It is no surprise that Angkor Wat has been named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. The largest religious structure on the planet, its architectural majesty will take your breath away.
No matter how much you may want to get off the beaten track on your trip to Cambodia, you must make an exception for Angkor Wat. The track to Angkor is beaten for good reason, and it would be a crime to miss it. Pay a visit to this spectacular archaeological site and travel back in time to an ancient civilisation.
The first stop on a trip to this spellbinding temple complex is a visit to Angkor Wat itself. Internationally recognised and immaculately preserved, Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s national symbol. A magnificent fusion of creativity and spirituality, the temple’s structure is designed to be a small scale replica of the universe. The central tower symbolises Meru, a mythical mountain said to be located at the centre of the cosmos.
After exploring this stone masterpiece, move to the enigmatic Bayon, with its soaring towers and curious collection of smiling faces. Shrouded in dense green jungle, Bayon is one of the most striking temples in the complex. It features 54 towers adorned with over 2000 carved stone faces, and is undeniably unique. These faces, with their curved lips and lowered lids, are a fascinating mystery. Let your imagination run wild as you meander between Bayon’s towers, inventing stories for the faces you pass.
Venture on to the captivating sites of Phimeanakas, Baphoun, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King before arriving at the South Gate of the city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer empire. Yet another of Angkor’s outstanding sites, this spot is a mecca for photographers.
Following a traditional Khmer lunch, the afternoon is spent discovering the temple of Ta Prohm. Best known for its appearance in Tomb Raider, this ‘jungle temple’ is covered with snaking, twisted branches. Banyan tree roots clamber up and over the walls of Ta Phrom, giving the temple an ethereal atmosphere.
As the day draws to a close, head back to witness the orange glow of sunset as it falls over Angkor Wat. As the last glimmer of daylight disappears beyond the horizon, you will no doubt be glad to have visited the temples of Angkor. A spiritual odyssey like no other, it is an experience to treasure.