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The magnificence of the temples in Angkor, a rich diversity of wildlife, and the French colonial legacy combine to make Cambodia an alluring destination with archaeological wonders and stunning culture. All this, along with the warmth of the local Khmer people, has helped Cambodia stay firmly on the tourist map.
Angkor, the ancient capital of the great Khmer Empire, is one of the most magnificent wonders of the world, an archaeological site with an amazing array of stone temples. Each year, Angkor attracts millions of visitors, exploring the massive monuments in dense forests.
At the heart of Angkor is the splendid Angkor Wat, the world’s largest single religious complex. This spectacular monument was built during the 12th century and originally dedicated to Vishnu, the protector of creation in the Hindu myth. Watching sunrise or sunset at Angkor Wat’s west entrance, on either side of the lotus pond, is a memorable experience.More
Cambodia stretches through the center of the Indochinese peninsula, covering an area of 181,035 square kilometers, with a population of about 16 million. The country is bordered by Thailand to the west, Vietnam to the east and Laos to the northeast.More
Start with the two main cities, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, for two different experiences — Siem Reap for the magnificent past of the Khmer Empire, and Phnom Penh for the recent past of the Royal Palace, French rule and Khmer Rouge. If you plan to stay for more than 5 days, move on through the country from north to south to see Battambang and Sihanoukville.
The following guide will help you get the most out of your visit to Cambodia. It covers all the important sights and amazing experiences, and leads you into the country’s well-explored bustling heart. Cambodia is also renowned for its fine arts, crafts, apsara dance and widespread Buddhism. See our culture section to understand more about Khmer history and tradition.
Angkor Wat, which literally means ‘The City Which Is a Temple’, is the largest religious monument in the world. Built as a state temple, Angkor Wat is, above all else, a microcosm of the Hindu universe, the grandest and most sublime among all Khmer temples. The following guide gives you quick insight into Angkor Wat by helping you understand why it was built, and what it all symbolizes. It explains how you can plan your visit, beginning by crossing the causeway at the west entrance and finishing at the bas-reliefs, with intricate carvings based on the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The temple was built as a palace of Vishnu, who was enshrined there to allow the founder to receive his beneficence
Visit the ruins of the imperial capital that ruled an empire for several centuries and was once the center of its power
Three days would be good enough to explore Angkor temple complex. On day 1, start with Angkor Wat and its nearby sites
Your first impressions of the Angkor complex may be of ancient temple ruins covered by giant roots of banyan trees
Most visitors spend at least three days in Siem Reap to see the majestic temples of Angkor. If you have 2 more days, the vibrant capital city, Phnom Penh, with gilded Royal Palace and National Museum, is worth a visit. As it only takes a few days to take in the main highlights of Cambodia, we suggest you combine a visit to Cambodia with visits to its neighbors Vietnam and Laos, to allow you to explore more of Southeast Asia’s enchanting cities.