Cambodia – Angkor Archeological Park, part 3

Early morning at Preah Khan

Today’s temples were not far away from Siem Reap so it was another day riding in a tuk tuk.  We left the hotel at 7:00am and reached Preah Khan at the 7:30am opening time.  It was not too busy here, so we had a pleasant wander around the ruins.

Preah Khan is a grand temple built in the 12th century under the reign of King Jayavaraman VII to honor his father.  The inner enclosure contains a maze of chapels, courts, halls and pavilions with a central shrine. (click on any picture to make it larger)

This temple has been left largely unrestored with trees and vegetation growing among the ruins, but there are some interesting features here worth seeing:

The outer wall features large Garudas holding Nagas every 50 meters.

Stone Dvarapalas (swordsmen) guarding the entries.

A two story building with round columns, thought to be a granary, is the only surviving structure of it’s kind in Angkor.

Unique narrowing doors as you head towards the central sanctuary.

Interesting carvings of bearded Chinese persons praying, we have not noticed these anywhere else.

Beautiful Devata carvings throughout the temple.



Ta Som temple is one of the smaller temples in Angkor Archeological Park and has a special charm like Ta Prohm.  This temple was built in the 12th century under the reign of King Jayavaraman VII, and was dedicated to his father.  The temple was likely destroyed in the 15th or 16th century and lay in a state of ruin for many centuries.  From 1998-2023 the temple underwent stabilization and reassembly to make it safer for visitors.  Also being small and all on one level, Ta Som is an easy temple to navigate.

  • Entrance


The eastern gopura (gate) features four smiling faces and an entrance that is framed by the roots of a strangler fig tree rising out of the structure.  The tree has been chopped off; I assume to protect the gopura from further destruction by the roots.  The gate features bas-reliefs of devata and some interesting pediments, all framed by the roots of the tree.  Lots of good photo-ops here!


There are a few pediments which have been reassembled and left at ground level, it’s a great chance to get up close to these artistic features that are normally up high and out of sight.

There are many beautiful Devata (dancers) and Dvarapala (swordsmen) carvings throughout the temple.


Both temples we visited today have been cautiously restored, avoiding too much guesswork and respecting the ruined nature of the temples.  As we wind down our time in Angkor Archeological Park, it was nice to visit some of the smaller temples that have not been restored as much as the more popular sites.

Today’s tuk tuk driver cost USD $20 for just under 4 hours.



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