Angkor Wat is one of the largest temple complexes in the world, though you can not consider it as a beautiful temple or simple tourist attraction. It is a special site with peculiar atmosphere where one can feel superiority of Nature to any human being or even entire civilization.
In travel booklets the word «unique» is often applied to a beautiful building or a scenic landscape. It isn’t right. However, you can rightly use the word when speaking about Angkor Wat. As you can`t find anything similar in any other country in the world. And it would be just impossible for any European country that such a huge temple complex has been forgotten for several centuries and overgrown with jungles. All this is very impressive.
Here is a simplified history of Angkor Wat: in ancient times in South-East Asia there was a powerful Khmer state. The rulers of the state built several huge temples collectively called Angkor Wat in the period of its prosperity. Then the state ceased its existence and the temples were forsaken. On the roofs of palaces and temples there emerged sprouts, which have grown into gigantic plants for several centuries.
And only monkeys are missing to submerge into the unreal world of this ruined city over-grown with tropical vegetation. By the way, it was just a visit to Angkor Wat that inspired Kipling to write his famous ‘Adventures of Mowgli’.
Angkor Wat is a common name of several temples, which are located at a certain distance from one another. In fact, only the central temple with three lotuses in the middle is called Angkor Wat, though it is but one temple, even though the largest one. It is just this temple that is de-picted on the flag of Cambodia.
There is also Bayon, the temple of similar dimensions crowned with 54 towers. It can give you the same, if not greater impression. On every side of each tower there is a head of Buddha or the King Suryavarman.
However, Ta Phrom can give you the strongest impression. So, you should visit it after all other temples, or otherwise they will be dimmed against its background. Now Ta Phrom is exactly the same as Angkor Wat was when the temple was discovered by European travelers in XIX centuries. There were gigantic ancient plants everywhere among the houses and temples, as well as on the walls and rooftops.
Apart from these three main temples, which are worth visiting (Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Phrom), there is also a multitude of other curious things, that’s why you should spare at least three days for Angkor. In that case you`ll also have time to visit the other temples, for example, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Baphuon, and Ta Keo, go to one of the huge waterfalls, and, finally, climb the observation deck near the entrance of Angkor Thom to admire sunset.