Angkor National Museum

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Tags : Museum

Timings : May - September: 8.30 AM - 6:00 PM,
October - April: 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM

Entry Fee : Adult: USD 12,
Child under 1.2m: USD 6

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Angkor National Museum, Siem Reap Overview

Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap houses artifacts of the Khmer empire that ruled for more than seven centuries. It spreads over 20,000 square meters and is home to over 8000 relics, including many statues of Buddha and Hindu Gods.

Comprising state-of-the-art multimedia technology, this Thai-owned private gallery opened in 2007. This interactive museum is worth a visit to understand the history of the actual ruins of Angkor temples. The lintels take you on a visual journey of the Angkor site before its construction through the golden era of the Khmer dynasty, during which some of the most beautiful monuments were built. If you have limited time in the city, though, it's best to skip this to explore the ruins directly.

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Ticket details

The entry fee is $12 for foreigners. If you want an audio guide, you have to pay $3 extra. The audio guide is available in Khmer, English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Chinese and Thai languages. If you're going to use your camera within the museum, then it costs an additional $3.

Ideal time

You need at least an hour to explore the museum. It is located on the way to Angkor National Park or Angkor temples. So you can visit the museum ideally before exploring the actual ruins. Also, since it is entirely air-conditioned, you can spend a hot afternoon here to get a break from the scorching heat.

History & Significance

Angkor National Museum has an in-depth collection of thousands of artefacts and relics, which give the visitors glimpses of Angkor's culture, rich history, and art.

The Khmer empire's golden period under the reign of King Jayavarman VII is depicted in detail through the visual narratives. Some of the temporary exhibit sections are classified based on themes, where the artefacts are depicted chronologically. The permanent collections of the museum are displayed in eight huge galleries.

Museum Galleries

The exterior of the Angkor National Museum is dull, which is compensated by its air-conditioned, luxurious interiors. The eight separate galleries are connected by a common corridor lined with fountains decorated with replicas of ruins. The museum looks more like a modern-day extravagant shopping mall, with each hall intricately designed according to the themes. You'll first enter a screening hall, which showcases a film briefing the history of Angkor. In the end, you'll be directed to enter the galleries.

Of all the eight galleries, the first one called the Gallery of 1000 Buddhas is the most popular among the tourists. As the name suggests, this hall comprises of more than 1000 different images and statues of Buddha in the form of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, all illuminated. Hundreds of these statues made of metal, wood and carved stones were recovered from Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Vihear and Banteay Kdei. The life-size Buddha figurines at the centre are the most beautiful among all.

The second gallery is dedicated to Pre-Angkor period. Various large murals, statues, lintels and stone inscriptions depict the history of Khmer before the construction of world-renowned Angkor temples.

Passing through the corridor leads you to the third gallery, which includes hundreds of Bas reliefs including many Hindu and Buddhist sculptures along with several others that give a peek into the lives of common people of Khmer.

The fourth gallery is exclusively dedicated to all the kings of Khmer which include King Jayavarman VII, the greatest of all Khmer kings, Yasovarman I, Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII. You can find huge statues of the kings, along with the details of their conquests, building of temples, cities and information about their reign.

The most visually aesthetic section in the Museum, the fifth gallery is dedicated to the world famous Angkor Wat temple. A large film gallery welcomes you, displaying panoramic images of the monument, describing its construction and architectural details. Don't miss to check out a rare collection of wooden statues recovered from the temple premises, some of which were worshipped centuries ago.

The following gallery six is dedicated to the ancient capital city of Angkor Thom, which served as the administration centre of the Khmer empire for more than four centuries. You can get to know how the city became one of the richest in history. There are details about the various constructions, infrastructure projects and public works undertaken in Angkor Thom by its founder king Jayavarman VII. A subsection within this gallery contains all the relics, inscriptions, statues and lintels belonging to different monuments within Angkor Thom, most prominent being the statues of Bayon temple.

Beside this is a gallery which contains complete collections of stone inscriptions, mostly in the Sanskrit language. Below each is a placard containing the translation. The inscriptions on these stone pallets consist of some interesting things about the Khmer empire like the documentation of public works done by the kings, records of land sale, registers including the details of all slaves, and social life of Khmers.

An entire gallery is reserved for fashion during the Khmer period. It consists of royal attires, various costumes worn by the royalty, statues depicting the evolution of unique styles including headgears, ancient jewellery. You can also find beautiful statues of Apsaras, the celestial dancers that inspired the Khmers.

How to reach

The museum is located close to the town centre in Siem Reap, on Charles de Gaulle Road, which leads to Angkor temples. You can reach by walk within 20 minutes if you are staying in the centre. A one-way tuk-tuk ride to the museum costs less than $5

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