There are Khmer temples that predate Angkor. The Chenla empire was headquartered at Sambor Prei Kuk near Phnom Penh from the late 500s through the 700s. Hundreds of temples remain.
Angkor (near Siem Reap) was the capital city of the Khmer empire from 802 to 1431. All that is left of the approximately one million people and their hundreds of square miles of urban sprawl are more than one thousand stone temples in various states of ruin. Angkor Thom is the name of the walled, 3.5 square miles at the empire’s center that contain many, but not all, of the Angkor period remains. Temples were constructed either as Buddhist or Hindu shrines, then re-purposed and switched around according to the current king’s preference.
Cycling has to be the best way to visit Angkor, since you can get into the forest and visit ruins most visitors never experience. Our guide Nak is not only an excellent cyclist, he is very knowledgeable and proud of Angkor, sharing with us the best views, interesting details, and fun routes.
Angkor Wat is just one temple complex out of the Angkor region’s approximately one thousand temples. The largest religious monument in the world, it was built in the early 1100s.
Cycling: Siem Reap and Angkor, 26 miles, warm and sunny Siem Reap and Banteay Srei, 40 miles, rainy/muddy/70s