Angkor Wat: The largest religious building in the world. Awesome, stupendous; don’t miss it.
The Bayon: The enigmatic smiles of the bodhisattva follow visitors around this mysterious temple complex in the heart of Angkor Thom.
Beng Melea: Subsumed and enveloped by forest, this off-the-beaten-path complex has a special dark atmosphere, especially just after rain.
Ta Prohm: Sprawling temple compound, preserved as the French explorers of the 19th century Angkor saw it.
Banteay Srei: Marvel at the Khmer Empire’s finest carvings at this small temple just off the Angkor circuit but within easy distance of Siem Reap.
Koh Ker: Remote, forest-bound former Khmer capital and temple complex with a fascinating pyramid as its main monument. More than 100 structures deep in the forest make the journey worthwhile.
Preah Vihear: Politically controversial cliff-top temple on the Cambodian-Thai border with stupendous views over the Cambodian plains.
Banteay Chhmar: Rarely visited temple complex between Siem Reap and the Thai border, looted, overgrown, and remote enough to invoke illusions of being on an Indiana Jones–style mission.
Sambor Prei Kuk: A pre-Angkorian temple city near Kompong Thom shows the way of things that would come later.
Neak Pean: A minor ruin on the Grand Circuit, this small temple, constructed in a pond, comes into its own during and after the rainy season. A small romantic gem of a building, it’s a personal favorite.