Top 3 tem­ple com­plexes

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Koh Ker is a re­mote ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site in north­ern Cam­bo­dia, about 200km from Siem Reap. From CE 928-944, the site served as the cap­i­tal of the Angko­rian Em­pire. King Jayavar­man IV built a tem­ple com­plex there to wor­ship Trey­pu­vanes­vara, the god of hap­pi­ness. In an area ex­ceed­ing 36 square kilo­me­tres, there are more than 40 ma­jor struc­tures to see. Ac­cord­ingly, an overnight stay is rec­om­mended.

Unesco world her­itage site Ban­teay Chh­mar is a tem­ple com­plex in the north­west of the coun­try, close to the Thai bor­der. The bas-re­lief art­works that mark more than a kilo­me­tre of the outer gallery walls are a par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive fea­ture here. Hav­ing re­mained al­most com­pletely un­touched for 800 years, this com­plex is a per­ti­nent link be­tween the Kh­mer peo­ple and their Angko­rian roots. Vis­i­tors have the chance to stay the night in the nearby vil­lage, which of­fers home­s­tays to as­sist with com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

The his­tory of Preah Khan is shrouded in mys­tery, but there is a con­sen­sus that it has long been a lo­ca­tion of re­li­gious im­por­tance. The tem­ple com­plex, far-flung and en­veloped by na­ture, has struc­tures dat­ing back to the 9th cen­tury. De­spite be­ing dam­aged by loot­ers in the late 1990s, the tem­ple re­mains a site of seren­ity. The rel­a­tively small size of the com­plex makes it ideal for a half-day visit. It is worth mak­ing the trip for the exquisitely carved ele­phants at the eastern end of the reser­voir.

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