We will be offering a museum in Siem Reap for travelers who are interested in the history and culture behind Cambodia which is the Angkor National Museum. Like we mentioned before, most of our amazing structures, landmarks, and tourist attractions are mostly located in Siem Reap. Similarly, the Angkor National Museum is no different in the aspect that it is also located in Siem Reap. Just like how every museum has its own theme, the Angkor National Museum specifically preserve and display objects from the mighty Angkorian era that have been uncovered by archaeologists.
As a result, this museum is a place to educate the younger generations and other visitors about Cambodia’s history and what was considered to be one of the most prosperous eras in Cambodia. In association with the Angkorian era, Angkor National Museum established its logo with a dragon or “នាគ” symbol which refers to royalty and is mostly associated with many ancient Cambodian artifacts. As a result, this is easily identified by many people.
Ultimate Guide to Angkor National Museum
Angkor National Museum Overview
The Angkor National Museum was founded and opened in 2007, which is almost 12 years ago. With its convenient location in Siem Reap, Angkor National Museum is surrounded by all the amazing temples. Therefore, travelers can visit Siem Reap and see all these temples as well as Angkor National Museum.
In addition, the purpose of this museum is to provide visitors with a first-class and eye-opening experience of the great Khmer empire. They aim to be the first museum that is advanced and display the stories and legends of our past. At the museum, the creators aim to create a relaxing and calming atmosphere for the visitors. Even though the creators want to showcase the past, the building and architecture is very modernized but still have a classic Cambodian twist to it.
As a result, it is very well preserved and new that it feels like we are being transported to the Angkorian era and actually living through past events with these artifacts and objects. Not only does it contain the museum, but also a mall that sells souvenirs and other crafts you can bring home.
Inside the museum, the building hosts many arts but also several halls that display different things. As well as a theater hall that is used for orientation purposes to introduce visitors to the different sections of the museum and get them used to the do’s and don’ts when visiting the Angkor National Museum. Oh, and one tip, there is an audio translator that is available to help with the language barrier! Be sure to ask for it so that you don’t miss any important information.
Angkor National Museum Information
- Location: No. 968, Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum 6, Phoum Salakanseng, Khom Svaydangum, Siem Reap District, Siem Reap Province, Kingdom of Cambodia
- Telephone: 855 (0)63 966 601
- Fax: 855 (0)63 966 600
- E-mail: [email protected]
- For Group Reservation: [email protected]
- Price: 15 USD (cheaper if you book ahead of visit)
- How to get there? Bus, tuk-tuk and Grab.
- Operating Hours: 9 am to 8 pm
Ticket price to Angkor National Museum
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What is inside the Museum?
Firstly, Angkor National Museum contains nine galleries all of which are named and sectioned based on its types. We will be mentioning all of these nine galleries individually and go into depth about the highlighted artifacts in the following paragraphs below:
First and foremost, the briefing hall is a theatre that visitors can sit and view information regarding the museum and its facilities. Likewise, it can be considered as orientation and takes up only 15 minutes in addition to having scheduled showtimes at all times of the day. Of course, this orientation is available in several languages for the viewers’ comfort and ease of understanding.
Exclusive Gallery: 1,000 Buddha Image
The first gallery that everyone should visit is the Exclusive Gallery that contains the 1,000 Buddha image. As most of you might know, religion has always and will always be a big part of our daily lives. Buddhism and Cambodia have a long history together, dating back to prehistoric times and continuing to the present day. Therefore, it is unacceptable if the Angkor National Museum does not pay patriots to our religion. Inside the exclusive gallery, 1,000 Buddha statues and artifacts are put on display, creating a harmonious and inspiring display of our religion. Just like Hong Kong got the Big Buddha statue, Siem Reap has its own collection of a thousand Buddha statues.
Gallery A: Khmer Civilization
The creation of the Khmer civilization has been and will always be a mystery to many people around the world. With Gallery A, it helps to show the driving force behind the creation of the Khmer empire and how it was established. In addition, this gallery informs visitors of what led to the construction of one of the world’s wonders and how ancient civilizations were able to do it. As a matter of fact, Gallery A also tells the stories of great and wise kings of the past and why people followed them. Above all, it also highlights the stories and folklore of historic wars and the past. For sure, this gallery is a must for those of you who seek to understand and have a deeper connection to ancient Cambodian history and how we came to be.
Gallery B: Religion and Beliefs
Have you ever heard of the phrase “Enter a country and follow its traditions?”. Well to be able to understand our culture and way of life, visitors need to be acquainted with our religion and what influences the way of life of ancient Angkorian. In fact, this second gallery helps to show and open visitors’ eyes to how our religion influences our daily routine such as our beliefs. To do this, the gallery display artifacts that are related to famous folklore and fairytale that have been passed down from decade to decade. In addition, it ranges from our gods, faith and shows us how it ties to the way we write, sculpt and create infrastructure.
Gallery C: Great Khmer Kings
Whereas the previous galleries displayed relics that are related to the external influences of ancient Cambodia, Gallery C focuses heavily on the history behind kings that are responsible and contributes to help the Khmer empire to become the biggest ancient civilization. Angkor National Museum’s Great Khmer Kings gallery displays the stories of four famous kings: King Jayavarman II, King Yasovarman I, King Suryavarman II and King Jayavarman VII. The reason for displaying specifically about these four kings is because of their contributions.
King Jayavarman II (ជ័យវរ្ម័នទី២) was a ninth-century king who was the founder of the Angkor civilization. He was responsible for reuniting two kingdoms of Chenla during 802-850 C.E.
Secondly, King Yasovarman I (ព្រះបាទយសោវរ្ម័នទី១) was the son of King Indravarman who reigned from C. 890 – C. 910. He moved the capital city and established Angkor as the new capital city between 889-900 C.E. The Angkor then went on to become very well-known and even celebrated as one of the world’s historical sites.
Thirdly, King Suryavarman II (សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី២) ruled from 1113 AD to 1145-1150 AD, was well-known for being the creator and main contributor of the great Angkor Wat. On top of it, King Suryavarman II created the Angkor Wat as a dedication to the Hindu god, Visnu.
Finally, King Jayavarman VII (ជ័យវរ្ម័នទី៧) is considered to be the most influential and powerful king in Angkorian history for his extensive expansion ability and his construction of over one hundred roadside buildings and hospitals as well as temples such as the Ta Prohm as a dedication to his mother and Preah Khan as dedication to his father. In addition, he also constructs the city of Angkor Thom.
Gallery D: Angkor Wat
Angkor National Museum also contains a gallery that is specifically dedicated to the famous Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II during the 12th century. It has been regarded as heaven on earth thanks to its structure and architecture. What baffles many people is its brilliant engineering that is far more advanced than possible for a civilization that is so old. This gallery contains a model of the entire Angkor Wat which is put on display for people to admire and gaze upon. For instance, it illustrates how and why the Angkor Wat came into existence as well as the equinox phenomenon that is related to it. Lastly, it also shows us the history and concepts behind the creation of this stunning temple.
Gallery E: Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom was the last established capital city of the Angkor empire which was established by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. The exhibit displays the construction and expansion of Angkor Thom as well as the change in religion and faith that comes along with it. It shows a chronology of how public utilities were built and shows how the change of religion is reflected in the art and sculptures that are displayed in this particular gallery.
Gallery F: Stone from Stone
Just like how Ancient Egyptian inscribed and write down events on their scribe, ancient Angkorian also write about important events on stone sculptures and slabs. These are then left behind and discovered by the Angkor National Museum which then preserves and translates it into common present Khmer. In a way, it also serves as a preservation of our ancient language and serves as evidence that our ancestors have participated and witness important events. Moreover, it helps us to learn more about how our language was used before in the past.
Gallery G: Ancient Costume
Lastly, Gallery G consists of statues of gods, goddesses and Apsara dancers adorned with traditional clothing and accessories. This is left as evidence of the way people dressed in the past and what they wear as well as how different costumes differentiate the class and difference of each social class. Therefore, these statues do help us have a deeper understanding of what fashion was like back in the good old days.
Now that we have highlighted and gone into depth about the galleries in the Angkor National Museum, we will move onto the next section which is the Museum Shop. This is where visitors can buy souvenirs and little trinkets that relate to Cambodia. There are many things such as the Phra Visa Nu dolls, Angkor National Museum signature polo shirt, Naga-designed fan, silk scarves, and bags. To summarize, there are many objects available for sale that is interesting and serves as good souvenirs for your loved ones at home, so be sure to check it out!
Sumedha Hermit is a statue of Sumedha hermit lying face down with both arms straight out forward in a respecting position. Judging by the style of the sculpture and decoration, the statue belongs to the Bayon style. In addition, the statue represents one of the previous lives of Gautama Buddha, where he acted as a bridge for the Dipankara Buddha when the passageway from Sudassanna monastery to Amaravati. Due to the incomplete road, Sumedha requested that Dipankara Buddha step onto his body instead of stepping into the mud below. As a result, Dipankara Buddha predicted after a long period of time, Sumedha will become the Buddha.
- Location: Exclusive Gallery of 1,000 Buddha Image
- Period: Late 12th to early 13th century of the Angkorian period
- Style: Bayon
- Origin: Phnom Veak, Siem Reap
Meditating Buddha Sheltered by Naga
This statue of “Meditating Buddha Sheltered by Naga” is a visual and physical depiction of the event that happened when historical Buddha was meditating to attain full enlightenment. During that time, a horrible thunderstorm hit and the serpent king, Muchalinda had used his hood to act as a sheltered for Buddha. Together with hands folded up in a praying posture and a serene facial expression, Buddha and Muchalinda faced the storm. Therefore, the hood of Muchalinda depicts the endless cycle of life from birth to death.
Location: Exclusive Gallery of 1,000 Buddha Image
Period: Late 12th century to early 13th century of Angkorian Period
Vishnu is a god in Hinduism that is considered to be the protector and savior of earth. After you have seen the statue, you will see that although Vishnu has one head, he has four arms holding four elements that represent different things. Here you can see that he is holding Chakra, Conch Shell, the ball and the mace. These all represent the four elements: Earth, wind, water and fire.
- Location: Gallery A: Khmer Civilization
- Period: 7th-century pre-Angkorian period
- Style: Sambor Prei Kuk
- Origin: Kampong Speu
Lord Ganesha is also known as Ganapati and is worshipped as the God of removing obstacles. This means that he can remove any obstacles he wants to and his statue shows it all. As you can see, Ganesha is sitting on a throne that is the Bandicoot rat which shows that he is able to overcome all hardships as generally, elephants are afraid of mice. However, there are many legends and myths as to how he has the head of an elephant and body of a human. Some of the legends said that his head was cut off and then replaced with the head of an elephant and some said that he was born from the dirt and oil scrubbed off the body of Parvati who is the consort of Shiva.
- Location: Gallery B: Religion and Beliefs
- Period: Late 12th century to early 13th century of Angkorian Period
- Style: Bayon
- Origin: Preah Khan Temple, Siem Reap
Lintel – Angkor National Museum
A lintel is a type of Khmer architecture that is carved onto a rectangular slab with refined carvings and technique. The inscriptions that are carved into the lintel has two styles which is the pre-Angkorian era and Angkorian era. In addition, it typically illustrates scenes of events and nature as well as considered to be a piece of tangible record of what happened in the past. However, the lintel that is displayed in the Angkor National Museum is in Banteay Srei style and we could tell because the carvings are more delicate and fluid showing a mastery of the craft. In addition, it also reflects the religion that was dominant at the time which is Hinduism and Shivaism. We have seen that the lintel in Angkor National Museum is used from a reddish-pink sandstone which is quite common for sculpture from that period in history.
- Location: Gallery C: Great Khmer Kings
- Period: End of the 10th century of the Angkorian Period
- Style: Banteay Srei Style
- Origin: Unknown
Similar to Prajnaparamita, Lokesvara is worshipped as a god in Mahayana Buddhism. His statue was found in the ruins of the Beng Mealea Temple that was constructed by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. The statue is sculpted to be in a sitting position with a serene and calm facial expression. In addition, admirers and visitors can start to notice the style of the crafter as it is leaning towards Hindu style which is common as, during the Angkor period, our country has shifted from Hinduism to Buddhism.
- Location: Gallery D: Angkor Wat
- Period: 12th century of Angkorian Period
- Style: Angkor Wat
- Origin: Beng Mealea Temple, Siem Reap
Prajnaparamita – Angkor National Museum
Prajnaparamita literally translates to the perfection of wisdom and is widely revered as the great mother. In contrast to the previous, Prajnaparamita is a female goddess that is in Mahayana Buddhism. She was always depicted as a royal lady in the possession of a lotus flower. Therefore, you can see the statue of Prajnaparamita kneeling as she is honored by ancient Cambodian.
- Location: Gallery E: Angkor Thom
- Period: Late 12th to early 13th century of the Angkorian period
- Style: Bayon Style
- Origin: Preah Khan Temple, Siem Reap
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After a thorough description of the Angkor National Museum and all the objects and items that it displays. As well as all the legends and association with everything, you definitely must visit this museum. In addition, not only is the location convenient, you can kill two birds with one stone. Because not only do you get to visit Angkor Wat and all the majestic temples but also get to visit the Angkor National Museum.
Not only will you have fun on this museum trip, but you will get to know about the different carving techniques that were used based on the period of time and the religion the country has adopted. For example, the pre-Angkorian period’s style usually includes Phnom Da, Sambor Prei Kuk, Prei Kmeng, Prasat Andet, and Kampong Preah style. Whereas, the Angkorian period brings on a whole different set of styles such as Preah Ko, Bakheng, Koh Ker, Pre Rup, and Banteay Srei style.
On the bright side, you only have to make one trip and you get to have the most in-depth knowledge of Cambodia and its culture. We have marked Angkor National Museum as one of the places to visit this holiday and you should too! Finally, see you soon and hopefully, you can share stories of your travels to Angkor National Museum with our team and let’s meet again soon! Check out their official website for more!