Siem Reap is the nearest town to the incredible temples at Angkor Wat. The temple was built around 900 years ago and is the largest religious complex in the world with numerous shrines and smaller temples surrounding the main structure. Many of the buildings were abandoned at various points and there is a constant effort to preserve and restore the intricate decorations that cover the buildings.

The central temple at Angkor Wat has been in use continuously. It is reached from the entrance by a wide avenue stretching almost 500 meters, passing pools and libraries before arriving at the temple. The walls of the building are covered with highly detailed carvings showing scenes from Hindu mythology, and the 5 towers on the top of the temple represent the peaks of Mount Maru, the sacred mountain thought to be the centre of the world by many eastern religions.

Angkor Wat was damaged during the brutal Khymer Rouge regime. One of the many organisations working to revive traditional Cambodian culture and skills that were also lost during this period is Les Chantiers Écoles, a school teaching the next generation of artisans and craftspeople. Take a tour of their workshop to learn more about stone carving, woodwork, silk painting and lacquer work. The attached shop is a great place to pick up a souvenir which also benefits the local community.

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Read more on Siem Reap below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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