Angkor Wat is rightly Cambodia’s most famous historical and religious site, visited by millions every year [4.6million estimated in 2014]. But what is not clear to many until visiting is that Angkor is quite a large area near the city of Siem Reap actually containing many temples, palaces, and other ancient buildings of a wide range of architectural styles spanning several centuries.
Here is a public domain simplified map showing the many major sites near the main complexes of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom:
An historical periodization of the styles of architecture found in and around Angkor can be a useful reference both to navigating the different eras of sites closely located in the area, as well as placing the temple architecture found around the rest of Cambodia.
No other city around Thailand (or hardly anywhere similar in the world) has such a tactful name – “Defeat of Siam”; given that actually Thailand defeated Cambodia and reigned over Siem Reap from 1794 to 1907.
Siem Reap started blooming for the first time during the Golden 1920’s when the legendary Grand Hotel d’Angkor was built and high-profile guests like Charlie Chaplin started visiting the city and Angkor Wat.
But the recovery should not last long – the Khmer Rouge led Siem Reap and its people again into decades of darkness until the mid-1990’s.
Fast forward 2014, Siem Reap has turned into a bustling city with plenty of hotels and restaurants and transformed the city into the heartbeat of Cambodia’s tourism, mainly due to its proximity to the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat.
Located in the heart of Siem Reap, in the Old French Quarter only 8 kilometres from the extraordinary Angkor Wat temple complex, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is the ideal place to explore the spiritual and archaeological masterwork. Relax and revitalise beside a magnificent pool inspired by Angkorian architecture or take a short stroll along the riverside to discover the vibrant local markets.
Located steps from the Opera House in Hanoi’s French Quarter this legendary property brings guests into intimate contact with the opulence of another era. Surround yourself in heritage as you stroll stately corridors and explore a dramatic past. Behind its classical white façade green shutters original wrought iron details and stately wood panelling reside over a century of stories. Stand on the walkways that grace its lush courtyard lawn and immerse yourself in the hotels rich traditions.
Temple sites nearby:
Tran Quoc Pagaoda – 4km
Chua Dau Pagoda – 30km outside of Hanoi, Thuan Thanh district
Temple of Literature – 2.5km
In the heart of bustling Vientiane stands a remarkable hotel. Built in the early part of the last century, circa 1932, and painstakingly restored to its former imperial glory, the Settha Palace Hotel serves as testament to the long lost era of classical elegance, gracious service and French colonial charm.
Temple sites nearby:
Pha That Luang – 3.5km
Wat Sisaket – 800m
Wat Mixai – 1km
Declared “the finest hostelry East of Suez” by John Murray in his Handbook for Travellers written in the early 20th century, the 1901-built three storey 5 star hotel in Yangon remains one of Southeast Asia’s few grand hotels and one of its most awe inspiring.
The Siam is the newest addition to, and crown jewel of, the growing portfolio of independently owned and operated properties that make up Sukosol Hotels. The Siam spirit is to create a luxury experience embracing every moment and every individual with sincerity and integrity and a passion for service.
Temple sites nearby:
Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing – 11km
Wat Arun – 8km
Wat Pho – 6km
Located in the heart of Yogyakarta, near the popular Malioboro district, the historic Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta, a member of theMgallery Collection, is a colonial landmark dating back to 1918. With 144 elegant rooms and suites, each boasting a balcony and a fusion of Asian and European décor, The Phoenix Hotel features a restaurant, wine bar and terrace bar overlooking an open courtyard. An inviting swimming pool, indulgent day spa and modern conferencing facilities complete the exclusive experience.
There are so many options for tours around the countries featured in our Golden Lands Buddhist architecture book: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. All the big international companies offer readymade tours for a range of budgets, but for each country there are also more specialized and local tours available, if you search a bit deeper. There are also tour companies offering packages for adventure travel, culture, diving, pilgrimage, and rail journeys.
To help you discover some of the best options for SE Asia travel, we’ve researched and put together a mind map of the tour companies.
The following image is a preview of our mind map, and see the link below for the full web page.
Some of the tour companies have Twitter accounts, and we’ve gathered the ones which are more focused on these particular countries (not big generalists) into a Twitter list of Southeast Asia Tour Companies here, so you can subscribe to all their feeds with one click.
The first ever art historical survey focusing comprehensively on the Architecture of the Buddhist World