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Siem Reap

Many people mistakenly believe that Angkor is a single temple. This is perhaps because Angkor Wat itself is the grandest and best known of the hundreds of Khmer temples scattered across the plains of northwestern Cambodia. The Angkor period began in the 8th Century with the construction of the Wat Phou temple complex in southern Laos, and continued for well over 500 years until the fall of the mighty empire in 1431.
Angkor's God-kings strove to outdo their ancestors with the grandeur and opulence of the temples and cities they built. The incredible Temple of Angkor Wat, built by Surayavarman II at about the same time as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was under construction, is an architectural undertaking of unbelievable complexity and beauty. The five central towers represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, mythical home of the Hindu Gods. The entire temple is thought to be a replica of the universe in stone. The size, complexity, artistic perfection and staggering beauty of Angkor Wat earn the monument its place as the grandest of the Angkor Temples. The epic tales described by the carved relieves on the temple's gallery walls are perhaps the finest artistic achievement in all of Angkor.
Angkor Thom - the "Great City" - was the last capital of the Angkor Kingdoms and was the work of Angkor's most prolific and best-known monarch, King Jayavarman VII. The walled city covers the largest area of any of the Angkor monuments and contains some of the complex's best known attractions. The serene face of the King gazes out to the cardinal points of the compass at the four gates to the city, and entering beneath them gives an idea of the grand city this must have been when it was inhabited by a god-king and his subjects, who may have numbered as many as one million.
The Bayon is a stunning temple, and is memorable for its eerie atmosphere and the contrasting down-to-earth quality of the relieves in its galleries. King Jayavarman's face is carved in immense proportions over 200 times on 54 towers. The enigmatic smiling face of the king is one of Angkor's best-known icons, and remains etched on the memory of every visitor. The relieves at The Bayon depict scenes of everyday life in the mighty city of Angkor Thom, and many scenes are repeated to this day in the countryside surrounding the temples

Places of interest

Angkor Wat
Covering an area of one square mile, Angkor Wat is the largest, and most famous of the temple complexes at Angkor. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat represents the highest point in the evolution of Khmer architecture. The temple consists of pyramids, ringed by an outer wall of bas relieves depicting the Ramayama.

Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom is the royal city itself, where kings and their subjects lived during the Angkor era. The city is characterized by massive stone structures, towers, and sculptures. Angkor Thom is spread out over an area of four square miles and is surrounded by an outer protective wall. Also worth visiting are two buildings built into the wall at Baphuon and Phimeanakas.

At the centre of Angkor Thom is the immense Bayon temple. Bayon stands at what was the geographic and spiritual centre of the royal city. At first glance, the temple seems a shapeless mass of stone. As the eyes adjust, a face gradually appears then another, and another - each enigmatic and silent, watching with half-closed eyes. The faces are carved into each of the tower's four sides, an all-seeing presence staring out from a primitive and remote past.

Preah Khan
This Buddhist temple was built by King Jayavarman VII in honor of his father. The two-storey temple is characterized by a series of rounded stone-column supports. The columns are unusual because of their rounded shape, a style not seen in any other Angkor architecture. Because of this anomaly, archeologists suspect the temple was an ancient wooden structure long since devoured by the jungle.

Phnom Bakheng
A former capital city of the Angkor kingdom, today, Phnom Bakheng is best known for its panoramic views of Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat and surrounding areas. The location is ideal for sunset views of the Angkor region.

Srah Srang
Srah Srang was once an enchanting wooden pavilion built along the shores of a small lake. Although the structure is no longer there, stone nagas that led from a bathhouse to the water remain.

Ta Prohm
Jayavarman VII built this temple as a shrine devoted to his mother. The stone temple is enveloped by the enormous roots of a fig tree - an indelible portrait of Angkor as a lost jungle city.

The Roluos Group
About 10 km from Siem Reap is the complex of Roluos one of the first Khmer capitals built by Jayavarman II. Today we can visit three remaining Hindu sanctuaries: Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei. All three temples were built of brick and though they are not as spectacular as the other temples of Angkor, they are well preserved and very interesting.

This temple built by Udayadityarvarman II was the most defectively constructed of all the temples in Angkor. From the remaining ruins, it is possible to see how imposing it was. This temple hill was dedicated to Shiva, but in its relieves many motives from the Vishnu epic can be seen. Restoration work continues to be carried out on the Baphoun.
The Elephant Terraces & the Leper King Terrace
At the North of the Baphoun lays the Royal city, of which very little remains except these two Terraces. The first owes its name to the outstanding depiction of elephants, while the second gets its name from the magnificent sculpture of King Yasovarman, popularly known as the Leper King. The original of this statue is now in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Banteay Srei
Built by a Brahman in the 10th Century, this temple was dedicated to Shiva. The famous pink sandstone structure bears a series of beautiful sculptures, lintels, pediments and friezes. While not a particularly large temple complex, the beauty of Banteay Srei is found not in the scale but the detail. Some say the bas relief work is the best example of Khmer classical art remaining.

Banteay Kdei
This temple was constructed by Jayavarman VII during the 12th and 13th Centuries. It system of galleries and vestibules that were added after the construction of the main towers makes it look like a cloister. It was built in sandstone, which has deteriorated quite badly. However, there remain some very beautiful lintels and pediments.

Ta Keo
King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century but it was not completed at all. It is a pyramid on 5 levels whose total height is 22 meters. It is dedicated to Shiva and is a perfect place for sunset view as well.

Angkor National Museum
Angkor National Museum is a profound cultural landmark in Siem Reap placing in the area of 20,000 sq.m which combined together The Museum: The world-class museum that reveals the legend of Golden Era of Khmer Kingdom, and The Museum Mall: The lifestyle landmark providing completed facilities and recreation services for both tourists and local community.

Angkor Night Market
The Angkor Night Market is the only one of its kind market ever found in Siem Reap which is designed to give visitor an enjoyable shopping, dining experience in a vibrant, contemporary Khmer environment. The variety of stuff is available there including handicrafts, multi-item of souvenirs, live painting, clothes and massage with over 80 different stalls, additionally, restaurants and bar with Asian & European cuisines including the acoustic music entertainment.

Cambodia Cultural Village
The construction of Cambodian Cultural Village (CCV) started in mid year of 2001, opened to the public in September 24, 2003, with total area of 210,000 meter-square, CCV assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures, local customs and practices of all races. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different culture heritages and characteristics of 19 multi races. At each village, the tourists will be able to enjoy the excellent wood houses, carving, and soft skill in stone, traditional performances in the different style such as: Apsara Dancing, performance of ethnic minorities from Northeast of Cambodia, traditional wedding ceremony, Circus, Popular games, Peacock dancing, Acrobat, elephant's shows, boxing, and more...

Floating Village on Tonle Sap
Cambodia's Great Lake, the Boeung Tonle Sap (Tonle Sap Lake,) is the most prominent feature on the map of Cambodia - a huge dumbbell-shaped body of water stretching across the northwest section of the country. Almost everything is on the water like house, school, hospital, and gas station etc. On the side of Tonle Sap, guests can also view a green forest, many types of animal, birds, and fishes etc.

Killing Field
After the collapse of Khmer Rouge Regime, many mass graves had been left throughout Cambodia during their three-year, eight-month and twenty-day rules from 1975-79 and those including one in Wat Thmey, Siem Reap which is situated in Tropeng Ses Village, Kok Chork Commune, Siem Reap District.

Landmine Museum
Located in Banteay Srei district about 30Km from Siem Reap town or 40-45 minutes bus drive, the museum has been collected a various kinds of landmines that had been used for three decades of the regional war and civil war in Cambodia. The museum has a local school at its backyard for children who are the landmine victims.

Les Artisans d' Angkor
Les Artisan d' Angkor is a centre for training the young people who are vulnerable and helpless in their family. The centre also assists the deaf and mute young people and training them to be the artist and artisan. It is the only stone carving and polychromic training center and workshop in Siem Reap.

National Ceramic & Bronze
The National Center for Khmer Ceramics Revival (NCKCR) was founded by Mr Serge Rega, enthusiastic ceramist. Training for Khmers potters; research on Khmer Antiques glaze and bisque; development of Khmer Contemporary Art; organization of the International Khmer Ceramics Festival are performed.

Orphanage Center
Songkhem Center for Children is the home where orphanages are kept under the strictly control over the support of the center such as providing a basic education and as well as the daily basic needs. Most of the orphanages are truthfully Cambodian youth whose parents had been killed since Pol Pot regime while some others come from the poor family which parents die of starvation.

Silk Farm
The silk farm is a fascinating farm and workshop where you can see the entire silk creation process including growing the food for the silk worms, breeding the worms, silk extraction, spinning and refinement, traditional ikat dying, pattern creation, and looming.

War Museum
Located about 5km from Siem Reap central town or 10 minute bus drive, there laid the foundation of the war museum which stored all materials from arm machine guns to the aircraft which had been used during the civil war in the 1980's.

Angkor Light & Sound
Angkor Light & Sound is a uniquely traditional show that rediscover the lost of history of Angkor Wat, and a spectacular show that takes you on a sensory odyssey through magnificent multimedia performances of light & sound, water screen, other special effects and Khmer traditional dances. You will be flashed back in history during a time when this ancient wonder of the world was once center of a powerful empire.