There are dozens of temple ruins in the Siem Reap area. Your temple itinerary depends largely on how much time you have and your level of interest, though some temples are ‘must sees.’ Any itinerary should include the legendary ruins of Angkor Wat and the giant faces of Bayon. These two temple ruins offer the most spectacular and unique examples of Angkorian art and architecture. On the road trip to Bayon, you will also see the South Gate of Angkor Thom and some other minor ruins. As it is within walking distance of Bayon, most itineraries can easily include central Angkor Thom, with its artistically interesting terraces and massive ‘temple-mountains, Baphuon and Phimeanakas. Due to lighting conditions, it is best to visit Angkor Wat in the afternoon, so most itineraries begin in the morning with the Angkor Thom.
As your schedule allows, build the rest of your itinerary around visiting each type of major ruins – temple mountains such as Pre Rup, Ta Keo,Bakong (one of temples in Roluos Group) and West Mebon; flat, sprawling monastic complexes such asTa Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Preah Khan and Ta Som, and unique monuments such as Neak Pean andSrah Srang. The Roluos Group, which comprises the monuments of an early Khmer capital, lies 12 km west of Siem Reap, outside the main temple complex. It is a bit out of the way, but offers some fine examples of early Angkorian art and should be included in two or more than two day itineraries. Of special note is the artistically exquisite but more distant temple, Banteay Srey. On the road trip to Banteay Srey, you will also see Banteay Samre is always quiet and peaceful. Other impressive temples outside the main temple complex are: Beng Mealea located about 70 km from Angkor Wat, which is largely unrestored with trees and thick bush thriving amidst its towers and courtyards’ and many of its stone lying in great heaps, Kbal Spean located more than 50 km from Angkor is not the temple but a river bed covered with sculptures of lingas, the symbol of the God Shiva’s supreme essence (Kbal Spean is about 45 minutes adventure through jungle up to the mountain), Phnom Kulen, the most important historical site which marked the birth of Angkor Civilization, consists of big view of waterfall, reclining Buddha statue, and a river bed covered with sculptures of lingas, the symbol of the God Shiva’s supreme essence, Koh Ker Group located about 150 km from Angkor in the province of Preah Vihear, used to be an ancient capital of Cambodia (AD 928-942). If there is any way of squeezing it into your itinerary, it is well worth it!