Cambodia’s Angkor Wat complex welcomes over two million visitors each year. And because of its increasing popularity, you should expect to be around fellow tourists, who will mostly try to get a good spot for an Instagram photo.
But Angkor Wat is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which means that there are other magnificent and stunning temples that you can visit without having to deal with hordes of, sometimes careless, tourists. If you want some peace while marveling at the sight of ancient temples that are as fascinating as the Angkor Wat, check out these nine temples near Siem Reap.
1. Neak Pean
This small temple can be found in the middle of a huge artificial lake. In the late 12th century, it was considered a pilgrimage site, where people would cleanse themselves of sins by bathing in the healing waters. The uncrowded Neak Pean is the perfect spot for meditation and contemplation. Take the opportunity to stroll along the edges of the pools and listen to the music of nature.
2. Preah Khan
This ancient ruin was well hidden in the jungle flora but in 1939, French archaeologist Maurize Glaize rediscovered it. Preah Khan, which literally translates to “Sacred Sword,” is on the quieter side of the park so yes, you can wander through the ruins peacefully without any crowds.
3. Ta Keo
The Ancient Egypt, Aztecs and the Mayan Empires were not the only ones that built pyramids. The Angkor has them too!
Ta Keo is located just outside the eastern gate of Angkor Thom. It was an unfinished construction as indicated on the inscriptions. According to ancient history, lightning hit the structure and people took it as a bad omen. Thus, its construction was abandoned.
4. Banteay Kdei
This Buddhist temple can be found southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. Thanks to renovation work, this temple remained very peaceful so you can do some reflection here sans the overwhelming number of tourists.
This “temple-mountain” or pyramid-style temple will lead you to one of the best spots to see the Angkor park via steep stairs. However, Mother Nature and time have caused serious damages to the place that it was almost lost to history.
6. Ta Som
This temple shows you proof of how resilient Mother Nature can be. Ta Som features trees overpowering a complex ancient structure. For the time being, this temple doesn’t receive that many tourists. It’s already in its dilapidated state but still never fails to impress.
7. Phnom Bakheng
Getting to this temple – a neighbor of Angkor Wat – requires you to go on a steep climb. But once you reach the top, you’ll see how rewarding it is since you’ll be offered the best view of Angkor Wat.
8. Koh Ker
Since it’s located 70 miles outside of Angkor park, you might need to pay $10 more to enter. But of course, you’ll get value for your money since what you’ll be seeing is not just ancient temple ruins, but an entire city that was once home to over 10,000 citizens many hundred years ago.
9. Prasat Banteay Srei
If you’re looking for solace and a blissfully quiet spot, this has got to be the temple you need to visit. Located 20 miles from the main park and unlike Koh Ker, you can still visit this place using your Angkor ticket, so make sure you have one if this is part of your itinerary.
Which one of these stunning temples will you be visiting?