Have you ever dreamed of visiting a place that is both ancient and majestic, where you can marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship of a bygone civilization? If so, then you should definitely add Angkor Wat to your bucket list. Angkor Wat is the largest and most famous temple complex in Cambodia, and one of the most impressive monuments in the world. In this blog post, I will tell you why you should visit Angkor Wat, what to expect when you get there, and some tips to make your trip unforgettable.
Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, the supreme god of the universe. It was later converted into a Buddhist temple in the 16th century, and remains an active place of worship today. The temple covers an area of about 200 hectares, and consists of five towers arranged in a quincunx pattern, surrounded by a moat and three concentric galleries. The temple is richly decorated with carvings, sculptures, and bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, history, and culture.
One of the most amazing features of Angkor Wat is its alignment with the sun. The temple is oriented to the west, which is unusual for Hindu temples, and has been interpreted as a symbol of death and rebirth. On certain days of the year, such as the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun rises directly behind the central tower, creating a stunning spectacle of light and shadow. Many visitors flock to Angkor Wat early in the morning to witness this phenomenon and capture it on camera.
Another reason to visit Angkor Wat is to explore its surroundings. Angkor Wat is part of a larger complex called Angkor Archaeological Park, which covers an area of about 400 square kilometers and contains hundreds of other temples, palaces, and monuments from different periods and styles. Some of the most notable ones are Bayon, with its giant stone faces; Ta Prohm, with its trees growing over the ruins; and Banteay Srei, with its delicate carvings. You can spend days wandering around these ancient wonders and discovering their secrets.
To make your trip to Angkor Wat more enjoyable and memorable, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Plan your visit ahead. Angkor Wat is very popular among tourists, so it can get crowded and hot during peak hours. To avoid the crowds and enjoy the best views, try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. You can also buy your tickets online or at one of the official ticket offices to save time.
- Dress appropriately. Angkor Wat is a sacred site, so you should respect its rules and customs. You should wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, and avoid wearing hats or sunglasses inside the temple. You should also remove your shoes before entering any building or chamber.
- Hire a guide. Angkor Wat has a lot of history and symbolism that can be hard to understand without some explanation. You can hire a guide at the entrance or book one online to learn more about the temple and its stories. A guide can also help you navigate the complex and find the best spots for photos.
- Respect the environment. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it is protected by international law and regulations. You should not touch, climb, or damage any part of the temple or its artifacts. You should also not litter or feed any animals that live in the area. You should be mindful of your impact on this precious area.