Angkor Wat – a symbol of history and culture

Home » Destinations » Cambodia » Siem Reap & Angkor » Angkor Wat – a symbol of history and culture

You can explore more tours from Ftrip:

One of the most popular and iconic sites in Cambodia (to the point of appearing on its flag), Angkor Wat attracts visitors with its beautiful architecture, historical and religious importance, and backdrop of marvelous nature. Located 6km north of Siem Reap, the Angkor Wat temple complex was built on an area of roughly 400km2, bordered by a deep and wide moat. This vastness earned it the status of the largest religious building in the world. Initially dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat later became an important place of worship and pilgrimage site for Buddhists owing to the religion’s immense popularity. It remains an active and significant religious center, partially due to its well-preserved condition, giving insight into Khmer architecture and spiritual life. 

If the Greeks hold that Mount Olympus was home to their gods, then the Hindu pantheon dwells in Mount Meru, which Angkor Wat was structured to resemble. Scholars have theorized that it was built as an imperial tomb, as it faced West – the direction of death. However, as Vishnu was also associated with the west, the current thinking is that the complex may have been intended to be a tomb and a mausoleum. (Suryavarman II, who ordered its construction, never did get to use it, since he died in battle.) Its central five towers symbolize the five peaks of the mountain, while the walls and moat stand for the mountain ranges and ocean that surround this center of the universe. The upper areas of the temple remain forbidding with their steepness, symbolizing the difficulty in reaching the abode of the gods. They used to be exclusively for the upper classes of Khmer society; today they are open to a limited number of people with a queuing system.

Read more:

The complex was built using blocks of sandstone stacked together in a natural manner and bonded using an unknown material. Figures of gods, apsaras (dancing celestial maidens of the air and water), devatas (deities standing still and facing forward as temple guardians), asuras (demigods), warriors, and other mythological archetypes are emblematic of the Angkor Wat style of decoration. Even though the decorations are considered more conservative and static compared to earlier work, they are still very lively depictions. There are roughly over 3000 apsaras in Angkor Wat, yet each one is still distinctive, with no two decorations having the same hairstyle and position.  

The best time to visit Angkor Wat is the dry season, between December and May. The peak season is between November and February because of the cooler weather. Tourists should dress comfortably but respectfully, without revealing or torn clothes. A good rule is that upper arms should be covered and shorts should reach the knees. Touching or sitting on ancient structures, entering restricted areas, and disrespecting monks are not allowed. Archaeologists, conservators, and the authorities have the daunting task of defending this UNESCO World Heritage against the ravages of time, thieves, war, and tourism, but a little courtesy from every visitor will go a long way.

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884

Email: diep.van@ftripvietnam.com

Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit Luminousvietnamtour to explore tour!


Cambodia’s years of brutality – The Killing Fields

You can explore more tours from Ftrip: The Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century within only 4 year ruling Cambodia. According to the research, there were approximately two to three million Cambodian civilians dead through starvation and violence between 1975 and 1979. The Killing Fields coined […]

Read more
Laos_monk_almgiving_monk_people_travel_photography_ftripvietnam

All you need to know about Alms Giving Ceremony

Read more: Every dawn in Luang Prabang, the streets are filled with leisurely processions of saffron-clad monks participating in Tak Bat: The Alms-Giving Ceremony, one of the wonderful ancient traditions of the Buddhist Land of a Million Elephants, drawing visitors from all over the world to visit and observe or even participate.   The ceremony demonstrates […]

Read more

Wat Si Saket – The temple with the most ancient statues in Vientiane – Laos

The beautiful and ancient temples of Vientiane, the capital of Laos, have earned the city a reputation for being an attractive destination for tourism. As a Buddhist country, Laos is home to over 1,600 pagodas scattered all over the country, and there are hundreds of them in Vientiane alone. Although the buildings, many of which […]

Read more

The Temples – Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos

Read more: That Luang – Pha That Luang (or That Luang) is located about 3 km from the city center north of Vientiane, That Luang is a very important landmark in Laos and the holy land of Buddhism in this country, is the pride of the Laos people. The national symbol of Laos The Pha […]

Read more
Mu-Cang-Chai

Where to find the most beautiful lush green and yellow rice terrace view?

The rice terrace fields in Sapa are popular among locals and international tourists but the North of Vietnam has plenty of other dreamy destinations for that stunning view when the harvest season comes. Tu Le, Yen Bai Province Not far from the most well-known Mu Cang Chai, if we move on highway 32 from Nghia […]

Read more

Y Tý, Lào Cai – A touch on the untouched lands

This article is written for those who travel to search for the off-beaten paths, the unseen lands of Vietnam where travel bloggers are unlikely to write about it, and where only the locals know. Y Tý, Hà Giang Province While Sapa is famous for its trekking and tribe villages, and Ha Giang is well-known for […]

Read more
Hanoi Food Tour

Twilight Hanoi Food Tour (vegan & vegetarian food tour available upon request)

Read more: Food is a significant aspect of Hanoi. Tradition, medicine, entertainment, and nourishment come together in one cuisine. New experiences in flavors and textures await around every corner: vendors laden with goods calling for customers, diners sitting hunched on small plastic chairs, waiters bringing traditional dishes to visitors in fancy restaurants. Beyond the phở and bánh mì that […]

Read more
Saigon Food Tour on a Vespa

Saigon Food Tour on a Vespa (vegan/ vegetarian food tour available)

Beyond the phở and bánh mì that most foreigners would invariably know, there are Vietnamese delights that you may be unable to get elsewhere.A food tour is great but our Sài Gòn Food Tour on a Vespa is an excellent experience. Let our local foodie experts take you on an unforgettable food hunt combined with city exploration on a […]

Read more
Longer Than a Summer

Longer Than a Summer- A secret Whiskey and Cocktail bar in Hanoi

You can explore more tours from Ftrip: Longer Than a Summer is Hanoi’s hidden gem known for its well-made, craft-infused drinks. The bar operates as an underground venue with no more than 15 seats, no advertisements, no menus, and no mark on Google Maps but rather unique whiskey and non-mainstream, custom-made beverages. The bar is […]

Read more

Best vegan/ vegetarian restaurant in town

Read more: Eat like a local In Sai Gon, “ăn chay” is popular on the 1st or the 15th of the month according to the lunar calendar for Buddhists in particular and for those who are religious in general. However, vegetarian/ vegan meals have recently become more popular among the youth and people in general […]

Read more