Take your time and dedicate a full day to visit Angkor Wat temple, the most imposing and iconic monument, whose silhouette floats on the national flag of Cambodia.
Angkor Wat is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. Its name suggests both a city (Angkor) and a temple (Wat). This world renown temple was built by the king Suryavarman II (1113-1150). He protected the capital of the Khmer Empire and its state temple by a 3,6 km outer wall, surrounded by a 250 m-wide moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1,5 km by 1,3 km and that is still in water. It is the largest religious monument of the world originally constructed as a Hindu temple of god Vishnu and gradually transformed into Buddhist one toward the end of the 12th century. Since then, it remained a significant religious center.
Cross the moat that surrounds the temple and enter the wonderful mountain-temple through the historic causeway. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the West. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of its architecture: the outstanding construction, the perspective, the symbolization of Mount Meru with 5 sanctuaries at the top, the moat representing the cosmic ocean, the splendid bas-reliefs galleries and, in particular the Churning of the Ocean of Milk panel, the numerous devatas adorning its walls. It has no equivalent on the Angkor site!
The visit of Angkor Wat cannot finish without watching the sun going down. You can experience sublime sunsets from different spots: behind the temple, seeing its reflection in the moat, and from the eastern causeway or from the East side of the ponds.
For those who want something special, contemplative or more quiet, proceed towards the West Baray and take a relaxing boat ride to view the sun setting over the water. You will understand the importance of water monuments in Khmer civilization. The big reservoir (the largest in the world before the industrial era with 8 km upon 2.2 km, 125 million m3) has in its center an island where stands a sanctuary, the Mebon, dated from mid of the 11th century.
Continue the feast for the eye and the spirit, spending an evening at Phare Ponleu Selpak circus, a beautiful performance portraying the history of Cambodia through a variety of artistic forms and amazing acrobat moves.