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Angkor National Museum (Khmer: សារះមន្ទីរជាតិអង្ករ) was an fantastic experience. The museum was opened in November 2007, and its freshly painted, shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-con alternative to visiting the temples themselves, and a nice educational supplement to the history…
The Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap we believe is an absolute must and one of the most interesting of all the Siem Reap attractions, particularly for any archaeological enthusiasts or those with a special interest in the Angkor Temples. With what are acclaimed as being the most incredible ancient religious monuments of any in the world simply a few kilometers away, it’s not surprising that the excellent historical artefacts on display within this 20,000 square meter museum will captivate both enthusiasts and your casual visitor alike. Although visitors will find the Angkor Temples in a remarkably well preserved state despite their ancient existence, over the years they have faced inevitable continual decay, but the benefit of this has been that historians, architects and archaeologists alike have been able to use these remnants to continue research into the
Angkor Civilization and display these findings along with the remnants themselves here at the museum.
The Museum houses 8 galleries, all of which combine to give an impressive array of artefacts which date back to the earliest civilisations of Angkor. Remnants from the great temples themselves, statues as well as artefacts which depict scenes in history concerning war, religion, and all manner of social customs throughout the evolution of the unique Khmer civilization can be found.
How much does a visit cost?
For tourists the price of a single visit is US 12, and for Cambodians US 3. Special discounts can be arranged for tour groups.
When should I go, and how long do I need?
Open 7 days a week from 8.30am until 6.30pm, you can anytime during these hours. We’d recommend allowing at least an hour to see all the museum.
The museum is located on the Charles de Gaulle Road (main road leading toward the Angkor Temples) just in front of Grand Raffles Hotel near the center of town.
What to See
After an explanatory film screening called Story behind the legend, you’re pointed toward the galleries:
- 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.