When talking about Cambodia, many people think of the magnificent, gigantic and ornate temples of Angkor. Apart from Angkor Wat, the famous main temple of the Angkor temple complex, the area also has other impressive temples. This article describes five of these temples. Europeans need a Cambodia visa to visit Cambodia’s temples.
Every list of Cambodiaʼs highlights starts with the countryʼs biggest attraction, Angkor Wat. This gigantic temple complex is representative of Khmer culture from the 9th to 15th centuries. The temple complex is also very important for the Cambodian people of today. Angkor Wat was built in only 32 years, during the Khmer Empire. The main temple of the city of Angkor was originally a Hindu temple. Towards the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple. Angkor Wat is still a Buddhist temple today, and it is also a national symbol of immense value, as evidenced by the fact that the temple has been given a central place on the Cambodian flag.
Angkor is more than just Angkor Wat
The temples in Cambodia are especially popular with tourists because of their size and ornateness. The beautiful temples from the Khmer era can still be admired today, as they were made of stone and therefore well preserved. Angkor covers an area of 400 square kilometres and is home to numerous temples. The Cambodia visa allows a stay of 30 consecutive days in the country. As many travellers plan around two days for a visit to Angkor Wat, the Cambodia visa gives enough time to visit the other temples of Angkor as well.
The entrance fees to the temples are generally not high, but if you want to visit more temples, it is a good idea to buy an Angkor entrance card. With this ticket you can not only visit Angkor Wat, but also the other temples of Angkor and other temple complexes near Siem Reap. Some of the most impressive of these temples or temple complexes are briefly described below.
Pre Rup is often called the little sister of Angkor Wat. This Hindu temple was built in 961 by order of the then king Rajendravarman II. Because both bricks and sandstone were used in the construction of the temple, it has an orange-yellow colour. Angkor Wat was later built in the same style as Pre Rup, though much larger.
Although Phnom Bakheng is dedicated to a Hindu God, namely Shiva, it is a Hindu and Buddhist temple in one. The temple looks a bit like a pyramid. It was built at the end of the 9th century, consists of six layers and is situated on a hill. From the top of this hill, you have a beautiful view of Angkor Wat, especially at sunset. Phnom Bakheng is one of three hilltop temples in Angkor attributed to King Yasovarman. In his time, it was probably the most important temple in Angkor.
The Bayon Temple is best known for the total of 216 sculpted smiling faces on its 54 towers. The Bayon Temple was built in 1181 and was the state temple of the Buddhist king Jayavarman VII. Although there are Hindu influences in the architecture of this temple, it has always been a Buddhist temple. Examples of these Hindu influences are that the temple is built on a hill, that the same window and door constructions are used as in Angkor Wat and that bas-reliefs are used.
To this day, it is not known whose faces are depicted on the towers. Some people think it is the face of Buddha, while others say it is the face of the king, and still others think it is the face of the chief Hindu god Brahma, who has four faces. The meaning of the total number of towers (54) is also unclear. It has never been possible to establish whether the number 54 is related to the age of the king or, for example, to the number of provinces that the empire of that time possessed, or whether it is simply a random number.
Five years after the construction of the Bayon Temple, the Ta Prohm Temple was built, also by order of King Jayavarman VII. The complex consists of a Buddhist monastery, university and other smaller buildings, and is surrounded by a wall with corner towers and gates. Ta Prohm occupies a special place among the temples of Angkor because of its condition. The temple is more or less in the same state as it was found. It is very popular among tourists because of the trees with which the temple is entwined. The trees are a distinguishing feature of Ta Prohm compared to other temples.
Beng Mealea is located to the east of the temples belonging to Angkor, but was built at the same time. Beng Mealea is a Hindu temple, but also has Buddhist characteristics. For a long time, the temple was inaccessible. When a road was built to the temple complex at Koh Ker, the Beng Mealea temple became accessible. From that moment on, the temple has attracted large numbers of visitors.
Cambodia visa application
Those who want to visit the beautiful temples in Cambodia need a visa. An electronic visa is sufficient for tourists who will not stay longer than 30 days in Cambodia. The e-visa Cambodia can be applied for quickly and easily online via this website. An online application saves you having to visit the embassy. Filling out the application form only takes a few minutes. The Cambodia visa cost of £59.95 per person can then be paid using one of the trusted payment methods. If you need a visa urgently, you can apply for an urgent Cambodia visa, for which you pay a surcharge of £17.50 per person. The visa will then be issued after an average of 24 hours. Processing times cannot be guaranteed, however. There is always a possibility that your application is subject to a more extensive check.