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BATTAMBANG: (292 km from Phnom Penh). The second largest city in Cambodia, Battambang is located on a rich and fertile plain, which provides much of the rice and other important crops for the country. The Sangker River cuts through the town center, which is filled with colonial and shop house architecture. The region has numerous Angkorian and post-Angkorian sites. Some of the most interesting are the Wat Ek and Phnom Banon (both 11th century – Suryavarman I). 

SIHANOUKVILLE (KOMPONG SOM): (230 km from Phnom Penh). Cambodia's only deep-sea port is located here and considerable international aid has been spent to improve the infrastructure in the province. Although tourism has increased over the past few years, the lovely beaches of Sihanoukville are some of the most unspoiled in all of Southeast Asia. It is a perfect tropical getaway, with facilities for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving or just sun-bathing. Boat trips are also available to many of the nearby islands. There are several hotels and local restaurants serving fresh, delicious seafood on the beach. 

PHNOM PENH: The capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia is located at the confluence of three rivers: the Mekong, the Bassac and the Tonle Sap. Once considered the loveliest city of Indochina, the city still maintains considerable charm. There is plenty to see in this small colonial capital. The many sidewalk cafes, established along the riverfront, invite the visitor for a rest. In addition to such tourist sites as the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum and Wat Phnom, there are several markets selling silk, silver, gems and antiques. Also worthwhile is a visit to the notorious "Killing Fields" and Tuol Sleng Museum, which chronicle the unfortunate years under the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge.  

THE SOUTHERN TEMPLES: (approximately 80 km from Phnom Penh) A one-day excursion from Phnom Penh allows the traveler to visit some of the major archeological sites of Cambodia. Ta Phrom temple (12th century) can be found near Tonle Bati Lake and the fine Angkorian temple of Suryagiri (11th century) is located on top of Phnom Chisor mountain. Other interesting stops include Angkor Borei, the first capital of the Pre-Angkorian Kingdom of Chenla, Phnom Da temple (6th century) and Asram Maharosei, a unique Indian-style sandstone temple. These excursions also give the visitor a chance to discover the Khmer countryside with its traditional villages and handicrafts. 

KAMPOT - KEP: (148 km from Phnom Penh). Kampot is a pleasant town on the banks of the lovely Kamchay River. The nearby seaside resort of Kep (formerly known as Kep-sur-Mer) is located 30 km from Kampot. This beautiful coastal area was once the favorite holiday spot for Cambodia's French-influenced elite during the turn of the century. The town is once again developing a reputation as an appealing retreat with quiet beaches and wonderful seafood. Kampot is also a base for excursions to Bokor, in the Elephant Mountains. The National Park is famous for the beauty of its forests and waterfalls and from the long abandoned hill resort of Bokor, the visitor can enjoy an amazing view of the Gulf of Siam.  

SIEM REAP: (314 km from Phnom Penh). Home of Angkor Wat, one of the greatest religious monuments in the world, Siem Reap is a charming tree-lined city with a narrow river flowing through the center of town. While most visitors spend their time exploring the ancient temple ruins, there are plenty of other diversions in town. The Tonle Sap Lake (and river), considered the heart of Cambodia, is located near here and boat tours offer visitors a glimpse into the traditional Khmer way of life. Floating villages, sunset cruises and tours of the bird reserve of Prek Tuol are all worthwhile. 

KOMPONG THOM: (168 km from Phnom Penh). Kompong Thom is a small town located on the banks of the Stung Sen River. It is the base for excursions to the archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk. Located 35 km from the city, the ancient capital of Chenla still contains 100 temples from the pre-Angkorian period (7th century) which are surrounded by lush forest. 

KOMPONG CHAM: (124 km from Phnom Penh). This lively port on the banks of the Mekong has some good examples of colonial architecture, as well as some interesting temples (including Wat Nokhor and Wat Kohear Nokor). Outside the provincial capital, on the other bank of the Mekong River, is Chhup, a rubber plantation that was first established in the region by the French tire maker Michelin. 

MONDULKIRI & RATANAKIRI: (600 km from Phnom Penh). There are over 20 different ethnic groups, each with their own distinct language, culture, traditions and handicrafts, in these two provinces. These highland people still practice a way of life untouched by progress. Various birds, elephant and tigers living in the dense jungle are protected from hunting. Trekking through the forests to the waterfalls, lakes and villages provide an alternative insight. 

KRATIE: (315 km from Phnom Penh). Kratie is a port town on the Mekong River, roughly halfway between Phnom Penh and the Laos border. This small provincial town has good examples of sumptuous colonial architecture and is home to a rare and endangered species of river dolphins. Traveling around Kratie provides an interesting opportunity to discover a peaceful rural Cambodia with beautiful villages, lush vegetation and serene monasteries. 

KOH KONG (CONSERVATION CORRIDOR): (278 km from Phnom Penh). The southern Cardamom Mountains are an exceptionally beautiful area and a biodiversity hotspot. They are one of the last remaining elephant corridors and large predator ranges in the region. The mountains host more than half of Cambodia's 2,300 bird species and are home to 14 globally threatened mammal groups. Explore the inhabited islands, isolated beaches, pristine rainforest, mangrove-lined rivers and remote waterfalls. Ecotourism is starting to open up the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor. 

Chronology of Angkor's Temples

ROLUOS GROUP (Hariharalaya) Hindu

Hariharalaya was built during the 9th century and served as the capital of King Jayavarman II and later, his son Jayavarman III. The surrounding temples of Bakhong, Preah Kho and Lolei were built during the reign of Indravarman I and his son. Together, they represent the beginning of Khmer classical art. 

PHNOM BAKHENG (893). Yacovarman I, son of Indravarman I, built his capital Yacodharapura around the hill of Phnom Bakheng. The Phnom Bakheng is home of the first mountain temples built in the vicinity of Angkor. 

PRASAT KRAVAN (921) Hindu (Vishnu). Built during the reign of Hashavarman I, it is composed of five brick towers. Two of them are decorated with bas-reliefs, representing Vishnu and Lakshmi, cut into bricks on the interior walls. 

BARAY ORIENTAL & MEBON ORIENTAL (952) Hindu (Shiva). Yacovarman I also built the Baray Oriental reservoir. Measuring 7000 by 1800 meters, the water was diverted from the Siem Reap River. Rajendravarman erected the Mebon Oriental. This mountain temple is guarded at its base by harnessed stone elephants. 

PRE RUP (961) Hindu (Shiva). Built by was built by Rajendravarman, nine years after the construction of Mebon Oriental. Composed of laterite and bricks, it is similar in style though on a much grandeur scale. 

PHIMEANAKAS Hindu (Shiva). This small mountain temple lies in the middle of the Royal Enclosure. Its name means "Celestial Palace". Rajendravarman built the pyramid and its gallery was later added by Suryavarman I. 

BANTEAY SREI (967) Hindu (Shiva). Built under Jayavarman V, Banteay Srei is regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art. Its rose-colored sandstone walls are decorated with carvings and bas-reliefs, which are among the most accomplished art that Angkor has to offer.  

TAKEO Hindu (Shiva). Built by Jayavarman V, this mountain temple takes the form of an imposing five-tier pyramid. Takeo was one of the 1st Angkorian monuments built entirely in sandstone but has no decorative carvings because construction was never finished. 

BAPHUON (1060) Hindu (Shiva). Built by Udayadityavarman II, it was the city center prior to the construction of Angkor Thom. The wall on the second level of the West Side was fashioned into a 40 meter-long reclining Buddha. 

KBAL SPEAN "The Thousand Linga River" Hindu (Vishnu). Built by hermits, Kbal Spean is about 30 km northeast of the Bayon and about 9 km beyond Banteay Srei. Commonly referred to in English as "the River of a Thousand Lingas", this is a peaceful area of riverbed carvings. The river, carved with several good images of Rama, Lakshmi and Hanuman, include a large image of Vishnu. Carved into the sandstone riverbed are over 1,000 lingas, (about 25 square centimeters and 10 centimeters deep) that are lined in a perfect grid pattern. 

ANGKOR WAT (1110 - 1150) Hindu (Vishnu). Suryavarman II dedicated this temple to Vishnu and this explains its unusual orientation to the West. It is the most famous temple of Angkor. Its design replicates the spatial universe in miniature; composed of the Mount Meru, surrounded by the continents and the oceans. It hosts an 800 meters long series of extraordinary bas-reliefs, depicting epic events of Khmer history and mythology. 

BENG MEALEA Buddhist. Located about 40 km east of the Bayon and about 7 km southeast of Phnom Kulen, Beng Mealea was built at about the same time as Angkor Wat. Its dimensions are similar, but Beng Mealea has no central pyramid. It's enclosed by a moat measuring 1,200m by 900 meters. Most of the Buddhist temples built under Jayavarman VII (Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei, Ta Som and Ta Prohm) were modeled after this complex. 

BANTEAY SAMRE Hindu (Vishnu). Built by Suryavarman II, it contains well-preserved bas-reliefs depicting scenes of Vishnu and Krishna legends. The Samre were a people of mixed origins who were said to live at the base of the Kulen hills. 

TA PROHM (1186) Buddhist. Jayavarman VII dedicated this temple to his mother. It has been left to the all-devouring jungle and it appears just as it did when it was rediscovered in 18th century by French explorers. It is a temple of towers, courtyards and narrow corridors, which are often impassable because of the vegetation and the large trees all of which give the temple its unique character. 

BANTEAY KDEI (1181) Buddhist. Jayavarman VII also built this massive temple, surrounded by four concentric walls. Garudas decorate its four entrances. The inside of the central tower was never finished. 

SRAH SRANG. Located opposite the Banteay Kdei complex, this artificial lake was used for ritual bathing by Royals.

PREAH KHAN (1191) Buddhist. Named "Sacred Sword", this temple was built by Jayavarman VII who dedicated it to his father. It covers a very large area, 700 by 800 meters, and is surrounded by a moat. Elaborate lintels and panels are richly decorated with bas-reliefs depicting Buddhist motifs and Hindu epics.

NEAK PEAN Buddhist. Composed of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the center of the main one is a circular island encircled by two nagas. It was built by Jayavarman VII and was used for rites of ritual purification. 

BAYON Buddhist. Built by Jayavarman VII in the exact center of the city of Angkor Thom, it is unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara. Its very well preserved bas-reliefs depict everyday life in the 12th century. 

ELEPHANTS TERRACE. Measuring 350 meters in width, it is decorated with carvings, including elephants in hunting scenes, garudas and lions. Built under Jayavarman VII, it was a viewing platform from which kings and their courts watched military displays of pomp and pageantry. 

TERRACE OF THE LEPER KING. At the top of this 7-meter-high platform stands a statue of what was thought to be the Leper King. It is in fact Yama, the god and judge of the dead. Stunning carvings adorning the walls on both sides cover the walkway. It was also built under Jayavarman VII. 

BANTEAY CHHMAR Buddhist. At the conclusion of the civil war between the Khmer and Champa kingdoms in the 12th century, King Jayavarman VII built a temple in the Cambodian jungle to honor five heroes who died in defense of their country, one of them being his son. A "Fine Citadel" of eight temples, situated on a nine-square kilometer site and surrounded by a moat, was distinguished by expertly rendered bas-reliefs depicting the war between the kingdoms and the accession of the Khmer king. A remote and ruined temple with massive face-towers and intricate carvings shrouded in mist and jungle vegetation conjures up all the romanticism of a lost Khmer city.