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Siem Reap's Ancient Megacity

The former seat of the Khmer Kingdom, Siem Reap is home to one of the most famous temples in the world - Angkor Wat.

by / Published: 19 Oct 2017

Siem Reap's Ancient Megacity
Photo: iStock

One of the most recognisable ancient cities in the world is Angkor ('city' in Sanskrit), which houses the spectacular Angkor Wat. No matter how many times you see this in pictures, nothing prepares you for the real thing.

Most visitors base themselves in Siem Reap where there’re many levels of accommodation from backpacker hostels to beautiful five-star resorts. There’s shopping, night markets, cheap street food (the deep-fried insects are a must-try) and craft centres where local artisans ply their trade.

Angkor Wat was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the 12th century to pay homage to Mount Meru, a holy mountain range revered in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cosmology.

This awesome collection of monasteries, temples, reservoirs, canals and royal buildings is the largest religious monument in the world and will take you a couple of days to cover.

Visitors must get single or multi-day permits which are reasonably priced and go towards the upkeep of the archaeological park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The most famous temples here include Ta Keo (dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva), Banteay Srei (made from pink sandstone), Ta Prohm (famed for the trees growing out of the ruins) and the Bayon Temple (with 200 huge stone faces facing in every direction).

AirAsia flies direct to Siem Reap daily.


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