Angkor Wat offers some of the most magnificent historic sights in the world and after many visits, I’m still fascinated by walking around the amazing temples built centuries ago. Yet, very little is known about the Khmer Empire and it’s capital city Angkor that had 1 million citizens when London was a town of only 50,000 people. The Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap fills some of that knowledge gap and provides good background information for your visit to Angkor Wat!
While just walking around the temples of Angkor is an amazing experience, you won’t find much information displayed at the temples, so getting a little background information about Angkor’s history, it’s rulers and achievements and the religion of its people is helpful.
The Angkor National Museum provides that information and has been greatly improved since my first visit years ago. It offers a mix of video presentations about the history and artifacts from the period with detailed explanations to find out more about Angkor. Key temples of Angkor Wat and the ancient city of Angkor Thom have dedicated rooms. You’ll also be able to see the room of 1,000 buddhas and learn about the religion. Some of the achievements of the rulers during the golden age of Angkor are also described in more detail. The stone carvings and architecture you’ll see at the temples will be explained, as well as the story telling on the long reliefs at Angkor Wat.
So, if you have an hour or two of time during your visit to Siem Reap and want to know a little more about the temples and the people who built them, check out the Angkor National Museum.
Travel Tips: The Angkor National Museum is open from 8:30-18:00h or 18:30h in winter. The entrance fee was just raised to USD12 and you can rent a very detailed audio guide in multiple languages for USD6. You can book and pay your ticket online, a feature just recently introduced, but there was no line during my visit.
The audio guide is very detailed and worked well for me. If you don’t have a lot of time, I’d skip it and just take advantage of the video presentations available at the exhibits most interesting to you! I personally enjoyed the Angkor Wat room the most and was impressed by the Room of the 1,000 Buddhas! You can see all the exhibits on the map below
Photography is not allowed in the exhibit, so I was only able to take some pics in the hallways to illustrate this post. For more details, more photos and the online booking, go to the Angkor National Museum website.
Check out my Guide to Angkor to plan your trip, find the best places to stay & eat and what to see & do!