Bakong Temple.

©PonAek/Getty Images


Temples of Angkor

Bakong is the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group of temples. Built and dedicated to Shiva by Indravarman I, it’s a representation of Mt Meru, and it served as the city’s central temple. The east-facing complex consists of a five-tier central pyramid of sandstone, 60m square at the base, flanked by eight towers of brick and sandstone, and by other minor sanctuaries. A number of the lower towers are still partly covered by their original plasterwork.

The complex is enclosed by three concentric walls and a moat. There are well-preserved statues of stone elephants on each corner of the first three levels of the central temple. There are 12 stupas – three to each side – on the third tier. The sanctuary on the fifth level of Bakong temple was a later addition during the reign of Suryavarman II, in the style of Angkor Wat’s central tower. There is an active Buddhist monastery here, dating back a century or more, which has recently been restored.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Temples of Angkor attractions

1. Preah Ko

0.57 MILES

Preah Ko was erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century and dedicated to Shiva. In AD 880 the temple was also dedicated to his deified ancestors:…

2. Lolei


The four brick towers of Lolei, an almost exact replica of the towers of Preah Ko (although in much worse shape), were built on an islet in the centre of…

3. CMAC Peace Museum of Mine Action

1.98 MILES

Located in the Roluos HQ of CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre), this museum gets very few visitors due to its out-of-the-way location, but it is an…

4. Tani Museum of Ceramics

6.07 MILES

This tiny museum located in Tani commune showcases a collection of Angkorian pottery from the days of the Khmer empire. Only pottery enthusiasts are…

5. Chau Srei Vibol

6.54 MILES

This petite hilltop temple is actually part of a larger complex that spanned the entire hill. It is relatively under-visited compared with more centrally…

6. Angkor Panorama Museum

6.85 MILES

Donated by the North Korean government, this stylish building conceals an incredible panoramic painting that is 13m high and 123m around. The detail is…

7. MGC Asian Traditional Textiles Museum

6.92 MILES

This museum showcases the best in Asian textiles from around the Mekong region, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and India. There are a variety…

8. Banteay Samré


Banteay Samré dates from the same period as Angkor Wat and was built by Suryavarman II. The temple is in a fairly healthy state of preservation due to…