Pre Rup, built by Rajendravarman II, is about 1km south of the Eastern Mebon and is a popular spot for sunset. The temple consists of a pyramid-shaped temple-mountain with the uppermost of the three tiers carrying five lotus towers. Pre Rup means ‘Turning the Body’ and refers to a traditional method of cremation in which a corpse’s outline is traced in the cinders: this suggests that the temple may have served as an early royal crematorium.

The brick sanctuaries here were once decorated with a plaster coating, fragments of which remain on the southwestern tower; there are some amazingly detailed lintel carvings here. Several of the outermost eastern towers are perilously close to collapse and are propped up by an army of wooden supports.

Pre Rup is one of the most popular sunset spots around Angkor, as the view over the surrounding rice fields of the Eastern Baray is beautiful, although some lofty trees have rather obscured it these days. It gets pretty crowded. 

Pre Rup Overview

The boldness of the architectural design of Pre Rup is superb and give the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. The temple is almost identical in style to the East Mebon, although it was built several yeas later. It is the last real 'temple-mountain ' Pre Rup was called the 'City of the East ' by Philippe Stern, a Frenchman who worked on the site.

The Cambodians have always regarded this temple as having funerary associations, but reason is unknown. The name Pre Rup recalls one of the rituals of cremation in which the silhouette of the body of the deceased, outlined with its ashes, is successively represented according to different orientations, Some archaeologists believe that the large vat located at the base of the east stairway to the central area was used at cremations.

Below is the glimpse of Pre Rup Temple in 360o viewing:

Pre Rup Sunset

Pre Rup is the second of the two temples open until 7 pm for sunset. Similar to Phnom Bakheng, you don’t actually need to go inside of the temple to see the sunset, but I think it would be better if you did.

The sun sets right in between the front two towers at Pre Rup temple, which means you get a pretty sweet view just standing outside by the road. But Pre Rup is one of the taller temples at Angkor Wat, so if you go inside and climb to the top of the temple, you’ll have another awesome view of the sun setting over the jungles of Cambodia.

Pre Rup is a bit further away from town than Phnom Bakheng, so make sure you leave time to get there. The temple is located 14 kilometers away from Siem Reap on the large circuit loop. To get there, turn right when you hit Angkor Wat and follow the large circuit loop past Srah Srang to Pre Rup.

What to see at Pre Rup?

Stepped pyramid representing Mount Meru

Its architectural style is very similar to that of the earlier East Mebon, the major difference being the stepped pyramid of the Pre Rup that is missing in the East Mebon temple. The laterite and brick structure represents the five mountain peaks of the sacred mountain Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu mythology.

An inscription in the temple mentions that the five prangs were dedicated to Shiva (central tower and one of the surrounding towers), Vishnu, Parvati (the consort of Shiva) and Lakshmi (the consort of Vishnu).
The temple used to be surrounded by moats. There are two enclosures, each with a gopura entrance gate at the center of each side. Between the outer and inner enclosure were long halls of which not much remains today. They were a predecessor of the galleries seen in later temples.

6 large towers to the East

Most striking feature of the Pre Rup temple are the three large towers on either side of the Eastern entrance, the main entrance of the temple. The first tower to the right of the entrance is missing, although the base is there. The tower was either never build or demolished and the stones used elsewhere later. The towers were probably build later during the reign of the next King, King Jayavarman V.

The central tower contains a sanctuary room. The lintels contain Indra riding the elephant Airavata, Vishnu on Garuda (a large mythological bird, the mount of Vishnu) and other depictions.

Inner enclosure

Just past the Eastern gate of the inner enclosure are two large libraries, one on each side of the entrance that probably contained Hindu statues. Between the two libraries is a three meter long structure, that likely served as a pediment for a statue, possibly of Nandi, the sacred bull and mount of Shiva. In the North East corner of the inner enclosure is a small laterite building that has been restored.

Three-tiered pyramid

The inner enclosure contains a three-tiered pyramid. On the pyramid’s second level are 12 small sanctuaries grouped around the structure that each used to contain a linga, a representation of Shiva. At the center of each side of the pyramid is a stairway leading to the platform with the five towers. The stairway is guarded on both sides by lion statues.

5 Prangs on the upper platform

The upper platform contains five prangs, the largest one in the center, the outer four smaller ones on the platform’s corners. Each have an entrance door to the East and false doors to the other directions. Originally the towers were fully plastered, some of which still remains. A few devata statues decorate its outer walls.

The lintels contain several depictions, but are in a bad state of repair. The central prang contains a sanctuary room where the most important linga was enshrined. It now contains two Buddha images that were installed there later.

Planning to visit Pre Rup

Temple Facts

  • Date: 961 or 962 (late 10th century AD)
  • Religion: Hinduism
  • Built By: Rajendravarman
  • Dedicated To: Shiva
  • Style: Temple Mountain
  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or Late Afternoon
  • Length of Visit: 30 - 60 minutes
  • Temple Pass: Required (included in the pass to the whole Angkor Complex)


Pre Rup is located south of the East Baray. It’s directly south from the East Mebon temple which is located on an island in the middle of the baray. Both temples were created by Rajendravarman. Pre Rup temple is a few kilometres east of Srah Srang.

Check the location of Pre Rup Temple on the below Google Map for your reference:

Getting There

If you’re coming from Angkor Thom or Ta Prohm, then you should head towards Srah Srang. Continue heading east and you’ll come across Pre Rup on the left side.

If you’re on the Grand Circuit Tour, then you’ll likely visit Pre Rup after East Mebon. In this instance, it will be on the right side before turning towards Srah Srang.

Best time to visit Pre Rup Temple

The best time to visit Pre Rup is the very early morning to catch the sunrise, or late afternoon for the sunset. The Angkor ticket will be checked at the entrance gates.

Pre Rup Tours

Pre Rup is often included on the Angkor Wat Grand Circuit Tour. You can sometimes take a small detour from the small circuit tour if you have the time, but it’s not always included so you should speak to your driver or guide.

If you’re travelling around the temples by yourself, you might want to make a “mini tour” of Ta Prohm, Kutisvara, Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang, Pre Rup, and East Mebon.


You won’t find any accommodation inside the Angkor Park and most guests will find somewhere to stay in Siem Reap. The town has grown to be a large tourist hub and there are many choices for hotels from very small home stays to large 5-star resorts.

If you’re looking for a place to stay for your trip to Siem Reap, often has special offers and deals throughout the year to help you get the most value for money.

Here is our Siem Reap Travel Guide

Why Visit Pre Rup?

There are some great views from the top of Pre Rup. If you look to the east, you will see Phnom Bok and the mountains of Phnom Kulen. On the west, you can see the towers of Angkor Wat on the horizon.

The temple’s many towers and sanctuaries also have a unique look when compared to temples from the same period. If you’re planning a photography trip to Pre Rup, then you should visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is good for the warm colours of the laterite and brick.

The Layout & Design of Pre Rup

Pre Rup dominates the vast plain, which the East Baray irrigated. Contracted on an artificial mountain in laterite with brick towers, the plan is square and comprises two enclosures with four entry towers each and a base with three narrow tiers serving as a pedestal for five towers on the top platform one in each corner and one central. The outer enclosing wall is 127 by 116 meters (417 by 380 feet).

Inside the outer laterite-enclosing wall there are two groups of three towers, one on each side of the entrance; the towers of each group share a common base. The middle tower in each of the two groups dominates and is more developed than the others. It appears that the first tower on the right was never built or, if it was, its bricks were reused somewhere else. The most complete lintel is on the tower at the far left (south) on the east face showing in his avataras a man-lion.

The next enclosure, also made of laterite, has four small entry towers, one on each side Long galleries surround the courtyard on the interior. The walls of these galleries, which have sandstone porches, are built of laterite.

In the courtyard there are vestiges of long rest halls probably used by pilgrims. They have sandstone pillars in the east and laterite walls and windows with balusters in the west. In the northeast corner there is a curious small square building built of large blocks of laterite and open on all four sides. The inscription of the temple was found in gallery near this building.

Temple Foundation

The foundations of Pre Rup are sandstone. But the warm reddish tone of laterite dominates this monument, as enclosure walls and pyramidal tiers are built from this porous volcanic stone. Only Prasat towers and central sections of the Gopuram gates are made of bricks.

Second enclosure

Nine long rectangular laterite buildings run parallel to the wall of the second enclosure. These long structures called galleries are of unknown function. They mark the transition to continuous outer galleries surrounding temple courts, introduced at the next state temple, Ta Keo. Aligned with those nine gallery-edifices there is an unusual small kiosk in the north-east corner. The square structure is built of large blocks of laterite, the laterite roof is well preserved, too. The room is open to all four sides.

The foundation stele of Pre Rup was found nearby, but not inside this kiosk. This famous inscription of Pre Rup is not in situ anymore. Its 298 verses are the longest Sanskrit inscription in ancient Cambodia and in the entire world. Nothing compares to it even in India. It is not only long; it is a masterpiece of classical Sanskrit poetry called Kavya. Almost certainly its poetic elegance is the result of direct contacts with Indians. There was a renaissance of Indian cultural influence at the Khmer court of Rajendravarman II. By the way, this is the first and only inscription in Angkor giving the name of the architect, Kavindrarimathana.


On the left and right sides of the east entry tower of the second enclosure there are libraries with high towers. They sheltered carved stones with motifs of the nine planets and the seven ascetics. In the center there is a vat between two rows of sandstone pillars. Glaize suggested that this might have been, rather than a sarcophagus, a base for a wooden building or for a statue of Nandi, the sacred bull, the mount of Shiva to whom the temple was dedicated.

Central Area (Base & Towers)

The square base has a stairway on each side. Pedestals flanking the stairways are adorned with seated lion of which those on the lower terraces are larger than those on the higher levels. The first two tiers are built of laterite and have simple supporting walls with a molded base and cornice. The third tier is built of sandstone. 

Two supplementary stairways are framed with lions on the east side. Twelve small temples opening to the east and containing linga are evenly spaced around the first tier. The upper platform is raised on a double base of molded sandstone with stairway flanked with lions.

The five central towers on the top platform are open to the east. They all have three false doors made of sandstone and are sculpted with figures and plant motifs. Traces of plaster are visible on the tower in the southwest corner. At the same tower there is a depiction of Saravati, wife of Brahma, with four faces and arms. 

On the west side of this tower there is another divinity with four arms and heads in the form of a wild boar; it is the wife of Vishnu in his avataras as a boar. Figures in the niches are surrounded by flying Apsaras at the corners of the towers. the figures at the two west towers are feminine while those at the east and central towers are masculine.

History & Legend of Pre Rup Temple

Foundation & Expansion

Pre Rup, founded in 961, is the most significant legacy of Rajendravarman II (941-968), who is one of the "big names" among Angkor kings. After empire-founder Jayavarman II, Roluos-founder Indravarman I and Angkor-founder Yashovarman I, King Rajandravarman II can be regarded as the "Angkor-restorer", as he was the one who decided that the capital was returned to Angkor, after a period of political turmoil and of dominance of Koh Ker, where Jayavarman IV had resided.

Rajendravarman did not build his monuments in the area of the first Angkor capital, which was Yashodharapura founded by Yashovarman I, but further eastwards, in the vicinity of Angkor's water reservoir East Baray, which was built already by Angkor's founder Yashovarman, too. 

King Rajendravarman II erected the East Mebon on an island close to the centre of this huge man-made lake, which is dry now, and one decade later the similar, but much more massive Pre Rup, probably in the centre of his new capital.

There is some debate if Pre Rup was a state temple like those more ancient pyramids, such as Bakong in Roluos and Bakheng in Angkor, or a funerary temple, meaning: a kind of tomb pyramid for the king's ashes or in commemoration of his cremation at this site. The earlier East Mebon already was a state temple for the main symbol of the official state cult, the Shiva-Lingam bearing the king's name: Linga Rajendreshvara. 

The Linga venerated at Pre Rup is called Rajendrabhadreshvara. "Rajendreshvara" combines the king’s name with "Ishvara", Shiva as "Lord of the World". Instead of Ishvara Pre Rup’s "Rajendrabhadreshvara" includes the name of Bhadreshvara, who was a local mountain god worshipped at Wat Phu (today’s southern Laos) and at earlier Cham sanctuaries (central Vietnam) and later on at the mountain temple Preah Vihear (Thai border), too. Bhadreshvara was considered to be a manifestation of Shiva, too.

But why a second state temple for a royal Shiva-Lingam? Each of the other significant Angkor kings built only one. Rajendravarman's Mebon was an ancestor temple at the same time. It is not at all uncommon, that ancestor and state temples of Khmer kings were separate structures, as in the case of Preah Ko and Bakong built by Indravarman I in Roluos

Analogous to them the almost flat East Mebon and the pyramidal temple-mountain Pre Rup could have been ancestor and state temple of Rajendravarman II respectively.

Definitely Pre Rup was Rajendravarman's imperial state temple. There is not much evidence that it was his funerary temple as well. The so-called sarcophagus in front of the main stairway of the pyramid was more probably a pavilion that housed Shiva's Nandi bull. The modern Khmer name "Pre Rup" means "turning the body". 

This procedure is part of a cremation rite. But such modern interpretations are not at all reliable sources. The nearby edifices are sometimes called Agni shrines, meaning fire-altars, but they are more likely normal Khmer library structures.

Even if Pre Rup was Rajendravarman's cremation site, this would not mean it could not have been his state temple, too. Khmer temples had not to be restricted to only one purpose. For example, they could be sanctuaries for Shiva worship and ancestor cult at the same time, as in the case of Preah Ko or Baksei Chamkrong earlier on. 

Worshipping the king's power symbol Linga and commemorating the dead king's funeral is not contradictory at all, both is adoration of his almost supernatural status. However, the adoration for Rajendravarman's ancestors was left to the earlier state temple East Mebon

Maybe there was a very simple reason for this ambitious king to build a second state temple: His first one, the not very tall Mebon, was not at all such an impressive artificial mountain as the pyramids of Rajendravarman's predecessors in Roluos, Angkor, and Koh Ker. In order to surpass them he had to create a huger monument, thus another state temple, and he achieved it. 

Pre Rup remained to be the most imposing Khmer monument until the Baphuon was erected one century later on, whereas Ta Keo, the state temple of Rajendravarman's son and successor Jayavarman V, does not fully match in the dimension of Pre Rup.

Modern History

Although rediscovered in the late 19th century, Pre Rup remained overgrown and covered in soil until the 1930s. At this time, it was excavated by French explorers – Henri Marchal and George Trouve. Today, the temple remains in excellent condition.

Pre Rup has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photos of Pre Rup

24-hour response

My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!


Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Khmer Empire’s various capitals thrived here from the 9th to 15th centuries, while their rulers presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. Including forested areas and newly discovered “suburbs” Angkor covers more than 400 square kilometers.

Though just one of hundreds of surviving temples and structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famed of all Cambodia’s temples - it appears on the nation’s flag - and it is revered for good reason. The 12th century “temple-mountain” was built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph laden with artistic treasures like the bas-relief galleries that line many walls and tell enduring tales of Cambodian history and legend.

In other parts of Angkor such art depicts scenes of daily life - offering scholars a precious window into the past.

Reading the below epic guide for Angkor Archaeological Park, you will have all the information you need from its history, maps, best time to visit and so on to have the best out of your Angkor tours


Banteay Kdei Temple (Prasat Banteay Kdei), meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. 

Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII (who was posthumously given the title "Maha paramasangata pada"), it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

This Buddhist monastic complex is currently dilapidated due to faulty construction and poor quality of sandstone used in its buildings and is now undergoing renovation. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries till 1960s.


Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.


Thommanon Temple is a Hindu temple site that's covered in intricate carvings and surrounded by forests in Angkor. The temple is in relatively excellent condition, thanks to extensive restoration work in the 1960s.

It was constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat. The style of architecture is quite evident in the towers and carvings, which are in very good condition. During the rainy season, the dampened sandstone offers great photo opportunities.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex dates back between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is about 600 metres east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, just opposite Chau Say Tevoda. Even before restoration, Thommanon was in much a better condition than Chau Say Tevoda. Unlike the latter, which was built using wooden beams enclosed in stone, Thommanon Temple's entire structure was made out of stone. 


We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below the detailed information for our different destinations, our plans by travel theme or time frame to learn more before moving forward...

places to visit in Cambodia
Siem Reap
bee-white Siem Reap

Tonle Sap Lake
bee-white Tonle Sap Lake

One of the most fish abundant lakes in the world and supports 360 floating villages and thousands of waterbirds.

Phnom Penh
bee-white Phnom Penh

bee-white Battambang

bee-white Sihanoukville

Koh Rong Island
bee-white Koh Rong Island

bee-white Must-see

Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
bee-white Luxury Holiday

Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
bee-white Wellness & Leisure

Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

bee-white Cruise

The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Cycling & Biking
bee-white Cycling & Biking

Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon Vacation
bee-white Honeymoon Vacation

Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

bee-white Unseen

Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
bee-white Trek & Hike

Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family Vacation
bee-white Family Vacation

The combination of fun and educational activities

white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
Already got a plan? REQUEST A FREE QUOTE

Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!
WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Best Time to Visit
bee-white Best Time to Visit
Tourist Visa Policy
bee-white Tourist Visa Policy
Budget & Currency
bee-white Budget & Currency
Getting Flight There
bee-white Getting Flight There
Getting Around
bee-white Getting Around
bee-white Vaccinations
Local Etiquette
bee-white Local Etiquette
Safety & Precautions
bee-white Safety & Precautions
Tipping Customs
bee-white Tipping Customs
Useful addresses
bee-white Useful addresses
Internet & Phone
bee-white Internet & Phone
Buying & Bargaining
bee-white Buying & Bargaining
Packing List
bee-white Packing List
Travel Insurance
bee-white Travel Insurance
bee-white Vietnam
A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
bee-white Thailand
Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
bee-white Laos
Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
back top