If you go to Siem Reap you should definitely spend the time to take a tour around Cambodia's amazing temples. We were only in Siem Reap for two full days and so we decided to buy the one day temple pass which gives you access to all of the temples. You can also buy 3 day passes or weekly passes. For us one day was enough as there are so many temples that you can see, however some people would prefer to see all of them or spread it out over a number of days.
Angkor Wat was built by Suryavarman II in the first half of the 12th century and is the earthly representation of Mt Meru, the Mt Olympus of the Hindu faith and is the abode of ancient gods. Angkor Wat is believed to be the world's largest religious building. This temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and is a source of national pride.
We decided to hire a tuk tuk driver to take us around to a few temples for roughly 6 hours. This cost us $16 USD (for the both of us), we thought this was reasonable as our driver showed us 6 temples, explained the meaning of each temple and provided cold bottles of water the entire time.
Not only is Siem Reap, Cambodia known for Angkor Wat, it is also known for being the setting of the Lara Croft adventures. The temple below is called the Tomb Raider temple.
This mesmerising temple in the heart of Angkor Thom is the 12th century Bayon. It was built by King Jayavarman VII and is a Buddhist temple but it also incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology. Our driver called this temple the magic temple.
Bayon is known for it's 54 gothic towers and huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one face keeping watch at each compass point. This temple epitomises the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia's most celebrated king. Some say that the faces were a replica of his own.