Phnom Bakheng

Cambodia - Angkor temples overview

Phnom Bakheng in Cambodia is known to be the first major temple to be constructed in the Angkor area, and it served as the the center of the first kingdom of Angkor. Unlike other Angkor temples, this hindu mountain temple is carved on the rock that formed a natural hill 60 meters high and its location at the top of the hill offers great views of the Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Krom, Phnom Bok, West Baray and Angkor Wat in the distance. The temple is located a mere 1.2km north of the West entrance of the Angkor Wat and 400 meters south of Angkor Thom. Phnom Bakheng Highlights include wonderful sunsets at the top of the hill, very popular amongst visitors, as well as the opportunity to ascend to the summit by elephant.

Phnom Bakheng tour notes

The distance from Siem Reap to Phnom Bakheng is 7.8 km (12 minutes by car, 16 minutes by Tuk Tuk and 50 minutes by bike). To reach the temple from the city center travel along Charles De Gaulle road until you arrive to the Angkor Wat moat, turn left and follow the road around the moat until you see Phnom Bakheng on your left. The best times of the day to visit Phnom Bakheng are early in the morning to capture the magical light of dawn, and sunset, although you should expect big crowds at this time. This Phnom Bakheng plan is helpful to explore the temple in detail.

Itinerary planning

  • Phnom Bakheng Cambodia - Srah Srang, Ta Prohm, Ta Nei, Ta Keo, Angkor Thom, South Gate, Death Gate, Victory Gate, Terrace of the Leper King, Elephant Terrace, Preah Palilay, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Bayon and sunset at Phnom Bakheng. A full day out from Siem Reap.
  • Phnom Bakheng Cambodia -Sunrise at Phnom Bakheng, and a visit to the impressive Angkor Wat before the midday heat strikes for a half day visit to the temples.


  • Phnom Bakheng. Travel around 8km from Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Phnom Bakheng temple

    Phnom Bakheng history summary

    Built on the late 9th to early 10th century, Phnom Bakheng marked the move of the Khmer empire from Roluos to Angkor. Following a terrible civil war that left the empire's capital city Hariharalaya badly damaged, King Yasorvaman I came to power in 889 AD and moved the capital city 10 miles to the northeast to start afresh. He named the new city Yasodharapura and built Bakheng as his sate temple on the top of a 60 meter high hill, as a replica of the mythical Mount Meru. The temple is dedicated to God Shiva.

    Henry Mouhot writes in 1859...

    "Steps...lead to the top of the mountain, whence is to be enjoyed a view so beautiful and extensive, that it is not surprising that these people, who have shown so much taste in their buildings, should have chosen it for a site"

    ABOUTAsia Head Guide says

    "Ascend to the summit of the hill either by foot or on top of an elephant and enjoy the view from the top to understand why King Yasorvaman I chose this place to lay the foundations of the magnificent kingdom of Angkor."

  • Cambodia travel information and Angkor Wat tour specialists ABOUTAsia are based in Siem Reap just 4km from Angkor Wat. At the heart of the organisation is a guiding research centre providing Cambodia vacation advice and industry leading tours planning.


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    Phnom Bakheng - Angkor temples guides by ABOUTAsia.