WIth its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, Cambodia is a popular travel photography destination. My trip there in 2016 took me to Siem Reap – home to the famous Angkor Wat Temple – one of the largest religious monuments in the world that offers breathtaking architectural and cultural photography opportunities. Siem Reap also offers a variety of rural landscapes, including rice paddies and traditional floating villages, that are perfect for capturing the essence of Cambodia. This nation offers an abundance of subjects for photographers looking to capture the beauty and diversity of Southeast Asia.
Viewing Angkor Wat at sunrise is a popular activity among visitors, as the early morning light creates a magical atmosphere and provides a unique perspective on the temple’s beauty. Visitors typically gather in the main courtyard before sunrise to watch the sky change color and to capture the first rays of light as they illuminate the temple’s intricate carvings and towers. The sunrise experience at Angkor Wat is considered a highlight of any trip to Siem Reap and is highly recommended for all photographers and temple enthusiasts.
The Bayon Temple is another iconic temple located in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was built in the late 12th century and is famous for its massive stone faces, each with a serene smile, which are carved into the temple’s towers. The faces are said to represent the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and are a unique feature not found at other temples in the park.
For photographers, the Bayon Temple offers a variety of interesting angles and perspectives to capture, from its massive towers to its intricate carvings and bas-reliefs. The temple’s many passageways and galleries also provide opportunities for abstract and experimental photography. Additionally, the Bayon Temple is well known for its peaceful atmosphere and is a popular place to sit and relax while taking in the beauty of the surrounding jungle and countryside. Overall, the Bayon Temple is a must-see destination for any photographer visiting Siem Reap and the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Ta Prohm is a temple complex located in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was built in the late 12th century and is famous for its distinctive overgrown state, with giant trees growing out of the temple’s walls and roofs. This unique combination of ancient stone structures and lush jungle vegetation has earned Ta Prohm the nickname “the temple where nature has taken over”.
Ta Prohm is referred to as the “Tomb Raider” temple due to its appearance in the 2001 film “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”. In the film, the temple was used as a filming location for one of the movie’s key scenes, and its distinctive overgrown state and combination of ancient stone structures and lush jungle vegetation created a unique and memorable backdrop for the action.
Preah Khan located in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia was built in the late 12th century and was originally used as a Buddhist monastery and university. It is known for its sprawling layout and intricate carvings, including detailed scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as Buddhist themes and motifs.
For photographers, Preah Khan offers a variety of interesting subjects, including its massive central sanctuary, beautiful courtyards, and lush jungle surroundings. The temple’s overgrown state and dense vegetation also provide opportunities for capturing the interplay between the ancient stone structures and the surrounding jungle. Visitors can explore the temple’s many passageways and galleries, where they will find intricate carvings and well-preserved sculptures.
The Terrace of Elephants is a long, narrow platform that was used for royal audiences and other important events during the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. It is located in the Angkor Thom complex in Siem Reap and is one of the most recognizable and iconic features of the temple complex.