Angkor Wat is a symbol of Cambodia, not only the best attraction of the country but also one of the finest monuments and the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. It is located about six kilometers (four miles) north of Siem Reap.
According to Sacred Sites, Angkor Wat was built during the 12th century with estimated construction time of 30 years by Suryavarman II to honor the Hindu God Vishnu and is a symbolical representation of Hindu cosmology. Its five inter-nested rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean.
Angkor Wat is just one of the temples inside the complex, and considered the best preserved. According to Wikipedia, unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.
Let me share some of my shots of Angkor Temple:
Left picture above you will see the wall carvings. It is located at the main entrance of the building.
Best Way to Explore Angkor Wat:
1) Rent a tuktuk for the day. The drivers there are fluent in English, you'll save on paying a Tourist Guide too because they know a lot about the temples.
2) You can get a tour package from your hotel, mostly includes air-conditioned transportation service, meals and a supply of cold drinking water.
A word of caution: You will encounter a lot of local kids there forcing you to buy whatever it is they are selling, very annoying yes. Just work on your patience please. But you will be suprised, these kids can speak better English than most of us! And not only English, most of them are well trained to speak any languange, try it when you visit Cambodia. I even heard someone talking fluent Italian I glanced back and whoa...a teenage Cambodian kid.. amazing!
Tips in Exploring Angkor Wat:
The Tropical sun can be quite fierce, and the temples are mostly made of stones so the effect of the heat bouncing off from the stone temples can be overwhelming, so:
1) Don't forget to bring a bottle of water, make it 2!
2) Dress properly, you will be perspiring the whole day so go for comfortable clothes.
3)Wear comfortable shoes. I will not suggest slippers or those with heels. You will be walking/climbing on steep and narrow steps plus uneven terrain so please make sure you will last a day. Wear comfy shoes! If not, I bet you will be complaining after just a few hours of walking.
4) Bring a hat, your sunglasses and of course your sunscreen
5) Just bring what you need and pack light! You will be walking / climbing the whole day so please be kind to yourself and carry only what is needed.
6) Bring extra battery for your camera. The heat will drain your camera's battery faster than usual.
7) The most of all, read before you go! Know something about the palace first so you'll have an idea what to expect. And of course enjoy!