What is Angkor? What is Angkor Wat? Where is it? What is special about it? How old is Angkor Wat? What are the things to do there? How to reach there? What are the things to do in Siem Reap? These questions must be annoying to you before reading this article. Well, it is time to start from the very basics.
What is Angkor?
There is an abandoned city sprawls across the heart of Cambodia. Its hundreds of monuments contain more stone than Egyptian Pyramids. Also, it covers more ground than modern Paris. There are so many things that can be used to praise this place.
This is Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire. This Kingdom once controlled most of South-east Asia more than 500 years ago. Khmer was also called as Yashodharapura. The ruins of Angkor are in the middle of forests and farmland south of the Kullen Hills and north of the Great Lake. The city consists of temples over one thousand. Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are the most famous among them.
In 1860, a French naturalist stumbled across the ruins. He wrote about the city and drew it attracting the attention of the wider world. It just let the questioning begun. Who were anchor builders? Why had the city been abandoned in the Empire called the Khmer? Archaeologists and historians have pieced together the story.
A UNESCO World Heritage
This entire site is a UNESCO world heritage. The entire area covers around 500 acres. Radar images have revealed that the Angkor was much bigger than originally imagined. This had been a vast city of the size of London. Scientists now know that Angkor was just a small part of one of the largest and most sophisticated cities in the world. It is truly one of the greatest structures ever built.
Angkor Wat is just one of the thousands of temples in the ancient city of Angkor. Also, it is the most well-known and largest among all the Angkor Temples. Actually, Angkor is the largest single religious monument on Earth.
Angkor Wat History
Angkor Wat served as a shrine and observatory and funerary temple. Research suggests that it took almost 30 years to complete this beautiful place. And it was just in time to bury one of the greatest kings in Angkor. When King Surya Varman died, his ashes would have been placed under the heart of the central lotus tower.
The last and the most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire, in ancient Cambodia was Angkor Thom. It was also called as Nokor Thom. The city was built during the reign of King Jayavarman. Angkor Thom spreads its territory an area of 9 squared kilometers. There are several monuments located in this area. The famous Bayon temple is at the center of the city. Bayon was King Jayavarman’s state temple.
A Fallen Kingdom and Angkor
Even with these magnificent monuments and pride, the kingdom could not hold itself for a long. Drawn by its increasing splendor the Chams from Vietnam attacked and burned the city. When the capital was rebuilt later, the King built a walled city, Angkor Thom to protect them in times of war. But it did not take so long for the Khmer story to come to an end. 22 kings over 500 years had ruled the land until it began to fail. Rice harvest dropped and strong monument buildings ceased.
Early in the 15th century, the kingdom of Siam made profitable raids into Khmer territory. And a climactic battle around 1431 brought about the end. All but abandoned Khmer capital was lulled into a centuries-long sleep by the encroaching jungle.
The buildings are laid out on a vast scale, and stone shrines ascending one upon the other as if reaching for the heavens. Endless corridors are carved with the longest reliefs in the world. The precise constructions would be hard to match, even with the lasers used by modern surveyors.
How to Get To Angkor
In order to travel to Cambodia, you need to have a tourist visa. It can be either online in advance or pick up at an airport or a border crossing. Airports in the Capital, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, or any other border crossings will help you to get the visa. 30 days visa cost will be around 37 Dollars.
Flying to the Siem Reap is the best choice to reach the Angkor easily. Siem Reap is around 4 miles south of the site. And it takes 13 – 18 minutes to go from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat.
There are plenty of quality dining, cultural and accommodation options. So, it is the best place to stay while exploring Angkor. Either you can travel from the town to the Angkor or just simply book a tuk-tuk for a reasonable price. If you need it, a guided tour also can be arranged from Siem Reap.
Things to Do in Siem Reap
- Visit the Angkor ancient sites.
- Enjoy the authentic lifestyle in Kampong Phluk floating village.
- Visit the various museums in Siem Reap.
- Take a Cambodian Pottery Class in Siem Reap.
- Join a Cookery class in Siem Reap.
- Try a wide range of street food in the city.
- Witness the Cambodian circus show.
- Enjoy the visit to Siem Reap Night Market.
- Enjoy the time at Pub Street
Things to Do in Angkor
You can enjoy the range of wildlife to modern nightlife in the Siem Reap province.
The archaeological park opens around 5 am. So, it is better to visit in the morning and enjoy the site and be back before noon and be back there enjoy until the sunset.
In the day time, you can visit the Angkor National Museum and back to Siem Reap city avoiding the heat.
Things to Do in Angkor Wat
There are 1 day, 3 days and 7 days passes for the site. The price range is from 37 Dollars to 72 Dollars.
No time of day is more impressive than the sunrise at Angkor Wat. You may see plenty of people with camera lenses and bear eyes to witness the amazing view. It really is a view for a lifetime. You may see dozens of cameras waiting for the perfect snap while the dawn.
Amazing constructions with excellent precision, statues that reveals the ancient culture will keep your eyes busy throughout the day in Ankor Wat.
Considering the heat during the day time at the site, it is best to go there either in the morning or evening, or else both. Meanwhile, you may able to discover the authentic lifestyle, food, and hospitality of the people in Siem Reap.
Things to Do in Angkor Thom
If you have time to spend it is worth visiting the Bayon temple and the Prom temple as well. If you can remember, it was the Prom temple that used to shoot the Tomb Raider movie.
The South, North, East, West and Victory gate of Angkor Thom are full of rich architecture in the ancient age. It is really worth to visit there and feel the pride of a fallen yet flourished ancient kingdom and its culture.