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Top 10 Things to Do in Siem Reap - 2018

Visitors to Angkor Wat come for many reasons. Many come in search of history, others to explore the extraordinary temples and its architecture or the massive, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. Giant, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. Beng Mealea or Bung Mealea is a temple in the Angkor Wat period located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay.

Angkor Archaeological Park

There’s no right or wrong way to explore Angkor Archaeological Park, but you can be strategic about it. Start with official 'Wonder of the World' and the largest religious site on Earth, Angkor Wat but get up early to see it at sunrise as they'll be a lot of people with the same idea. Alternatively, go for a hilltop complex like Phnom Bakheng at dawn to avoid crowds (most people visit here at sunset). It's best to do most of your exploring before the midday sun hits, although the 'Tombraider Temple', Ta Prohm, is a good one to go to in the afternoon, as it's shaded (read: half-eaten) by tightly-knotted banyan trees. Get the three-day temple pass ($62) if you're here for anything longer than a weekend break, as it's worth taking time to explore the smaller, off-road temples like Preah Pithu, in and around the main city of Angkor Thom.

Beng Mealea

For the more adventurous, you can make the one-hour trip outside of town to the mysterious twelfth century temple, Beng Mealea. Found deep in the jungle, it has the same 'unearthed' feel as Ta Prohm, but without the tourists queuing up to do an Angelina Jolie pose in front of it. Scrambling around piles of crumbling bricks and roots wrapped around sandstone, you'll feel like the true explorer of a lost empire.

Angkor National Museum

Get some background at Angkor National Museum. Put it all into context at this comprehensive museum, which explores the Buddhist and Hindu treasures found at the nearby temple sites and tells the full story of the powerful Angkor civilization. As the museum gives an overview, rather than detailed explanations of the early Khmer royals and their grand schemes, it might be better to go before you visit the Angkor complex.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Watch the sun rise over the Angkor Temple to reveal the natural beauty of this area. Roam around and gaze across at the amazing scenery and unrivaled architecture. Stroll through the temple's complex chambers and learn the site's fascinating history.

The Last King of Angkor Wat

by Graeme Base

Among the ruins of Angkor Wat, Tiger, Monkey, Water Buffalo, and Gecko argue over who would make the greatest king. An ancient elephant suggests a race to the top of the hill to prove each creature’s speed, strength, and cunning. But along the way, their strengths and weaknesses are revealed. Will any of them be good enough to be king?Graeme Base’s luscious illustrations of the Cambodian temple complex Angkor Wat—one of the most beautiful ruins in existence and known to people all over the world—are combined with a search-and-find feature in this exciting new tale! A brief history of the temple is included.

 

First they killed my father : a daughter of Cambodia remembers
by Ung, Loung

One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed. Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.

 

The Mysteries of Angkor Wat (Traveling Photographer)
by Richard Sobol

In 1100 CE, the mighty Khmer people of Cambodia built the world's largest religious monument: the sprawling stone temple of Angkor Wat. Now, thousands visit the crumbling ruins each year to see the last remains of the ancient and mysterious civilization.

 

The Mysteries of Angkor Wat (Traveling Photographer)
by Richard Sobol

In 1100 CE, the mighty Khmer people of Cambodia built the world's largest religious monument: the sprawling stone temple of Angkor Wat. Now, thousands visit the crumbling ruins each year to see the last remains of the ancient and mysterious civilization.

 

Angkor Wat (Unearthing Ancient Worlds)
by Alison Behnke

In the mid-1800s, a French researcher named Henri Mouhot explored the jungles of Cambodia, collecting samples of exotic plants. But a local guide helped him find something far more interesting the mysterious remains of an ancient city. Many of the buildings were in ruins, but one structure rose out of the jungle: Angkor Wat. With its five massive stone towers and broad terraces, the temple Angkor Wat is one of the largest ancient structures in the world. Later archaeologists created detailed maps and drawings of the area that from 800 to 1100 A.D. was the capital of the Khmer Empire. The explorers had many questions: Why had people created such magnificent buildings? Why had the city been abandoned? And what did the ancient inscriptions on the walls say? Archaeologists began to put the story of Angkor together as they untangled the ancient runs from the jungle's grasp. Language experts deciphered the inscriptions on the walls. In the 1970s, a civil war in Cambodia temporarily brought work at Angkor to a halt, and the jungle again started to take over. But by the early 1980s, people around the world returned to the ancient city to continue restoration. Their work goes on, and Angkor Wat remains a treasured national symbol of Cambodia.

 

In the Shadow of Angkor - Unknown Temples of Ancient Cambodia
by George Groslier

On June 6, 1913, George Groslier, a twenty-six year old French explorer, set out with a small group of native porters on a six-month trek in the Cambodian wilderness. A millennium earlier, the Khmer empire had ruled the entire region. In the 15th century, however, the kingdom mysteriously collapsed, with dense jungle quickly covering its fabulous temples. The French government charged Groslier with documenting the most remote edifices of the Khmer legacy - among them Preah Vihear, Wat Phu, Beng Melea and Banteay Chhmar - sites that remain isolated even a century later. This modern edition - enhanced with 75 period illustrations and detailed appendices - offers readers the first English translation of the dangers, discoveries and people encountered on his solitary adventure. Groslier's impressions and insights still fascinate those who, even today, seek answers in the ancient shrines of Cambodia.

 

Angkor and the Khmer Civilization
by Michael D. Coe

The classic-period Khmer kings ruled over their part-Hindu and part-Buddhist empire from AD 802 for more than five centuries. This period saw the construction of many architectural masterpieces, including the huge capital city of Angkor, with the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious structure. Numerous other provincial centers, bound together by an impressive imperial road system, were scattered across the Cambodian Plain, northeast Thailand, southern Laos, and the Delta of southern Vietnam. Khmer civilization by no means disappeared with the gradual abandonment of Angkor that began in the fourteenth century, and the book's final chapter describes the conversion of the Khmer to a different kind of Buddhism, the move of the capital downriver to the Phnom Penh area, and the reorientation of the Khmer state to maritime trade.

 

Angkor Wat: Time, Space, and Kingship
by Eleanor Mannikka

Angkor Wat, with its magnificent towers silhouetted against the rising sun, is one of the most awe-inspiring architectural visions in the world. The temple was rescued from obscurity in the mid-19th century when French explorers reported seeing great sandstone monuments in the Cambodian jungle. At the turn of the century, as clearing began and the site re-emerged from the surrounding jungle growth, the temple was on its way to becoming recognized around the world as one of our greatest architectural achievements. Despite its impressive exterior, very little was known about Angkor Wat beyond the stories told by it bas-reliefs and the inscriptions chronicling the life of its builder, King Suryavarman II. Now, Eleanor Mannikka's study brings the principles of 12th-century Khmer temple architecture to the modern world.

 

Khmer Mythology: Secrets Of Angkor Wat
by Vittorio Roveda

The Khmer empire, which in its heyday extended across the whole of present-day Cambodia as far west as Burma and north into Laos, flourished for at least five hundred years. During that time, the many thousands of temples and shrines built to glorify mainly Hindu gods, but also Buddhism, were carved with intricate stone reliefs of immense size, complexity and artistry. In these pediments, lintels and many miles of walls were portrayed the lives of legends of the Hindu gods, adopted and transformed by the Khmer from Indian sources, and Buddhist themes, particularly from the reign of the great Jayavarman VII.

 

Earth in Flower - The Divine Mystery of the Cambodian Dance Drama
by Paul Cravath

An extraordinary account of Southeast Asia's most esoteric female performing art: the ancient Cambodian ballet. Since the dawn of recorded history, Khmer royalty nurtured a spiritual dance unique to their kingdom. Today, people worldwide instantly recognize the style, mistakenly associating it with Siam and Thailand. In fact, the Siamese captured the mystical dancers and their secrets upon conquering the Khmers in the 15th Century. In 1975, another wartime twist of fate gave University of Hawaii researcher Paul Cravath rare access to the formerly sequestered troupe of royal dancers, their teachers, theater and archives. The author thoroughly covers the topics of choreography, musicology, costuming and stagecraft. More surprising is learning how profoundly these women affected regional history for a millennium, as goddesses, priestesses, queens, concubines, hostages and diplomats. Earth in Flower gives new insights into this beautiful art, its dancers and how their rituals balance the Khmer relationship between heaven and earth.