Phnom Bakheng

The temple of Phnom Bakheng was commissioned by Yasovarman I at the end of the 9th century, more than two centuries before Angkor Wat. It holds the honor of being one of the first temple mountains constructed in the region. The temple is made up of five tiers, and seven levels in total, each of which boasted a dozen towers, of which only a few remain. The number of towers, levels, and tiers are all significant, emphasizing the role of numerology in Angkor at the time of construction.

Phnom Bakheng

View from Phnom Bakheng Photo by Robert Nyman

View from Phnom Bakheng Photo by Robert Nyman

Located on top of a hill, Phnom Bakheng is perhaps best known to visitors today for being one of the best vantage points in the whole archeological park. Just a kilometer away from Angkor Wat, the top tiers of the temple are an amazing spot to view the vast park below and take incredible photographs. At sunset, Phnom Bakheng starts to get very busy, as it is regarded as the number one spot to view the sunset over Angkor Wat. In fact, it is not unusual for tourists to get there a few hours early just to reserve an ideal spot. Whatever time you visit Phnom Bakheng, keep in mind that it is one of the few places where the dress code for Angkor Wat is strictly enforced, meaning that visitors can’t wear hats or expose their shoulders or knees.