If you are only in Siem Reap for a few days, it is difficult to visit all the wonderful pagodas that are on offer. However, if you are staying in Siem Reap for an extended period of time, it is beneficial to hop on a bicycle and explore the numerous pagodas that are spread across the villages in Siem Reap.
These pagodas normally feature Buddha images, stupas, artefacts, eating areas, prayer rooms and living areas for Monks. They do not cost any money to enter, though you may want to take small riel to make offerings.
When visiting any pagoda, it is important to remember the following rules:
- Greet Monks with your hands together in front of your face
- If you are in the presence of older Monks, you should also bow slightly to show respect
- Avoid pointing the soles of your feet or fingers towards Buddha statues or Monks
- Do not disturb Monks during prayer or eating times
- If you are female, do not touch a Monk
- Take off your shoes before going inside any building
- Keep your hat/helmet off on the site
- Ask for permission before taking photos of anybody
- Keep your shoulders and knees covered
This is quite a small pagoda. A new temple is currently being built on the site, though it has taken a few years already to build, so don’t expect it to be finished anytime soon. Wat Prean is located in Chreav Village.
Wat Aranh Sangko
Located on the road to Tonle Sap, this pagoda is located next to Aranh Primary School. It is not a well-maintained pagoda, though the Apsara Authority have given the pagoda committee authorisation to renovate. It is located on a large piece of land, and you can spend a fair bit of time browsing around.
Wat Po Banteay Chey
After you have visited Wat Aranh Sangko, head on the road back to town. You will soon see Wat Po Banteay Chey on the right. This is a very impressive pagoda, with stunning paintings draping their way around the building. There is also a new, unfinished pagoda on the premises that is shaping up to be a beauty.
Once you have finished wandering around Wat Po Banteay Chey, continue heading back to town. Wat Kongmuch is the first pagoda on your right after the intersection, with identical statues lining the entrance. The ceremony hall is verging on dilapidated, though you can tell that once it was a gorgeous building, with many details paintings depicting the Buddhist religion.
The final stop on your journey is Wat Svay. You can get here by heading straight on the road back to down. It is situated next to a public school. This pagoda is relatively new, and you will love the flowers and decorations they have on offer here. Be careful of the dogs at the back however; they don’t take kindly to strangers!