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Wonders of Angkor


Step Into the Wonders of the Khmer Empire

From the splendor of Angkor Wat, the ingenuity of the water temple, to the power of time and nature seen at Ta Prohm, these are the seven wonders of Angkor. Compiling seven of the best temples was no easy task, considering well over 100 such monuments have been uncovered in Angkor alone. However, these seven temples best exemplify what makes Angkor so special.

The World's Largest Temple


Angkor Wat

The Heart of Cambodia

Undoubtedly the crown jewel of the Angkor empire, Angkor Wat is the world's largest religious monument. Its fame is more than justified - Angkor Wat is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, both in size, intricacy, and artistry. This colossal temple city required over 30 years and 300,000 workers to construct in the early 12th century under King Suryavarman II, unparalleled at the time, and even now; an architectural masterpiece of sandstone featuring exquisite bas-reliefs and ornamentation. Angkor Wat leaves all who visit awestruck as its five towering domes rise from the landscape like a mountain at sunrise. The sheer magnificence of this enduring monument is a triumph of the Khmer civilization. Add one more fact: Angkor Wat is the only building found on a national flag in the world.

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The Last Capital of the Empire


Two centuries after Angkor Wat's reign, Jayavarman VII built an entire new capital city as the symbolic center of his powerful Khmer empire. The ancient ruins of Angkor Thom's 8-meter high walls and 5 monumental gates give only a glimpse of its immense grandeur upon completion in 1230 AD. Wandering into the south gat3 is the most popular access point, and for good reason. The size of the moat, the columned wall full of intricate sculptures, and the eerie gate all play part in the story of the city. But it is the Bayon temple at Angkor Thom's heart that most astounds, with over 200 mysterious stone faces etched into its over 50 towers. Believed to be portraits of the king himself merged with the Buddha, these iconic smiling faces are one of the most unforgettable sights in all of Angkor.

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Angkor Thom

And Bayon Temple

The Power of Time and Nature


Ta Prohm

The Jungle Temple

While many of Angkor's monuments have been painstakingly restored, Ta Prohm has been left gloriously crumbling, a photogenic reminder of the power of nature to reclaim what was once hers. After all, the entirety of Angkor was once a dense and overgrown jungle. Overgrown ancient tree trunks and gnarled roots grasp the stone structures in an eternal embrace, their branches piercing gallery walls as if attempting to escape. This "Tomb Raider Temple" was originally a Buddhist monastery and university built in 1186 by Jayavarman VII to honor his family. But over centuries, the trees here have morphed Ta Prohm into one of Angkor's most distinctive and evocative ruins, a place teeming with life locked in endless combat with the man-made. Channel your inner Indiana Jones here, as wandering its halls makes you feel as if you'd stumble upon a lost treasure.

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Beauty and Elegance in Stone


"The Jewel of Khmer Art" as it is widely known, and any modest exploration of Banteay Srei does this title become evident. Banteay Srei remains one of the most studied and celebrated temples in Angkor thanks to its impeccable state of preservation and intricate  decorative carvings. The remarkable state and detail of its stone carvings, in a unique red sandstone, sets this temple apart from the others. In addition, its relatively remote setting, reached nearly an hours drive northeast from Angkor Wat, further sets this temple apart. Another nickname adopted in more recent times has stuck as well - "the Citidel of Women." Some claim the engravings are too beautiful to have been crafted by the hands of men. This 10th century complex is one that perfectly accentuates a muliple day trip exploring the temples of Angkor, truly one of its unrivaled wonders.

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Banteay Srei

Temple of the Women

Before There was Angkor...



The Ancient Pyramid

While Angkor Wat may be the most famous of Khmer temples, a visit to Bakong provides a glimpse into the very origins and evolution of this architectural legacy. Located in Roluos, the first town established as the Khmer capital in the 9th century and 15 km to the southeast, Bakong is the earliest example of Khmer religious architecture from even before the Angkor period. Though modest in size compared to its celebrated successors, this sandstone pyramid temple served as the prototype and laid foundations that would ultimately produce marvels like Angkor Wat some 300 years later. We experienced this wonder at sun down, with few others visitors. Words cannot do justice, watching the pyramid glow gold then slowly fade to black. By taking time in Bakong, we felt as though we honored the seeds from which an entire empire would flourish.

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Corridors of the Past


Although lesser visited than the more famous temples of Angkor, Preah Khan no less disappoints. In fact, its sheer size and remoteness transports visitors to an otherworldly experience, especially when exploring room after room and following the long corridors shrouded in vegetation. Preah Khan means "sacred sword" and once, most incredibly, housed upwards of 100,000 officials and servants over the years. To add more intrigue, local lore states that the temple once contained golden statues and jewels, prompting many fruitless treasure hunts over the centuries by looters seeking its mythical riches.

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Preah Khan

Temple of the Sacred Sword

The Way of Water


Neak Pean

The Water Temple

A symbolic bridge between earth and heaven. At least that is what the ancient Khmer's thought of this unique temple situated in the center of a large man-made reservoir. When traversing the floating bridge towards the square complex, the serene nature of Angkor comes full circle - with birdsong, monkey chatter, and the scent of lotus. The Khmer's were masters at creating beauty in the midst of what was dense jungle. Seen at Neak Pean, their mastery of hydraulic engineering and sacred symbolic architecture blended seamlessly here. Here is one of Angkor's most unique temples, especially when letting your imagination run wild. 

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Thank you for taking a look at the 7 Wonders of Angkor

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