Believed to have been built during King Suryavarman II’s reign in the first half of the 12th century, Wat Athvea (Prasat Vat Althea) is one of several Hindu temples around Siem Reap that remain shrouded in mystery. Less visited than the nearby temples of Angkor, it’s a worthwhile detour for those looking to escape the crowds. The Basics
Far from the crowds of Angkor, Wat Athvea is a popular stop on bike tours from Siem Reap and cruises around Tonle Sap. Visitors come to admire the historic temple, with its well-preserved towers and devata, or receive a water blessing from one of the resident monks at the neighboring Athvea monastery. Entrance is included with an Angkor Pass, making it a good choice for those purchasing a multi-day pass. Things to Know Before You Go
- An Angkor Pass is required to visit the ruins of Wat Athvea, but the monastery buildings can be visited without a pass.
- There are few visitor facilities at the temple, so bring your own food and water.
- The temple site is wheelchair-accessible, but some areas may be off-limits due to uneven terrain.
How to Get There
Wat Athvea is located around 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) south of Siem Reap, just off the main road toward Tonle Sap. There’s no public transport to reach the temple, but it’s possible to take a taxi or tuk-tuk or to cycle from the town. When to Get There
Visitors looking for a peaceful place to take photos without the crowds can easily do so at Wat Athvea, particularly in the late afternoon, when it’s at its quietest.Escaping the Crowds in Siem Reap
Wat Athvea isn’t the only place to escape the tourist trail—there are a number of other impressive temples to discover outside the main Angkor Archaeological Park, and some are included in the Angkor Pass. Options include the ancient Khmer capital of Koh Ker, the four Angkor-era temples of Roluos, the “Lady Temple” of Banteay Srei, and Kbal Spean temple in Phnom Kulen National Park.