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Seek Out the Scenes of Classic Movies While Discovering Angkor Wat

Let's admit it, we all (day)dream about being heroes. We may do so by identifying ourselves with Lara Croft, Indiana Jones, or some other movie hero. The surroundings of Angkor Wat, one of the world's top attractions, are where we can jump in their shoes since the filming of many classic movies took place there.

It isn't a chance that both tourists and directors like the Angkor Archaeological Park. There, it is all too easy to find yourself immersed in a blockbuster and recapitulate its plot.

Are you a fan of Tomb Raider, Transformers, or Two Brothers? If you are, don't miss the following attractions while visiting the Angkor Wat in Cambodia:

Transformers: Time Travel in Angkor Thom


Angkor Thom (Great City) used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire. As the military and religious center of the empire, it boasted grand structures, some of which remained preserved. The royalty had the residence within the enclosed city, too.

Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire

Several meters high walls protected the perfectly proportioned city. Also, the moats, probably infested with crocodiles, encircled the Angkor Thom from the outside.

Records mention that certain structures of the Great City existed as early as the 10th century. However, Jayavarman VII, one of the most illustrious Khmer emperors, commissioned many of them by the end of the 12th century. Bayon and Preah Khan are some additions from that time.

Transformers scene relations

Fans of Transformers, the third part to be precise, are sure to find evocative spots around the South Gate. If you happen to be one of them, you won't miss the spot related to the Decepticons.

Transformers location
Transformers location

If you need a little help, try to recall the part in which the Decepticons decided that they hibernated long enough. The place you are after is the one where they emerged from the underground to terrorize the world.

Angkor Thom Highlights

The described scene isn't the only thing making the Angkor Thom famous.

Devoted to Shiva, the Baphuon is a tall structure originated in the 11th century. Its carvings illustrate the scenes of everyday life.

The Bauphon is devoted to Shiva
The Bauphon is devoted to Shiva

North of the Bauphon, you will find the Phimean Akas - Aerial Palace. A legend states that a king had to sleep with a serpent-spirit disguised as a woman that lived in the Phimean Akas. To avoid premature death, he had to visit the spirit every night.

Terrace of the Leper King was possibly a royal crematorium. Opinions about what the related statue represents diverge. One popular theory states that it is a representation of a king who suffered from leprosy. The other states that it is the god of death.

The Leper King
The Leper King

Tomb Raider: Explore Mysteries at Bayon

History of Bayon

Of course, visiting Angkor Thom can't be complete without admiring Bayon.

Commissioned by Jayavarman VII, this masterpiece emerged into the bright sunlight at the turn of the 12th century. Nearby Angkor Wat was built about a century earlier.

Visiting Angkor Thom and admiring Bayon
Visiting Angkor Thom and admiring Bayon

Bayon played a central role during the reign of the great monarch. It used to be the state temple of this Buddhism-oriented emperor. Nevertheless, the grand temple also incorporates the elements of Hinduism, whose influences often overlapped with those of Buddhism in history.

Bayon movie scenes

Maybe raiding tombs isn't something you would consider doing. But, being a tomb raider, especially if you are a fan of Lara Croft, is perfectly acceptable when visiting Bayon. Find the temple in the center of the Great City, just north of Angkor Wat.

Tomb raider movie scenes
Tomb raider movie scenes

Various Tomb Raider scenes took place in the Angkor Archaeological Park. However, the one we are talking about right now is when Lara Croft gets her bearings from Land Rover around smiling towers.

Your Tomb Raider journey doesn't need to end here. For more of Miss Lara's adventures, make sure to visit Ta Prohm. To get there, head a few kilometers to the east from Bayon.


Standing in the center of Angkor Thom, Bayon is a personification of the intersection of heaven and earth. Pay attention to enigmatic smiles of carved figures that adorn the 1.2-km long walls. Because of them, Bayon boasts the "Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia" epithet.

Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia
Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia

Within the temple complex, you will find three enclosures and around 50 towers. Mythical beings, such as hybrid Nagas (half-humans, half-snakes), and lions stand guard at certain places.

Elsewhere, you can examine historical scenes, such as the battle between the Khmers and their Cham adversaries. Finally, acquaint yourself with Hindu deities (Vishnu and Shiva) and other mythological beings, such as Apsaras and Garuda.

Visit Bayon mythical statue
Visit Bayon mythical statue

Once you have done exploring Bayon and evoking Tomb Raider scenes, climb the hill between the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Phnom Bakheng is among the best sunset spots in the archaeological park.

In the Mood for Love: Discover Secrets of Angkor Wat

History of the Temple

Angkor Wat is the UNESCO site and the largest religious complex in the world. Emperor Suryavarman II, during whose reign (1113 - 1150) the Khmer Empire reached its pinnacle, is its commissioner. The emperor, who worshipped Hindu deities, dedicated Angkor Wat to Vishnu.

Angkor Wat is the UNESCO site
Angkor Wat is the UNESCO site

However, the fate of the temple was to become a Buddhist place of worship in the forthcoming centuries. It served that purpose until the 19th century, when it ceased to be an operating temple.

Today, Angkor Wat is one of the top attractions of Southeast Asia and the world.

Scenes from the In the Mood for Love movie

People who watched "In the Mood for Love" can hardly forget a few final scenes of the movie. One of them is a monologue of the main protagonist into a stone wall's hole. Others introduce the grandeur of the striking complex's design.

Scenes from the In the Mood for Love movie
Scenes from the In the Mood for Love movie

After your visit, you are sure to agree that as timeless the scenes are, so is Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Highlights

One of the four wonders of the Ancient East occupies a square island surrounded by moats. If you pay attention to Angkor Wat's orientation, you will realize that it faces West, unlike other temples.

Naga creatures are guardians of the underworld. This, combined with the orientation of the temple, suggests that the site might be Suryavarman II's tomb.

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat symbolizes Mount Meru, the spiritual, physical, and metaphysical center of Hinduism. The temple's five towers are the mount's five peaks. The encircling moat is the personification of the oceans surrounding Mount Meru.

As you explore, examine statues and bas-reliefs introducing Hindu deities. Among other representations, you will see scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics.

Angkor Wat towers
Angkor Wat towers

Finally, pay attention to the three levels of the Angkor Wat. Each next is progressively smaller and taller than the previous.

Two Brothers: Sightsee ruins of Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea History

The exact time of Beng Mealea's origins remains elusive. However, the architectural style of the "Lotus Pond" suggests that Suryavarman II could be its commissioner.

Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea

Certain indications point out that the Beng Mealea might have been a prototype for the construction of Angkor Wat. Its floor plan, which is similar to the grand temple's, is a foundation for such a claim.

Two Brothers scenes

There's no doubt that Indiana Jones will be your first association upon approaching the Lotus Pond, and rightly so. However, it's the Two Brothers movie, whose main protagonists are tigers Kumal and Sangha, that introduces the Beng Mealea in some scenes.

Two Brothers scenes
Two Brothers scenes

It is the temple overgrown with forest. One of the related scenes even introduces an immense tree whose enormous roots grab the stone walls. Rings a bell, right?

Highlights of the Lotus Pond

You will find the temple on the route to Koh Ker, some 60km away from Angkor Wat. The complex features Hindu and Buddhist motifs, representations of Nagas and other curious beings.

The biggest impression, however, would be jungle vegetation dominating over the walls and heaps of rocks. Thankfully, you can facilitate your exploration by using ramps that the moviemakers forgot to take with them.

How to have a smooth trip at Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat and other temples of the archaeological park abound with carvings, bas-reliefs, and other artwork. There is so much for interpretation there, so you should consider hiring a professional guide to make the most of your visit.

There are various transport options you can use to get to nearby and remote temples. Bikes, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, and cars are among the most convenient options for different reasons.

Trip at Angkor Wat
Consider hiring a professional guide to trip at Angkor Wat

If you are in the area during the dry season (dusty roads) or head to remote temples, a car is the best solution.

Since the area around the Angkor Wat is forested, bring a mosquito repellent. Finally, wear long pants and shirts that cover shoulders that allow the airflow while you are around. Any type of cloth that reveals too much is considered inappropriate.


A big part of the Angkor Archaeological Park's artwork relates to Ramayana and Mahabharata. Therefore, you should have a certain knowledge of these iconic Hindu epics.

Also, do a bit of research about the Khmer Empire. And, of course, watch the classic movies we have mentioned, if you haven't already.
>>Check for more about tops things to do in Siem Reap.

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