The brilliance of Angkor Wat shines as one of the brightest gems among the gold studded crown of international treasures. Today, Angkor and its neighbouring temples is the new international hotspot for tourism and remains the source of the Khmer identity.
The Angkor ruin temples were recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site since 1992. The sprawling Angkor Archaeological Park, as it’s referred, is situated in Siem Riep province and comprises of the principle attractions of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prom, Preah Khan and the Elephant Terrace, etc. There are hundreds of other temples and buildings, both large and small, within the region covering about 400 square kilometres. Nowadays the development strategy for tourism in the area is a collective collaboration between the Royal Government of Cambodia and various NGOs.
Thirty kilometres northeast of the Angkor temple complex is the home of Banteay Srey temple, considered as one of the most beautiful artistic temples. Its fame is largely in part because of its excellent preserved carvings on rich red and pink sandstone etched meticulously. With its fine details, the temple easily deserves the reputation as “The Diamond of Temples”.
Beyond Banteay Srey is the previous Angkor temple of Boeung Mealea, a ruin which covers more than one square kilometer structure. This massive temple was the prototype of Angkor Wat temple. The temple can be reached via a good surface road.
Recently, improvements in infrastructure have made the amazing Koh Ker temple complex more accessible. Koh Ker is about 80km northeast of Angkor Wat. The Koh Ker group temples are commonly referred to as the “Pyramid” temples of Cambodia, due to its uniquely shaped construction, resembling the Egyptian Pyramid. This Cambodia Pyramid temple is surrounded by over one hundred temples, bridges and ponds; hidden in the surrounding tropical jungle. Much of the temple structure has been ravaged by time, nature and wars.
Linked from Siem Reap town by National Road 6, turning right at Svay Sisophon town of Banteay Mean Chey province along Road 64 is another architectural gem known as the Banteay Chhmar temple. The Banteay Chhmar temple is a prototype of the Bayon temple style, characterised with its four-faced Prohm’s statues. The location is about 150km northwest of the Angkor area.
Just off the outskirts of the Angkor temples complex is the amazing Preah Vihear temples, located in Preah Vihear province. Another heritage site found at the edge of the northern Cambodian-Thailand borders, this mountain temple was built at a peak of 700 metres above sea level. It is considered one of the greatest temples of the Angkorian period. While the Sambor Prey Kuh ruin temple complex should not be missed, this important archeological site known as the “Chenla”, which in fact was pre-Angkorian. Sambor Prei Kuk, located in Sambor district, Kampong Thom province about 150km distance north-east of Angkor.
Source : phnompenhpost.com