Small Circuit Temples

Small Circuit Temples

Angkor Wat is the largest and most well known temple in Angkor, but it is far from the only one in the city. There are 2 main routes to follow when visiting – the small circuit and the grand tour, both of which can be covered in 2 days. After our Angkor Wat visit, we spent the rest of the day following the small circuit route. As we soon found out, hired tuk tuk drivers generally know which temples to stop off at, so there wasn’t much we needed to plan. The only thing we needed was to find the guy with the right price. Our hotel was able to get us a tuk tuk driver for $16 for the entire day. Despite Cambodia having its own currency, the riel, all of our transactions were quoted in USD. That is because Cambodia has a dual-currency system. USD was brought into the country by the UN peacekeepers in 1993, and it has since been widely adopted as the currency to use for larger transactions. The current exchange rate of $1 to 4100 riel means you’d need to carry hundreds of thousands of riel just for transportation and meals. However, riel is usually given back to you as smaller change, which you can leave behind in the hotel room as a tip for housekeeping.

All of the smaller temples are still undergoing decades of restoration, with assistance from different countries such as India, China, Germany, and France.

Prasat Kravan – 10th century temple

Carvings in brick instead of the usual sandstone found elsewhere in Angkor

Banteay Kdei Temple is a late 12th century Buddhist monastic complex.

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Ta Prohm Temple, a late 12th century temple, is most well known for its appearance in the film Tomb Raider. It is also popular for all the trees growing amongst the ruins, as the temple has been left in the condition in which it was found.

Tree roots look like boa constrictors swallowing the temple whole.
Or like flowing lava.
Giving you the sense that the jungle is finally reclaiming its space.
In contrast, the inner reaches of the great hall have been nicely restored.

Ta Keo Temple – late 10th century

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Thommanon Temple – early 12th century

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Bayon Temple built in the late 12th century was the last temple built in Angkor, and is the only one built to worship Buddhist deities.

One of the 216 giant Brahma (or Buddha, or King Jayavarman VII depending on who you ask) faces adorning the towers.
The Bayon temple hosts several more intricate carvings
Churning of sea of milk bas-relief – depicting cooperation between the devata and asuras in the attempt to obtain the nectar of immortality.
Here’s a depiction of the building of a Khmer temple

Phnom Bakheng Temple, a late 9th century temple that sits high up on a hill. This is a popular sunset spot, as well as the place to get a bird’s eye view of Angkor Wat in the distance.

Angkor Wat in the distance

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