Attraction Angkor National Museum, 968 Vithei Charles de Gaulle Blvd, Siem Reap, Cambodia Published on: 13-11-2015
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Why Angkor National Museum is special ?
What to explore at Angkor National Museum?
Gallery 1: 1,000 Buddha Images
This is the only gallery that's just one large room, rather than a series of maze-like alcoves, and the sight of all these Buddhas at once is striking. Hundreds of small and miniature Buddha figurines, made of metals, jewels and wood, all individually illuminated, line the walls here, identified according to the period they were made during and where they were discovered. In the centre, life-size and larger Buddha characters are displayed. The display includes Buddhas from Banteay Kdei, Bayon, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear.
Gallery 2: Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilisation
This gallery and all the subsequent ones combine mural-size explanations and short films through maze-like rooms explaining Angkorian history. The styles of figurines precede the trademark Angkor style, and there's a large collection of lingas, lintels and colonnettes.
Gallery 3: Religion and Beliefs
This room explains several of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist religious stories and folk tales depicted on Angkorian temples, including the most memorable Churning of the Sea of Milk carved into the rear wall at Angkor Wat. Carvings of Buddhist and Hindu religious figures are concentrated here as well.
Gallery 4: The Great Khmer Kings
The gallery focuses on King Jayavarman II, Yasovarman I, Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, those most responsible for Angkor's greatest constructions. Figures of the kings and relics from the temples they commissioned abound.
Gallery 5: Angkor Wat
There's a large film gallery inside this section of the museum. It features beautiful, panoramic images of the temple and explanations of how it was constructed. There are also many restored figures from the temple itself as well as post-Angkorian wooden statues used for worship at the temple until several hundred years ago.
Gallery 6: Angkor Thom
In addition to recovered artefacts from Angkor Thom, this gallery includes a history of and artefacts from the vast irrigation projects commissioned by the king who built Angkor Thom with his smiling face looking out from every tower: Jayavarman VII.
Gallery 7: Story From Stones
This room is one of the most interesting. It's a collection of stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions. The writing on each slate is explained on placards below. The writing on them includes the declaration of the construction of a new hospital, lists of slave names, mediations of land disputes and adulations of kings and gods.
Gallery 8: Ancient Costume
From Apsaras and kings to princesses and warriors, this room contains the busts and statues of distinct fashions and styles as they evolved throughout Angkor time. There's also a collection of ancient jewellery and headdresses. It's a clever segue to the final room -- the gift shop -- where upscale imitations of these fashions abound.
- The most beautiful modern museum in Cambodia
- Great layout, excellent collection
- Nice museum worth seeing
- An interesting and Informative museum
- Cool place to embrace Angkor
Angkor National Museum, 968 Vithei Charles de Gaulle Blvd, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tips for you
Angkor National Museum may be smaller than its counterpart in Phnom Penh but it is no less amazing. The stolen bas reliefs and statues eventually returned to the country are here. Khmer and English plaques provide interesting information alongside each artefact. There are videos to watch and you can rent an audio guide. The gift shop has exquisite treasures to buy. I did feel we should be allowed to take flashless photos but we were not allowed. Postcards are reasonably priced. The tuk tuk ride from old market is cheap. He will offer to come back for you too! Try to visit the museum before temple exploration so you get a solid background to understand the temples. We used a guide for our tours but the information at this museum provided much knowledge.
Worth the visit for the hall of 1,000 Buddha statues alone. Multimedia and written history very informative.