Home CambodiaAngkor Wat

Angkor was the capital of the great Khmer empire. Its ruins, set among dense forest and stretching over 77 square miles of northwest Cambodia, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

Angkor Wat, at the heart of Angkor, is the world’s largest single religious monument.

More details for facts about Angkor Wat
  • The symbol and national pride of Cambodia
  • It's a microcosm of the Hindu universe
  • The largest single religious monument in the world
  • Built by Suryavarman II (reigned 1113—50 AD)

Top Reasons to Visit

  • 1 It’s the world’s largest single religious monument.The total area of the Angkor Wat site measures almost 200 hectares, including the broad moat.
  • 2 Angkor Wat is, above all, spectacular for giving full expression to Hindu symbolism.The layout is based on a sacred design of the Hindu universe.
  • 3 As the greatest of all mountain-temples, Angkor Wat is the prime example of classical Khmer architecture. It was designed for the immortal gods.
  • 4 Angkor became a World Heritage Site in December 1992. Without a doubt, Angkor is a wonder of the world and a site of immense archaeological significance.
  • 5 Photograph the stunning skies or simply watch silently, sharing breath-taking sunrise moments with your loved one in a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere.
  • See all top reasons

Why Angkor Wat Was Built

  • 1 A Hindu Temple — Hinduism dominated Khmer religious beliefs until the end of the 12th century. Angkor Wat, built during the early 12th century, is a typical Hindu temple, expressing the king’s devotion to the Hindu deity Vishnu.
  • 2 The Palace of Vishnu — the temple was built as a palace of Vishnu, who was enshrined there to allow the founder to bestow his beneficence.
  • 3 A Show of the King’s Power — most of the visible areas of Angkor Wat are built with sandstone blocks, the most expensive building material available at the time. This demonstrated the extraordinary wealth of the builder.
  • 4 A Show of the Empire’s Prosperity — during the reign of King Suryavarman II, the empire reached its peak of power and influence.
  • 5 A Tomb of the King — Angkor Wat may have been built as a tomb for the king, because its orientation is west, which is associated with death.
  • Why Angkor Wat Was Built

How to Appreciate the Immense Narrative Bas-Relief

  • 1 Battle of Kurukshetra — the central epic, Mahabharata, is the account of a war that took place in Kurukshetra between two rival families. The southern section of the west gallery relates the furious battle.
  • 2 Procession of Suryavarman II — in contrast to other bas-reliefs, the western section of the south gallery depicts a grand procession of King Suryavarman II. In the largest image, the king seated on his throne is shaded by 15 parasols and fanned by servants.
  • 3 Heaven and Hell — this 66m section shows the judgment of souls and their consignment to 37 heavens or 32 hells. The central tier shows souls being judged by the 18-armed Yama, god of the underworld, seated on a buffalo.
  • 4 Churning of the Sea of Milk — the 49m section is the great creation myth. In order to obtain the elixir of immortality, gods and asuras are churning up the sea of milk by pulling on the body of a giant serpent.
  • 5 Battle of Lanka — a vital depiction of the epic Ramayana, in which Rama stands on the shoulders of Hanuman, and along with his allies including the monkey troops, rescues his wife Sita and defeats the demon Ravana.
  • How to Appreciate Your Visit More in Angkor Wat

Beyond Angkor Wat

  • 1 Angkor Thom — founded in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, considered the most powerful Khmer monarch of all time, and was one of the largest of all Khmer cities.
  • 2 Bayon Temple — located right at the heart of Angkor Thom, Bayon is the state temple, primarily built as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine, dedicated to the Buddha.
  • 3 Elephant Terrace — this terrace, more than 300 meters long, was built by King Jayavarman VII as a platform from which to inspect the royal army and other parades.
  • 4 Ta Prohm — this is the well-known jungle temple that appears in the movie Tomb Raider. Perhaps the most mysterious structure at Angkor, the temple is in a state of disrepair.
  • 5 Banteay Srei — considered to be the jewel in the crown of Khmer art, the temple was built largely of pink sandstone, with exquisitely detailed carvings depicting Hindu mythology.
  • Beyond Angkor Wat

Top Tours including Angkor Wat

Monks in Gallery
days

Siem Reap Tour at Depth

Angkor Wat - Angkor Thom - Bayon - Bantey Srei - Beng Meala - Floating Village

Walk with a Khmer scholar in Angkor Wat to know stories behind, discover the less-visited Beng Meala, plus a boat trip to a floating village.

Apsara Dancers in Angkor Wat 12 
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Cambodia and Vietnam Highlights

Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Ho Chi Minh City - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay

Hop on the wheel of modern Ho Chi Minh City and indulge yourself in the history and wonders of ancient Cambodia.

Monks in Bayon 14
days

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Tour

Hanoi - Ha Long Bay - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh - Siem Reap - Luang Prabang

Enjoy the essence of Vietnam from north to south. Wonders of Siem Reap and UNESCO world heritages of Luang Prabang follow.

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