Beyond Angkor Wat – Cambodia’s Sacred Shrines

Angkor Wat Temple is Cambodia’s legendary sacred temple, yet there are several other spiritual destinations unique in their own way. A trip to the floating village and many holy shrines of Cambodia are part and parcel of any journey in this country.

Beng Melea

Located 37 miles from Siem Reap, Beng Melea is a mysterious temple that has long been a secret enclave for temple buffs. Clamber around the crumbling stones of this beautiful temple and its three gallery walls. While the interior is in ruins, this is a great temple around which to climb, with a moat at its entrance and its relief images of the God of Fire, a three-headed elephant.

Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom, one of the most beautiful Angkor temples and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a royal monastery built in Bayon style with a double set of moats. The combination of trees jutting from the temple ruins make it a stunning picture perfect destination widely popular with travelers.

The Roluos Temples

A trip to Cambodia is incomplete without a visit to the Cambodian town of Roluos – the first capital of the Khmers. This beautiful town is home to the ‘Roluos group of temples.’ Constituting three major temples, including Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko, the town is a must-see destination for Cambodian temples beyond Angkor Wat.

The pyramid-shaped Bakong temple built on an artificial mountain is widely popular in Cambodia for extensively using sandstone in construction. The temple is enclosed by two walls with lovely remnants of stucco molding.

Kompong Phluk-The Floating Village

The floating village of Kompong Phluk is a fun place for the entire family. Kids are sure to love the journey to the village by boat, as the village floats on Tonle Sap Lake, considered Cambodia’s major lake. The clear waters and the view on the floating boat make this an exciting family adventure.

Sambor Prei Kuk Group of Temples

Set in the middle of a forest, this group of temple ruins is the most impressive among the monuments of Angkor Wat. Comprising hundreds of brick temples, the Sambor Prei Kuk emanate a serene, calming, and peaceful atmosphere. There are three complexes, with towers surrounded by gates, ponds, and shrines. Enjoy a pleasant stroll on the sandy paths leading to the temples, of which Prasat Sambor is the most popular Shiva temple, with ancient brick carvings taking you back in time.

Banteay Srei

Located 23 miles from Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei is a 10th-century Hindu temple, with deep red sandstone-peaked structures. Well-preserved relief carvings with artistic inscriptions depict scenes from old Hindu tales here.

The Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda

The Royal Palace of Cambodia is home to the descendants of earlier rulers. Though a small area is closed for the residents of the palace, most of the palace grounds are open to the public. A visit here is incomplete without seeing the ‘Silver Pagoda’, with its solid silver floor. Located in a separate compound adjacent to the Royal Palace, it is also the temple of the emerald Buddha. The pagoda compound comprises different structures and beautiful gardens – the Wat Preah Keo Morokat temple, shrines, stupas, monuments, and galleries of the Reamker. Don’ t forget to explore the Throne Hall, Chanchhaya Pavilion, Hor Samran Phirun, Napoleon III Pavilion, and Bronze Palace as well.

I’m a trip consultant, planner and manager who loves creating unique intercultural adventures for families. I want to impart information, tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel. Please contact me to help you in planning your travel adventure. [], [email protected]

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