Khmer district and is also used to refer to our country which is otherwise known as Kampuchea in the Khmer language.
Located on the floodplain next to the world's most productive inland fishery, Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site is a paradise for anglers. With the expansion of the Tonle Sap Lake during the wet season each year, the annual floods bring millions of migrating fish from the Mekong River further downstream.
These include commercially-valuable species such as striped snakehead (Trey Phtuok), climbing perch (Trey Kranh) and walking catfish (Trey Andaing). During the second half of 2010, the site's four lakes were stocked with almost a million fish raised in local hatcheries. Half of these were Sutchi river catfish (Trey Pra), a native species widely farmed in Cambodia.
Also known as "pangasius" and "basa", this species today represents a billion dollar industry with exports of frozen fillets to more than a hundred countries, mostly from Vietnam. Other species stocked in 2007 were walking catfish and red tilapia (Trey Lapia Krahom), an African species that's increasingly popular among Cambodian fish farmers. Barbecue and other cooking facilities are available for those who can't wait to consume their catch.
Three-hour fishing packages combined with boating, cycling and ox-cart rides generally require at least two people and include multiple catering options. Tips to boatmen and ox handlers are optional and not included in our prices.
Boating: Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site encompasses four lakes that are both natural and artificial water bodies. The two largest lakes each cover an area of about eight hectares, offering ample opportunities to explore the area with experienced boatmen from Phum Krorsang Roleung village. The smaller lakes cover six and four hectares. The lakes feature hundreds of lotus flowers and have been stocked with hundreds of thousands of fish.
Equipped with life jackets, our traditional wooden canoes are ready to welcome all visitors including couples who wish to enjoy boating on our lakes. Boating with groups or loved ones offers long-lasting memories of your visit to Cambodia.
The bicycle remains a common form of transport in Siem Reap, one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia. Unlike neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand, however, the health benefits of cycling have yet to be fully appreciated by more affluent people in Cambodia. To combat the global was increased in obesity-related diseases, especially in urban areas such as Phnom Penh and major provincial capitals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 30 minutes each day of moderate physical activity such as cycling. Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site offers modern bicycles allowing visitors to explore the countryside in a peaceful environment that's safely removed from dangerous motor vehicle traffic and annoying distractions such as child beggars, virus-infected chickens and rabid dogs. Thus, cycling is another activity to make your visit more enjoyable.
Ox cart rides or water buffaloes rides: Oxen are still used for transport by many Cambodians in rural areas, especially in Kampong Chhnang, a province on the western shore of the Tonle Sap Lake which is home of the traditional ceramic cooking-pot industry. Even today, cooking-pot vendors are often seen riding ox carts as they hawk their goods to customers across the country.
In partnership with the people of neighbouring Phum Krorsang Roleung village, Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site offers visitors the rare opportunity to enjoy this ancient mode of transport with experienced ox handlers or by you. Races between as many as ten competing ox-carts can also be arranged
Three-hour ox-cart packages combined with fishing, boating and cycling generally require at least two people and include multiple catering options. Tips to ox handlers and boatmen are optional and not included in our prices.
Staff at Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site are experienced in arranging team-building exercises for groups of people from companies, educational institutions and both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Language of instruction is available in Khmer, English and Japanese.
Our full-day packages include programme coordination, equipment and games as well as lunch and free access to fishing, boating, cycling and ox-cart rides. Team-building packages can be combined with overnight camping tours if required.
Full-day team-building packages including fishing, boating, cycling and ox-cart rides generally require at least 30 people and include lunch. Tips to boatmen and ox handlers are optional and not included in our prices.
Camping: At Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site, camping has never been more comfortable. For visitors who want to get out of town and experience the real Cambodia, we offer modern tents that sleep two to three people with luxury bedding from our Empress Angkor Hotel. Overnight packages for one or two nights include modern bathroom facilities, full catering services and 24-hour security as well as free access to fishing, boating, cycling and ox-cart rides.
Overnight camping tours can be combined with team-building packages if required. Overnight camping packages including fishing, boating, cycling and ox-cart rides generally require at least 20 people. All meals are provided. Tips to boatmen and ox handlers are optional and not included in our prices.
Both Asian and Western food is available at Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site with the former including selections from Khmer, Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Apart from on-site barbecues BBQs, all food is prepared by our highly-trained chefs at the Empress Angkor Hotel.
Andnbsp; For groups of two people or more, lunch boxes or light meals are available to guests on a three-hour visit. For bigger groups of at least five people visiting for three hours, we also offer afternoon tea, tropical fruit buffets and picnic lunches. For larger groups of at least 20 people, we can arrange three hour cocktail receptions and five-hour gala dinners with traditional live music and dancing. Cocktails and dinners can accommodate up to 1,800 guests.
andnbsp; For couples, we offer a special five-hour honeymoon or wedding anniversary package featuring champagne and flowers with a deluxe set menu on request. For longer visits with full catering services, we generally require a minimum of 30 people for full-day team-building exercises and at least 20 people for overnight camping.
Environment: As Southeast Asia's largest freshwater body, the Tonle Sap Lake is home to hundreds of fish species and significant populations of migrating birds as well as a large variety of other aquatic animals including mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Because of its rich natural heritage, the lake and its surrounding areas, including Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site, have been designated as a "biosphere reserve" by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This special designation for what is widely considered as the "heart of Cambodia" has also been promulgated by royal decree.
The Great Lake Tonle Sap & Floating Village:
Five provinces circled the area of Tonle Sap Lake, more than three million of population inhabited around the bank of the Lake and 90% of them earn a living by catching fish and making agricultures. As you can see on the map of Cambodia it stretches across the northwest section of the country.
The Lake is the largest fresh water in South East Asia. Its dimension changes depending on the monsoon and dry season. During raining season from June to October, the lake is filled by water flowing from the Mekong with 14 meters in depth and expands the surface of 10,000 square Kilometers. In dry season from November to May its size 3,000 square kilometers with two meters in depth and water flows out from the Lake to the Mekong, in and out flowing is the natural phenomenon occurrences. The flooded forest surrounding the edge of the lake is the best shelter and also very important for all kinds of fishes spawned and breeding babies. This lake providing many of biodiversities, over 300 species of fresh water fishes, as well as snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, turtles and otters. More than 100 varieties water birds including storks, pelicans, etc
The Lake is also an important commercial resource, providing more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia. In harmony with the specialized ecosystems, the human occupations at the edges of the lake is similarly distinctive - floating villages, towering stilted houses, huge fish traps, and an economy and way of life deeply intertwined with the lake, the fish, the wildlife and the cycles of rising and falling waters
The lake located about 15 km south of Siem Reap town; you can make your journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by express boat crossing the lake and dock at the village of Chong Khneas. Its takes only six hours, but this trip we may recommend you during Monsoon season. In dry season the boat sometimes stuck in mud because the water is low. There are several ways to see the culture and wildlife of the lake area depending on the amount of time you have and your interest.
Chong Khneas is the name of famous floating village at the edge of the lake. It locates at Southern part of Siem Reap town about 15 Km, and takes only 30 minutes by vehicles to the boat dock where there are always boats waiting for visitors. The boat trip through the floating village takes approximately two hours. You will explore the different of Khmer, Muslim and Vietnamese floating households and the floating markets, fisheries, clinics, schools, basketball course, pigsty and other boatloads of tourists.
Chong Khneas, was before very interesting, but now region is owned by private firm they did increasing prices and the area looks more commercial. The boat trip usually includes two stops: one at a touristy floating “fish and bird exhibition” with a souvenir and snack shop, and the other at the very highly recommended Gecko Environment Centre, which offers displays and information introducing the ecology and biodiversity of the lake area.
Thmat Boey is located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the North of Cambodia. Thmat Boey is about 4 hours away from Siem Reap Town or 7 hours from Phnom Penh. During the dry season Thmat Boey can be reached by 4-wheel drive vehicles. During the rain season motorbikes have to be used for the last 2km.