Cambodia Travel Guide: Temples of Angkor

Temples of Angkor – Description

Angkor — the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire that thrived for 500 years from 802-1327 — is one of the most magnificent sites in Southeast Asia. This recently updated and expanded Approach Guide serves as an ideal companion for travelers seeking a deeper understanding of its art and architecture.

What’s in this guidebook

  • Context. We begin by laying out basic features of the Khmer civilization that are particularly relevant for understanding Angkor’s legacy of art and architecture: the global factors that took the Khmer Empire from a fragmented, trade-based society to a centralized, agriculture-based powerhouse; its early cultural exchange with India; the rationale underlying the establishment of the capital in Angkor; and the nature of interactions with Southeast Asian neighbors.
  • Comprehensive look at Angkor’s art and architecture. We examine the distinctive Khmer style of art and architecture, isolating key features that you will see again and again on your temple visits; we tell you what makes them unique and what they symbolize. To make things come alive, we have packed our review with high-resolution images.
  • Detailed temple profiles. This guidebook provides detailed profiles for twenty-five of the premier religious monuments in Angkor (see our full Angkor tour itinerary). For each, we provide information on its history, a detailed plan that highlights its most important architectural and artistic features and a discussion that ties it all together.
  • Advice for getting the best cultural experience. This guidebook supplies logistical advice, maps and links to online resources. Further, to help plan and prioritize your temple touring itinerary, we rank temples based on the quality of their art and architecture and offer brief summaries of each temple’s highlights, so you can focus in on what most interests you. Finally, we give our personal tips for getting the most from your experience while on location.
  • Information the way you like it. As with all of our guides, this book is optimized for intuitive, quick navigation; information is organized into bullet points to make absorption easy; and images are marked up with text that explains important features.

This guidebook includes profiles of Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Bakong, Baksei Chamkrong, Banteay Kdei, Banteay Samre, Banteay Srei, Baphuon, Bayon, Beng Mealea, Chau Say Tevoda, East Mebon, Lolei, Neak Pean, Phnom Bakheng, Prasat Kravan, Preah Khan, Preah Ko, Pre Rup, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Ta Som and Thommanon. See our rankings below to help you plan your itinerary.

What our customers are saying

Our guidebook to Angkor has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers. Take a look at our latest reviews on Amazon.

Amazon Reviews of Approach Guides Temple of Angkor

Here’s a sample of what our customers are saying about our guidebook. See all the reviews on

Angkor Tour Itinerary & Map

This map provides a satellite view of all of the temples in Angkor featured in our guidebook. Click on the menu in the top left to see a list of all temples. The temples that should be top of your priority list during your visit are marked with a (*). Approach Guides also provides customers with detailed views of top temples such as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

Watch before you go

When you visit Angkor, you will see many stone-carved faces, which are one of Angkor’s most iconic images. Explore what makes them unique in this Insights series video by Approach Guides’ founder David Raezer.

Bonus: Star Rankings of Angkor Temples

In order to help visitors with limited time efficiently plan their touring itineraries, we have assigned each of Angkor’s temples a star rating, The rating appears next to each temple’s profile, as well as on the map of Angkor’s temples. While such ratings are necessarily subjective given the abundance of intangibles, we believe that they accurately represent the quality of each temple’s extant art and architecture.

3-Star Sites

  • Angkor Wat.
  • Banteay Samre.
  • Banteay Srei.
  • Bayon.
  • Preah Khan.

2-Star Sites

  • Bakong (Roluos).
  • Baphuon.
  • Prasat Kravan.
  • Preah Ko (Roluos).
  • Pre Rup.
  • Ta Prohm.

1-Star Sites

  • Angkor Thom: South Gate, Phimeanakas, Elephant and Leper King Terraces.
  • Baksei Chamkrong.
  • Beng Mealea.
  • Chau Say Tevoda.
  • East Mebon.
  • Lolei (Roluos).
  • Neak Pean.
  • Phnom Bakheng.
  • Ta Keo.
  • Ta Som.
  • Thommanon.

Cambodia Reading List

Explore the culture of Angkor and Cambodia more deeply with our essential Cambodia travel reading list.

...begin with Approach Guides
The world’s best art, architecture
and cultural experiences.
Delivered weekly.
...begin with Approach Guides
The world’s best art, architecture
and cultural experiences.
Delivered weekly.