- The largest single religious monument in the world — a microcosm of the Hindu universe.
- The most sublime of all the Khmer temples — like a city in its own right, set apart by a wide moat and occupying almost 200 hectares.
- The apex of Khmer architectural genius — an architectural masterpiece of finely balanced elements, with precise proportions and rich in detail.
- The symbol and national pride of Cambodia — the national flag features a depiction of Angkor Wat.
- The immense bas-reliefs are the most famous creations in Khmer art — scenes mainly coming from the Hindu epics Ramayana /ra:'ma: jənə/ and Mahabharata /məha:'ba:rətə/.
- Popular name: Angkor Wat /'æŋkɔ: wat/ literally means the "city temple". The name is derived from the Sanskrit word nagara vāṭa. Angkor means "city", while Wat means "temple ground".
- Date: built during the early 12th century.
- Built By: Suryavarman II (reigned 1113—50 AD), a king who reunified the Khmer empire and extended its influence across the mainland. He venerated the god Vishnu.
- Purpose: originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, a protector who preserves universal order in the Hindu Trinity. At some point in the 14th century, however, the temple was converted to be a place for Theravada Buddhist worship.
- Symbolism: Angkor Wat is a highly symbolic structure. It's a microcosm of the Hindu universe. The wide moat represents the cosmic ocean, while the concentric galleries represent the mountain ranges surrounding Mount Meru, the center of the universe. The five-towered temple standing in the middle of the complex and shaped like a lotus represents Mount Meru.
- Orientation: faces west rather than the much more traditional east. This orientation is considered to be unusual as it breaks with convention. The most likely explanation is that the temple was originally dedicated to Vishnu, frequently associated with the west.
An alternative explanation is that Angkor Wat may exist primarily as a tomb for king Suryavarman II, since west is the direction of death. The king, however, died in battle during a failed expedition and whether or not his ashes were interred in the central monument remains unknown.
- Construction: exclusively with sandstone. Between 5 million and 10 million sandstone blocks were quarried from Phnom Kulen, a holy mountain nearly 25 miles to the northeast. Virtually the temple's surfaces, columns and lintels were elaborately carved.
My experience in Thai
All of this was well organized by the local office. The holiday was wonderful. Our guide, Mr. Longdy（ Siem Reap）were exceptional. He shared his extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. Thank you so much .shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions.More
kelli, Jul 2023
From the day I submitted an inquiry request, I instantly received a response from Monica asking my preferences for my trip. She has been attentive and responsive to our every needs and we very much appreciate it. Looking forward to our trip in November but many thanks to Monica for making this experience to seamless thus far.More
Sana Samhouri, Jul 2023
Very professional agency for a memorable trip to Asia
A special thanks to Albee who worked with us and helped to tailor the itinerary to our taste, she was amazing and always available for whatever we needed. The trip would not have been the same without her and her team. Thank you!More
Daniela, Jul 2023
It was our first time in Cambodia and …
It was our first time in Cambodia and we had a wonderful time. The accommodations, food, and sites were really beautiful. We ended our trip with a relaxing massage. Sam was very accommodating to our needs and knowledgeable. Thank you for the laughter and for being so kind.More
Amy Oakes Moon, Jun 2023
Our guide Borin - never boring!
Our guide Borin, in Cambodia, was knowledgeable, understanding and thoughtful in every aspect of the plan he put together for our trip to Siem Reap and in its execution. He can read the room, and knew exactly how to pace the tour, when to pause, when to break, and how to prepare us for the maximum benefit. He is extremely kind and caring, and it showed at every turn. He also is a dab hand with the camera, and we have a lot of great pictures to show for it. Kudos to my Asia Highlights coordinator - Cathy Chen, for picking Borin. Borin works with a driver (007) who was also very kind and caring. Whenever we returned to the car, he would have cold towel rolls and chilled water to refresh us. So amazingly considerate. It was an unforgettable experienceMore
David Muliyil, Jun 2023
Our guide, Anna, was fantastic! She was highly informative and a delight to spend our days with. Would request her again if we were to return!More
Alejandra M Almonte, Jun 2023
We've had such a great experience…
We've had such a great experience planning our honeymoon with Alisa at Asia Highlights! We gave her our dream itinerary, thinking that it might be impossible to do all the things we wanted, but Alisa made our dreams a reality! She's gone so far above and beyond to answer ALL of our questions and make little adjustments that will make a huge impact on our experience.More
Lauren, Jun 2023
Alisa knows how to work fast and please a customer.
Alisa is very helpful and works very fast. I am a very difficult client because Inknow what I want in therm of hotels and comfort. She had a lot of patience with me, and moved a lot the plan of the trip, always following my requests. It was a pleasure organizing my trip with her. I recommend her a lot! Thanks Alisa. Malala from Argentina.More
maria laura artola, Jun 2023
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand
The tour guides and drivers were another high point. All were very good, friendly, knowledgeable and spoke English well. There were two that I want to call out for their excellence. Chan Sovannarith in Siem Reap was our guide in Cambodia. He really made the experience special. His knowledge, willingness to answer all my questions, helpfulness and general attitude made him fun to be around. In order to praise the second exceptional guide I have to explain about an unfortunate occurrence that I had. I'm normally a very active senior, but after leaving Cambodia for Laos I was suddenly struck by the most intense back pain I've ever experienced, couldn't even roll over in bed (turned out to be sciatica). The guide, Mr. Sonophet, really went the extra mile. He went with my traveling companion and bought a back brace and medications for me. When that didn't help much he took me to a clinic where I was seen by a doctor, given a shot and pain meds. He hand-made a walking stick for me that I'm still using! He made it possible for me to somewhat participate in the activities, i.e. a bed on the boat down the river. When it was time to move on to Bangkok he got me a wheelchair at the airport. I can't thank him enough for these kindnesses! This problem lasted for the remainder of the trip, through Bangkok and Phuket and these guides were also very helpful getting wheelchairs, etc. It was a terrible disappointment to have this wonderful trip disrupted, but it would have been SO much worse without the great help that I received from the guides and my poor travel companion!More
Deb M, Mar 2023
In good hands with Sam
Sam Ol took very good care of us - lots of information, listened to and answered all our questions, was passionate about the places we visited and about his people and country. He was kind, had a great sense of humor, and made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times. He helped us to fall in love with Cambodia in 3 short days.More
Carol Jones, Feb 2023
Best tour guide in Cambodia
When we first arrived at the airport in Siem Riep it was so nice to be greeted by Mr Sam Ol. We instantly fell at home when we saw his friendly smile. We were impressed by his great English and knowledge of the temples. On the tour to the temples Sam took care of us every step of the way. He took awesome pictures of us. It felt like we were on a tour given by our brother who is also a professional photographer. Also, we appreciate his humor as well as the fact he had an answer for every question we had. I give Sam 5 stars, best tour guide ever :)More
Len S, Feb 2023
Mr. Sam our guide in Cambodia, he and the driver out standing service they went above and beyond touring, my wife so amazed beautiful country, we're planning back here near the futures. Thank Mr. Sam,We'll feedback the whole trip next week when we be home in USMore
Pho Lover, Feb 2023
We are still in the middle of our trip, but we are just finishing up our time in Cambodia and our guide, Borin, has been AMAZING!!! He has truly made our time here unforgettable and I plan on referring all of my friends and family to come visit this beautiful country! Thank you, Borin, for everything you did to make our trip so fantastic!More
Danielle Blount, Feb 2023
Excellent service and Wonderful Guides
All of our guides have been terrific. Mr. Sam in Siem Reip was especially wonderful. Both he and our driver were polite, safe knowledgable and informative. Sam made our trip memorable and enioyable. We will definitely recommend Sam and Asia Highlights to our friends.More
Kaaren, Feb 2023
Great tour guide Charity at Siem Reap
Our experience in Siem Reap could not have been any better thanks to our outstanding and cheerful guide, Charity. Her very good English speaking made it so easy to learn so much from her. She understood and answers all of our questions.She was relaxed and very knowledgeable. She went out out her way to help us make amazing pano photos of the cotton trees at Siem Reap and on our sunset cruise. She also advised us on Chanrey Tree restaurant—what we found to be the very best vegan restaurant on our first three weeks of our Asia tour. So glad to have vegan meals with very little oil!!! We are not supposed to have oil and is very hard to find vegan with no oil. Went went back the next night.More
Barbara Cornyn, Jan 2023
- Features: the temple combines two major features of Khmer architecture: the pyramid and concentric galleries. The pyramid in the form of temple-mountain often created with stepped terraces to symbolize Mount Meru. Galleries surrounded were the annex buildings evolved later.
- Outer enclosure: the outer wall is surrounded by an apron of open ground and a 190m-wide moat. Most of the area is now covered by forest, whereas it was once taken up with the city, and north of the temple was the royal palace. City buildings were presumably constructed with perishable materials rather than with stone, so no trace remains of them, only some outlines of the streets.
- Causeway: two causeways crossing the moat from west and east are the main entrances to the temple. Sculptures of lions and serpents flank the avenues. On either side of the west causeway, close to the temple, are two ponds, and the view of Angkor Wat's grand exterior from their banks is one of the most spectacular. Straight ahead is the west entrance, with the ruins of three towers.
- Gallery of bas-reliefs: the finest bas-reliefs almost 600m in length and 2m in height cover the exterior walls of the third enclosure. The scenes mainly depict episodes from Hindu epics, with the exception of the Procession of Suryavarman II and Heaven and Hell, carved on the South Gallery.
- Central sanctuary: the central sanctuary towering over the complex is crowned with five towers in a quincunx; four at four corners and one in the middle. The central summit is enclosed by a continuous gallery and rises above the surrounding four.
The shrine has changed since its foundation. Originally, it was occupied by a statue of Vishnu and open on four sides. It was converted, however, to Theravada Buddhist worship and the new walls are carved with standing Buddhas.
- 1113 — 1150: the initial design and construction took place during the reign of Suryavarman II. Angkor Wat was built as the king's state temple and capital city.
- 1177: Angkor was sacked by the Chams and Angkor Wat was plundered by the invaders.
- 1181: King Jayavarman VII, a devout follower of Mahayana Buddhism who built the city of Angkor Thom, restored the empire. Thus, toward the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat was gradually transformed into a center for Buddhist worship.
- 1296: a Chinese diplomat named Zhou Daguan lived in Angkor for one year and wrote a book about his experience. His account of the Angkor temple complex and the customs of Cambodia was translated into English, and named The Customs of Cambodia. His book is one of the most important sources for understanding the historical Angkor.
- 1431: the Thais grew in strength and made incursions into Angkor before sacking the city. During this period, the Khmer elite began to migrate to the Phnom Penh area. Angkor Wat was somewhat neglected, and protected by the jungle.
- 16th century: Angkor Wat was not completely abandoned and functioned as a Buddhist temple.
- 17th century: Japanese Buddhist pilgrims established small settlements near Angkor Wat alongside Khmer locals, as they thought the temple was Jetavana, a famous Buddhist monastery in India.
- 1863: Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer, alerted the West to the ruins of Angkor, via publication of his travel notes.
- 20th century: Angkor Wat was restored and in 1992 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 2015: official figures showed that over 2 million tickets were sold to foreigners visiting the ruins of Angkor; most visited Angkor Wat.
- Location: 3.7 miles (6 km) N of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
- Entry:for now, 1-day ticket costs US$20, 3-day ticket costs US$40 and 7-day ticket costs US$60. From 1st, February, 2017, there will be a rise in price. The price will be at: 1-day ticket costs US$37, 3-day ticket costs US$62 and 7-day ticket costs US$72. The 3-day ticket is valid for any three days within a one-week period. The 7-day ticket is valid for any seven days within a month. Tickets issued after 5 pm are valid the same day (for sunset viewing) and the next day.
- Ticket booth: the ticket-sales office is in the Angkor Conservation Area on the road from Siem Reap to Angkor. It opens from 5 am to 5.30 pm. Make sure to keep your ticket intact as it will be regularly checked at most checkpoints and monuments.
- How to get there: it takes about 20 minutes by car from downtown Siem Reap and 10 minutes from Siem Reap International Airport.
- Visit: if you only spend one day at Angkor, go first to Angkor Wat and stay there for several hours.
- Guide: a local guide is essential when visiting.
- How to get around: a private car with a driver is highly recommended, for a more comfortable and flexible experience.
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