There are several temples in and around the Angkor Wat Temple Complex. They have divided the temples into the inner and outer loops. The temples within the inner loop are more famous and popular, but I would definitely suggest exploring the temples of the outer loop as well if you have the time. Below is a break down of most of the temples, including their highlights, when to go, the time required, etc. I have also added images to the temples that we visited.

Angkor Wat Temples

Angkor Wat is the largest and most famous temple in the complex. It is surrounded by a large moat and covers about 200 hectares in total area. The area around the temple was once a bustling city that included domestic homes as well as royal buildings. Most of these buildings were made out of wood, which has long since disintegrated. In the Khmer culture, the symbolism was used when constructing the temples. The moat represents the mythical oceans surrounding the earth and the succession of concentric galleries represents the mountain ranges that surround Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Climbing the towers to the shrine is intentionally similar to climbing to the top of a mountain.

Inner Loop Map

Angkor Wat

  • Built: Early 12th Century
  • Best time to visit: Many people go for the sunrise, but it is extremely crowded at that time. We went around noon. It was warmer, but the crowds were smaller.
  • Time required: 1-3 hours
  • Highlights: This is the world’s largest religious monument. It houses about 600m of narrative reliefs and nearly 2000 apsaras.

The Bayon

  • Built: Late 12th -13th century
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit if you want to see good detail in the faces is in the early morning, or just before sunset. During midday, it can be quite busy. And it can be difficult to get good pictures, as the sun is high above the complex.
  • The time required: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: This temple has a complex of face-towers. It also features bas-reliefs of daily life and Khmer history.

Elephant Terrace

  • Built: Late 12th– early 13th century
  • Best time to visit: Early morning for light and a little before midday, the hidden relief of the five-headed horse is in sunlight.
  • The time required: 20mins
  • Highlights: Forms the west edge of the royal square.

Leper King Terrace

  • Built: the 13th century
  • Best time to visit: Anytime
  • The time required: 20mins
  • Highlights: The hidden reliefs

Ta Prohm

  • Built: Late 12th – 13th century
  • Best time to visit: Early morning is the most peaceful time to visit and avoid massive crowds.
  • The time required: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: This temple has a very romantic atmosphere with opportunities to explore hidden corners and corridors. The temple also is famous for the strangler figs and silk-cotton trees entwined among the ruins. The movie “Tomb Raider” was also filmed at the temple.

Banteay Kdei

  • Built: Late 12th– early 13th century
  • Best time to visit: Sunrise from the platform is incredible. The late afternoon is also quite nice.
  • The time required: 1 hour
  • Highlights: This temple has had very little done in terms of restoration. It appears much like it did when it was discovered.

Ta Keo

  • Built: Late 10th– early 11th century
  • Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon.
  • The time required: 45min
  • Highlights: There are five massive towers on top of the imposing temple-mountain construction.

Ta Keo

Phonom Bakkheng

  • Built: late 9th– early 10th century
  • Best time to visit: sunrise and early morning for lighting on the temples and stairway, sunset for views of the surrounding jungle and Angkor Wat.
  • The time required: 1 hour including the climb
  • Highlights: Spectacular views of Angkor Wat
  • Beware: this requires a bit of uphill hiking. Not too difficult, but be sure to give yourself plenty of time especially if you want to get a good spot for sunset.

Outer Loop

Outer Loop

Pre Rup

  • Built: 961
  • Best time to visit: Sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, and sunset are the best times to visit to avoid the heat. There are no surrounding trees for shade.
  • The time required: 30 mins- 1 hour
  • Highlights: The brick towers dominate to the surrounding plain. The lintels of the towers and views from the upper terrace are great.

East Mobon

  • Built: 953
  • Best time to visit: Early morning, or late afternoon.
  • The time required: 30mins
  • Highlights: The lintels of the towers and the elephant sculptures. 

East Mobon

Ta Som

  • Built: Late 12th – early 13th century
  • Best time to visit: Early Morning or late afternoon.
  • The time required: 30 mins
  • Highlights: The face towers of the outer enclosure and the compact nature of the inner enclosure.

Neak Pean

  • Built: late 12th century
  • Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon. In December and January, there is water in the center pond.
  • The time required: 30 mins
  • Highlights: This is a unique island temple. The sculpted fountainheads and the sculpture of the horse Balaha are some interesting things to see at this temple.

Preah Khan

  • Built: 1191
  • Best time to visit: Anytime due to the complex’s layout of buildings and passageways.
  • The time required: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: This temple is similar to Ta Prohm, on a larger scale. Due to its size, it is quite nice to explore the multitude of rooms and courtyards without a lot of other people around. There is also a gorgeous two-story library.

Outside the Loops

Bantry Srei

  • Built: 967
  • Best time to visit: Early to mid-morning or mid to late afternoon.
  • The time required: 1 hour
  • Highlights: The exquisite, decorative carvings completed in pink sandstone make this temple stand out from all of the rest. The temple also has several miniature proportions. There is also a large concentration of mythological narratives in pediments and lintels.

Overview and Opinion 

After visiting most of the temples on this list, I would have to say that Ta Prohm and Preah Khan were my two favorites. The bigger temples are impressive and show off the grandeur that the Angkor civilization was capable of, but time and the trees have made their mark on these smaller temples.

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