Angkor Wat, in its beauty and state of preservation, is unrivaled. Its mightiness and magnificence bespeak a pomp and a luxury surpassing that of a Pharaoh or a Shah Jahan, an impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic distinctiveness as fine as that of the Taj Mahal. Angkor Wat is located about six kilometers (four miles) north of Siem Reap, south of Angkor Thom. Entry and exit to Angkor Wat can only be access from its west gate.

Angkor Wat was built in the first half of the 12th century (113-5BC). Estimated construction time of the temple is 30 years by King Suryavarman II, dedicated to Vishnu (Hindu), replica of Angkor Thom style of art.



Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world.

Wat is the Khmer name for temple (the French spelling is "vat "), which was probably added to "Angkor "when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument, most likely in the sixteenth century. After 1432 when the capital moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was cared for by Buddhist monks.

It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function.


Best time to visit Angkor Wat

There are three different periods that can affect your travel experiences in Siem Reap:

November to March: good time to enjoy the mild and dry weather. The weather is pleasantly cool but it is absolutely the peak tourist season from December till February; so you may find it more crowded everywhere with higher service prices.

Late March to early May: the hottest months of Siem Reap, temperature ranges from 30 40 degree Celsius; so any outdoor activities such as temple sightseeing or cycling should start early morning and end late afternoon.

May to November: the rainy season occurs with daily pour for an hour or two that tackles your trip; but you may find less tourists at temple sites and the surrounding tropical landscape is at its full beauty of refreshment.

Apart from the weather features, there are special occasions that you should consider to go or not to avoid the crowd:

Lunar New Year Festival: including Chinese New Year, Vietnam Traditional New Year; mainly in late January or mid February depending on each year. This holiday can last for 1 2 weeks when a huge number of Asian tourists may travel abroad.

Khmer New Year Festival called Choul Chnam Thmey, as known as the Songkran in Thailand, happens in the mid April annually so this is good to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the festival if you are interested.


Things to do

Angkor National Museum a great stop before exploring Angkor complex

You may have chances to:

Learn all about the Golden Era of the ancient Khmer Kingdom through a state-of-the-art showpiece on the majestic history of Angkor.

Discover the origins of Khmer art, culture, and architecture to enhance knowledge about the customs, traditions and different beliefs of the ancient empire.

Get a deeper understanding of the Khmer empire, optional audio guides are also available in the museum for an additional cost.

Opening Hours: Mondays-Sundays: 8:30am-6:00pm

Address: The Angkor National Museum is located at Charles De Gaulle, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Entrance tickets: US$12/person and an extra US$3 for your camera inside.


See the Angkor Wat sunrise/sunset

There is no doubt that watching sunrise at Angkor Wat is one of the must-do things in Siem Reap.

The expected time to show up is around 05:00 to find the best place for you and your camera. If you are unsure where to go for the nicest photos, just book a tour guide a night before to know exactly the timing.
Normally, the light soon started changes from 05:30, when the sky turns from dark to pink and quickly shines up the temple of Angkor Wat making a gorgeous view and reflection of the lake in front.

Some of guests prefer the sunset as it does not as many people as sunrise. But you may find it worth to catch the last sunlight of the day if standing in the centre of Angkor Thom and take the photo of the Bayon Temple. This is famous for the gigantic smiling faces on each of its towers. A dozen of huge faces reflected by the sun will result the best photographs in Angkor Complex so just do not miss it.