Tokyo and New York may be the largest cities of the modern world but they were not more then small settlements in the pre-industrial world when another city held the title of being the world’s largest. It was the capital of the Khmer empire that ruled the major part of the present day Cambodia between the 9th and the 15th centuries.
Today the city and the adjacent area are nothing more than the archaeological ruins, but these ruins of Angkor and the thousands of shining temples of Angkor Wat have become the greatest attractions for the tourists that arrive in Cambodia. The area is part of the Unesco’s world heritage sites and each year it receives thousands of visitors who come there to be amazed by the grandeur and majesty of this once great city of Angkor.
The archaeological park of Angkor is stretched on an area of 400 sq. km and is home to many different capitals built by the Khmer empire including the one that was the largest city of the 15th century at a time when the great cities like Paris and London were trying to drag themselves out of the dark ages. If you are arriving from outside the country then first you’ll have to find your self a the capital of Cambodia, from which you can either take the connecting flight to Siam Riep which is 30 miles south of the park or hire a car for making this journey.
As the camping is not allowed in the area so it will be Siam Riep where you’ll plan your stay as well, with the recent boom in the tourism sector of the country a lot of 3 and 4 star hotel have opened in the area and caters to the tourists with all kind of budgets.
There will be a lot sight seeing to do in the area but you can start with the awe inspiring Bayon temple with 54 towers of which each one has 4 large stone faces carved in to it, so in total there are 216 stone faces that have been carved with fantastic artisanship. The temple was built in the 12th century and is the first place that most of the visitors head to because of its proximity to the town of Siam Riep. While the Bayon temple is sacred to Buddhists, to its northwest is another magnificent temple that was built to honor the Hindu goddess and is also a famous place with the tourists.
But the major reason for most of the tourists for making the journey to Angkor area is the marvelous temple complex of Angkor Wat located 6 kilometers from the Siam Riep. The temple is the supreme example of Khmer excellence in arts and architecture and there are not many monuments in the world that can rival with the Angkor Wat in beauty and splendor.
The huge size of the temple can be a little overwhelming in the start, so try to hire a seasoned guide for exploring the temple properly. There is a museum in the western part of the complex that will provide you with a deep insight into the history of Khmer empire and that of the Angkor Wat.