Angkor Wat can be translated as “city of temples” and is a major symbol of Cambodia, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and even featuring on the country’s national flag.
The temple was first constructed in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II and was dedicated to Vishnu, a Hindu deity. In the late 13th century, however, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use and it remains so to this day.
The architecture of the temple is uniquely beautiful and although there is dispute amongst scholars as to the meaning of certain aspects there is general consensus that the temple is a representation of the mythical Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
A person could admire a thousand photos of Angkor Wat and still be unprepared for the sensation of actually seeing the temple in real life for the first time. The atmosphere surrounding the building is one of romance and beauty and it evokes emotions in a person that could never occur simply through looking at a photograph.
There are a number of practicalities to consider before visiting Angkor Wat. Firstly, Angkor Wat really is huge, it alone occupies an area of about 500 acres and that is before you even think about visiting any of the other surrounding Wats and palaces of the Khymer Kingdom. It is therefore worth considering your transport for the day. Popular options include guided bus tours, hiring motorbikes or cars, or hiring a tuk tuk and driver. It may well be worth taking a guided tour to ensure you don’t miss any of the best parts. Alternatively, of course, just buy a good guide book and a map and plan your route carefully. Remember that Angkor Wat is a place of worship and visitors must have their shoulders and knees (as well as other more obvious body parts!) covered in order to enter.
The sunrise and sunset at Angkor Wat are spectacular and not to be missed. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) this means of course that they are the most popular times of the day for visitors. Make sure you get there early to ensure you don’t miss out!
|Type of Activity:||Religious & Spiritual|
|Activity:||Places of Worship|