Cambodia may have a history peppered with violence and war, but during its prime era, it also produced some of the most beautiful temples and landmarks that have thankfully (for the most part) stood the test of time.
This beautiful Hindu temple located in the Angkor region is shaped in the form of a temple mountain. This popular tourist spot was dedicated to Shiva and now acts as the best spot to watch the sunset. You can also grab perfect shots of the vast landscape views surrounding the “mountain,” especially if you love taking panorama shots.
If you love the Tomb Raider movie, when visiting the Phnom Bakheng you may feel as though you have seen a particular view before. In the movie a view of the Angkor Wat from atop Phnom Bakheng is seen through the binoculars of Angelina Jolie’s character Lara Croft, upon arrival in Cambodia.
This temple will offer a 2-for-1 for photographers: the beautiful stonework of the temple is a popular subject for many photographers, and for breathtaking landscape views of the surrounding area, simply head to the upper terrace.
You’ll want to climb to the top terrace right around dusk when the lighting is warm, the sun is sinking, and the light is playing along the reflective surfaces of the decorative water pools.
If you prefer to focus on the temple itself, take a look at the popular, distinctive feature: the massive stone faces on the many towers that jut out from the upper terrace. The temple boasts a couple sets of impressive bas reliefs for the Art History enthusiasts and don’t forget to enjoy the greenery around the temple.
Ankor Wat is Cambodia’s star attraction and you’ll soon see why it is one of the world’s most photographed sites. Ankor Wat is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. You will notice here that Angkor Wat combines two different plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain like that of Phnom Bakheng, and galleried temple, such as the one seen at Bayon. This “temple city” is a very popular spot for tourists, especially around sunrise. If you want to gather good photographs, you may want to get up very early and get to the temple or try photos at sunset. Just expect to have patience as you will likely have to work around the tourists.
Tomb Raider fans, Cambodia has another hot spot just for you! Ta Prohm is the temple filmed in the tomb raider film due to its decent condition that has remained the same way that it was found in the 12th century. You’ll love capturing the beautiful architecture of the temple with tress growing out of the ruins.
If you are all “templed” out and want to get back to the people of Cambodia and really capture the magic of the residents, head to Artisans Angkor. This trade school for disadvantaged Cambodians allows you to capture photos of artisans at work creating authentic goods like ornamental silver-plate boxes and beautiful silk scarves that are for sale in the school’s shop. After that take a walk along the streets and capture photos of the happy people of Cambodia.
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Image courtesy of Flickr user Steve Cornish