Angkor Wat is the centerpiece of the Angkor Archaeological Park. It was built as a Hindu temple in the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II. It’s the most popular place to view the sun as it rises above the temple complex. At sunrise, most tour groups go inside the walls as many individual travelers (with their tour guides) stay outside the moat. Since Angkor Wat is west-facing, I love to visit this temple in the late afternoon when the setting sun brings out the earthen colors of the walls and buildings.
If you’re interested in visiting Angkor Wat, take a look at our post about planning a trip to this amazing 12th century temple complex. If you’d like to see a photo tour of another ancient temple at Angkor, read our post about the stone faces of Bayon.
Crossing the moat and approaching the outer walls of Angkor Wat. The late day sun brings out its colors.
Approaching the entrance to Angkor Wat on a clear blue-sky day
The outside wall of Angkor Wat in the late day sun.
Looking across the vast interior between the outer walls and the temple of Angkor Wat. Photo taken mid-day.
The library is located between the outer walls and the temple of Angkor Wat. Photo taken mid-day.
The pond in front mirrors the temple of Angkor Wat. The mid-day sun and a hazy sky cause a dull and gray photo.
The late afternoon sun makes for a more vibrant photo of Angkor Wat as reflected in the pond in front of it
Angkor Wat, as seen with its reflection, in the late afternoon. This is arguably the most popular photo spot at the 12th century temple.
The main temple of Angkor Wat in the late afternoon sun
Walking down the long walkway between the outer wall and the temple at Angkor Wat in the late afternoon.
The temple at Angkor Wat in the mid-day sun
These bas-reliefs depict the Apsara dancers hundreds of years ago
There are many stairs to climb at Angkor Wat. A clear blue sky can make for vivid photos during mid-day.
Some sections of Angkor Wat are less crowded and a good place to see much of the temple
The bas-reliefs inside Angkor Wat provide a historical picture of life centuries ago
Crowds are heavy at Angkor Wat during the middle of the day.
The main temple area at Angkor Wat during the middle of the day.
Looking along the front wall of Angkor Wat with the moat off to the side in the late afternoon sun
Looking east from the back of Angkor Wat. Photo taken mid-day.