The Roluos Group of Temples in Angkor, Cambodia

When we finally made it to Siem Reap to visit the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, I had no idea where to start. Should we do what most people do and just head straight to Angkor Wat? Should we visit Ta Phrom, Banteay Srei or some of the lesser visited temples first? I spent a while tossing up between the options, and in the end decided that we should start where Angkor itself started. We decided to visit the Roluos Group of Temples – some of the oldest in the region, dating back to the 9th century.

The three temples that make up the Roluos Group are all that remains of Hariharalaya – the first capital city of the Khmer Empire in the Angkor region. We started with Preah Ko – the first temple to be built in the city.

Preah Ko Temple in Angkor, Cambodia

The towers of Preah Ko

Statue at Preah Ko in Angkor, Cambodia

A statue at Preah Ko

Carvings at Preah Ko in Angkor, Cambodia

Carvings on one of the towers at Preah Ko

Ruins at Preah Ko in Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins at Preah Ko

Next we visited Bakong, which is by far the most impressive of the temples in the Roluos Group. It was built not long after Preah Ko and was the Temple Mountain of the city.

The moat surrounding Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

The moat surrounding Bakong

Temple of Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Bakong

Ruins at Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Ruins at Bakong

Ancient doorway at Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Ancient doorway at Bakong

Carvings at Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Carvings on a column in Bakong

Statues and central tower in Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Statues guarding the central tower at Bakong

Ancient carving at Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

Ancient sculpture on the central tower

Elephant statue at Bakong in Angkor, Cambodia

The remains of an elephant statue at Bakong

The final temple in the Roluos Group is Lolei, which is small in comparison to the other two temples. It really only has one tower in decent condition, which was under restoration when we visited, but the surrounding modern Buddhist temple and monastery are interesting to check out.

The monks at the monastery run a school for orphans and those families who can’t afford to send their children to school. The monks are happy to show you around and explain what they do, and I have to say that I was impressed. Obviously you can also help with donations etc.

Temple of Lolei in Angkor, Cambodia

Lolei

We made the right choice in visiting the Roluos Group first. They are certainly not as impressive as the more popular and grander temples that we saw over the next couple of days, but they were a great introduction to the magnificence of Angkor.

How to see the Roluos Group of Temples

A Tuk Tuk tour of the Roluos Group cost us $12 and obviously the entrance fees are included in the Temples of Angkor ticket. The temples are located about 13km to the east of Siem Reap, so you could certainly ride a bicycle if you really wanted to. The ride is mostly on the busy and dusty highway though, and it can get very hot, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

You only need a few hours or no more than half a day to see the three temples, so you could easily combine the trip with a visit to the stilt villages on Lake Tonle Sap, or head to the remote jungle temple of Beng Mealea.

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10 comments… add one
  • Oh impressive, very nice.. I like this. I really enjoyed reading your blog post… Keep good working.

  • nubwaxer Sep 4, 2013

    perfect symbolism for the death and decay of religion.

  • BakoymaTravels Sep 6, 2013

    When I see pictures like the one “Bakong”, I get the “whispers of history”-feeling… It’s beautiful, and I hope to see it someday… But do you think I will have the chance to see it without swarms of tourists around me? I would love that, but sometimes it’s unavoidable :-/

    • Dean Wickham Sep 18, 2013

      Some places in Angkor are almost impossible to visit without some sort of crowd, but you can avoid the worst of the crowds at least. It’s best to visit the really popular spots as early as possible before the big tour groups arrive.

  • We also visited these temples. It’s such a fascinating complex. HUGE!

    • Dean Wickham Sep 18, 2013

      Hey Cam. I enjoyed these temples as well. Certainly very interesting.

  • Ariana Sep 25, 2013

    The temple is ancient and old but the place is surely adorable especially the photo that has the title of “the moat surrounding Bakong”.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 10, 2013

      Hi Ariana. Bakong is a very picturesque temple. It was my favourite in the group.

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