Cambodia: Exploring the Temples of Angkor

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We went temple running!


Ever wondered how it feels like to be Angelina Joli exploring temples in the movie Tomb Raider?

Well this is certainly the closest thing I’ll be able to do, to what she does in the movies minus the fight scenes. 😉


We spent two days just visiting different temples in Cambodia. Our first stop before proceeding to the temples was the Angkor Enterprise. This is where you can get your Angkor Pass, this pass allows you entry to the Angkor temples

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There are 3 types of passes to choose from depending on your need.

  • One Day Pass ($20)
  • Three Day Pass ($40)
  • Seven Day Pass ($60)

As of 2017 prices have already raise to $37 for a one day pass, $62 for a three day pass, and $72 for a seven day pass

We presented our passports, paid for the pass and after they took our photo we were issued with this pass.

DSC_Cambodia (12)All set! Let’s explore temples


Ta Prohm

(Open daily from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM)

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Probably one of the most famous temples besides Angkor Wat, this temple is known to be the set where they shot the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider but before it was known for the movie, it used to be a monastery.

In its glory, it was home to thousands of people which also includes a number of high priest.

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It’s long halls and numerous chambers, makes you wonder how it was during its time when it was a place where people convene and worship.

Unlike the other temples where restoration efforts have been continuous, Ta Prohm has been left to show mainly the effects of nature and time.  Portions of this temple are already supported by metal trusses since it is endangered to be destroyed.

Carvings can be seen throughout the temple; its windows, stairs and pathways are usually intricately designed.

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Its most unique characteristic, one which left me at awe was the trees. Massive Fig, Banyan and Kapok trees have intertwined its roots to Ta Prohm’s structure. Giving visitors a unique feel of exploring deep and untouched ruins surrounded by a jungle.

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Bayon Temple

(Open daily from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM)

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This temple is built at the very center of  the Angkor City. It is known for its over 200 massive stone faces, which  happens to be looking at almost all direstions.

It has more than 50 towers, almost all of which have cravings of faces on all its 4 sides. They can’t say for sure how many faces  and towers could have been made originally since it has been believed to have some of its towers destroyed over time.

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Intricate carving depicting different stories can be seen on all 3 levels of the temple.

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One can get a better view of the tower at the temple’s top most level. If you give it a closer look it seems that they are smiling.

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Angkor Wat

(Open Daily from 5:00 AM until 7:00 PM)

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The largest temple in the World and known to be a masterpiece of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat attracts thousands of tourist to visit Cambodia every year.

Among all the temples we visited this one we decided to hire a guide in order to understand the various aspects of the structure.

It was origially built as a Hindu temple and was later on converted into a Buddhist temple.

The massive complex is about 200 hectars; it took about 37 years to make, involving about 40,000 elephants to transport the raw materials, and 385,635 workers to build and carve its structure.

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Surrounding the structure is a rectangular reservoir. In order to go inside you will have to  pass by a bridge, this bridge represents what they call the “Rainbow Bridge” connecting heaven and earth.

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When you are about to reach the entrance you will see  figures of a 7 headed snake, “Naga”.

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There are 5 gates to enter Angkor Wat, they said that it was made for the 5 different classes that was believed to have been enforced during its time.

The 5 Gates were for: Kings and their friends, Officials, Family, Farmers and Slaves.

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Due to the size of the temple you can easily get lost among the different chambers and and halls.

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In its west gallery, carvings depict the from the Mahabharata. It depicts the story of Rama and his monkey allies fighting Ravana the demon king of the Island Lanka in order to get back Sita, Rama’s consort.

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In order to get to the main temple you have to climb this steep and narrow stair case.

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Since it was originally built to be a Hindu temple, pools can be found in the main temple. It was long since then emptied after the temple was converted to a Buddist temple.


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One of the most remarkable scene that you can experience in Cambodia is the sunrise in Angkor Wat; where as early as 3 – 4 AM tourist would start flocking and lining up outside the area in order to witness this.

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Angkor Thom

The gates of Angkor Thom that were built for defense, the gate is lined with 108 giant structures.

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On the left side is 54 “Deva” or gods and on the right is 54 “Asura” or Demons.

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Pre Rup

(Open daily from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM)

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This elegant Hindu temple was the farthest one we visited.

It was dedicated to the god Shiva. It has 5 main sanctuaries all of which are built in brick and its smaller libraries were originally covered with plaster.

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This temple was made of a less durable material compared to the other temples, which is why you can see some of the walls have slowly eroded over time and the forces of nature.

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Travel Tips

 Dress Code:

  • When purchasing Angkor Pass please make sure your shoulders and knees are covered or they might not let you in the area and purchase a ticket
  • Visiting the temples, it is best to still keep your shoulders and knees covered since most of the temples would require you to cover up especially in the main temple of Angkor Wat
  • Wear light clothes it is typically hot in Asia

Angkor Pass:

  • Plan your trip, in order to maximize the use of your pass
  • Be careful not to lose your pass especially if you purchase a multiple day pass, penalties are imposed if you lose it


  • There are not much resturants around the temples, bring light snacks if think you’ll need it. Just be mindful of your trash there are designated bins usually scattered around the temples
  • Bring a bottle or two of water, it can surely get hot outside especially if you are visiting during the summer. It is best to keep yourself hydrated. Our tuktuk driver ensured that we are taken care of at this aspect he prepared cold wipes and water for us throughout the tour


  • You can either rent a car or a tuktuk depending on your preference. We tried both a car on the first day and a tuktuk on the second 🙂

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nikki calienta  

A personal Travel and LifeStyle blog.


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