Apart from Angkor Wat, Top 10 Must See Temples in Cambodia
by Hello Vietnam Travel Aug 28, 2019
It is no doubt that the atmospheric country of Cambodia is one of the not-to-be-missed destinations in Southeast Asia, especially for history and culture buffs for it’s a wide range of ancient temples and pagodas. With a huge number of temples in Cambodia of around 4000 temples scattered across the country, a visit to Cambodia is no less than a journey back to a bygone era with the old- world charm of one of the best-kept destinations in the world. Apart from Angkor Wat - the most recognizable and famous temple of the country, there are a lot of more that definitely worth your visit. Check out our list of the best temples in Cambodia for a truly off-beaten-track experience.
THE 10 MOST IMPRESSIVE TEMPLES IN CAMBODIA
1. BAYON TEMPLE
Like no other temples in Cambodia, Bayon Temple is one of the most famous and popular Khmer temples in the country. Standing right in the center of the walled city, Bayon Temple represents the intersection of heaven and earth. This well-known Cambodian temple is noted for its outstanding stone faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara looking down on you from the 37 towers.
Reflection of Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, one of the landmarks in Siem Reap
These tranquil stone faces are some of the most iconic features of this temple in Siem Reap. In fact, Bayon temple is touted to be one of the main temples in Cambodia, just after the famous Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. Not only famous for a wide collection of giant stone faces smiling at you from all directions, this Angkor temple also allures guests with an impressive array of well-preserved bas-relief carvings depicting an exotic combination of scenes from history, mythology, and daily life.
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Traveler exploring Bayon Temple
2. TA PROHM TEMPLE
Built in Bayon style in the late 12th century and early 13th century, Ta Prohm Temple is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Cambodia, known for the huge trees and the massive roots growing out of its wall. The attractive jungle setting and the original state of the temple makes it one of the most atmospheric and beautiful Angkor temples in Cambodia.
Classic picture of Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
This is a jungle temple in Cambodia where Tomb Raider was filmed. With enormous trees and dark hallways and courtyards, this is a place that feels mystical and the most-photographed of the temple complexes in Siem Reap.
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3. BANTEAY SREI TEMPLE
Touted to be the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, Banteay Srei is one of the most beautiful Hindu temples in Cambodia. Dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, this 10th-century temple is noted for its intricate decoration carved in pinkish sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry. Its different nicknames “ the lady temple”, “the tiny temple”, “the pink temple” indicate the distinctiveness of this little art gallery which is like no other famous temples in Angkor complex, Cambodia.
Tourists admiring the east gopura of the second enclosure made of red sandstone in the Banteay Srei
The enchanting temple of Banteay Srei is definitely a must-see temple in Cambodia, a favorite historic site for any history and culture buff. The special charm of this Khmer temple lies in its remarkable state of preservation, small size, and excellence of decoration. Some of the finest and most intricate carvings of Angkor era can be found in this magnificent temple.
Beautiful pink sandstone castle Angkor Banteay Srei Temple
4. PREAH VIHEAR
Another temple that should not be overlooked in the list of Hindu temples in Cambodia is Preah Vihear temple. Located in the far north of Cambodia, near the Thai border, it is one of the most famous and spectacular Hindu temples in Thailand Cambodia which is appropriately dedicated to God Shiva.
Preah Vihear ancient Khmer temple ruins famous landmark in Cambodia
The marvelous temple is an example of some of the greatest ancient arts in all of Cambodia, and an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Along the incredible Angkor Complex, Preah Vihear is another UNESCO World Heritage Site stunningly perched on the edge of a giant cliff with the panoramic view of northern Cambodia.
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View of ancient mural of Lord Vishnu goddess or Shiva goddess story at Preah Vihear Temple
5. SAMBOR PREI KUK
Recently recognized as Cambodia's third Unesco World Heritage Site, Sambor Prei Kuk is the most impressive hidden temple complex in Cambodia with more than 100 mainly brick temples scattered through the forest in Kampong Thom. Some of them are the most ancient structures in all of the country displaying excellent examples of early Khmer art.
These the seventh-century temples in Cambodia are an important piece of Cambodian history and perhaps best known for its enigmatic carvings that appear to depict foreign visitors to the royal court.
6. PRE RUP
If you are a culture and history enthusiast of ancient Hindu temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the temple mountain of Pre Rup should be a must.
In spite of being underrated and not as widely visited as other temples in Cambodia, its beautiful brick structure and great view are still worth a visit. Pre Rup remains one of the biggest and most amazing architectural sites in Cambodia and is highly recommended for travelers and photographers to visit.
The cistern and central towers at Pre Rup Temple
Lion statue on the Pre Rup Temple
7. BANTEAY KDEI
Peacefully located in the mysterious Angkor Archeological Park to the Southeast of Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei is one of the massive Buddhist temples in Cambodia built in Bayon architectural style. Sprawling and largely unrestored, this massive complex is in much same style as Ta Prohm and served as a Buddhist monastery under Jayavarman VII reign. As it is not crowded as the nearby ruins, you can visit this ancient temple at any time of the day.
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Banteay Kdei entrance
8. WAT OUNALOM
Wat Ounalom is one of the most important and the oldest temples found in Cambodia. Centrally located overlooking the Tonle Sap riverside promenade and a short walk north of the Royal Palace and the National Museum, this pagoda serves as the headquarters for one of Cambodia’s most revered Buddhist patriarchs.
Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh, headquarter of Cambodian Buddhism
With around 44 buildings, this beautiful temple in Cambodia is a large complex with quarters for monks and nuns, classrooms, meditation centers, as well as halls, shrines, and stupas. A visit to Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh will give you an insight into the spiritual teachings, philosophies, and history of Buddhism in Cambodia.
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9. WAT LANGKA
Along with Wat Ounalom, Wat Langka is one of the five pagodas in Phnom Penh found in 1442. This Buddhist temple in Cambodia is initially built as a temple for Holy Writings and a central meeting point for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks. During the Khmer Rouge regime, it served as a storehouse to escape the wave of destruction of Buddhist houses of worship. Nowadays, the temple plays an important role in Cambodian Buddhism as it is the main library for religious writings.
Suggested Read: Top 10 Things to Do in Phnom Penh
Aerial view of Wat Langka
A Beautiful Buddha statue at Wat Langka in Phnom Penh
10. WAT PHNOM
Also on the list of great temples in Cambodia, Wat Phnom is a must-see historic site thanks to its beautiful architecture as well as fascinating legend. Peacefully perched on the top of a hill, this is the only “hill” in town. According to legend, the temple was originally built to house four statues of the Buddha found in a tree floating in the nearby river. The pleasant garden that surrounds Wat Phnom offers tourists a tranquil escape from the chaos and hustle of the busy streets.
With a wide range of temples in Cambodia, this historic and culture-rich country is definitely the destination of your choice if you’re a true history enthusiast. These top 10 temples in Cambodia are just some most famous ones. You can find plenty of them in this atmospheric country. For more travel ideas, Mekong cruises and tours in Cambodia and Indochina, please do not hesitate to contact Top Mekong Cruises!