exploring beyond angkor wat roluos temples siem reap day trip temples travel guide

Looking for more temples to see with your 3-day Angkor pass? Check out The Roluos Temples! This guide shares how to see them as a day-trip from Siem Reap.

The Roluos Temples are pre-Angkorian, dating back to an even more ancient civilization. Despite their intriguing history, they are often overlooked by travellers, which means they are quieter and more peaceful to explore than the temples inside Angkor Park. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to venture beyond Angkor and explore The Roluos Temples as a day trip from Siem Reap.

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Planning a Trip to Siem Reap

Siem Reap has a bustling tourism industry thanks to its location as the gateway to the temples of Angkor. Here is some essential information for planning your stay in Siem Reap. Jump to find out how to get around the temples.

How to get to Siem Reap

Siem Reap is one of the easiest places to visit in Cambodia with an international airport, and bus routes from across Cambodia. The airport is currently only serving domestic flights (Sept 2022) but, typically, if you are travelling from outside of Cambodia this is how I would recommend getting to Siem Reap.

The city is connected to Phnom Penh and Battambang via bus and train. The day buses from Phnom Penh only take 5 hours, but there is also an overnight bus which is great for those who are short on time. You can book transport online via Baolau* or Cambotickets*, search engines that compare all the travel options to find the best one for you.

💰 $9 from Battambang / $13 from Phnom Penh

Where to stay in Siem Reap

For ease of exploring the town, I recommend staying in the area around the riverfront and Old Market, or near the outskirts of Pub Street. In these areas, you’ll find lots of accommodation options* as well as restaurants, shopping, and tuk-tuk drivers for visiting the temples.

For backpackers, Onederz* is the place to stay. With multiple swimming pools, both dorm and private rooms, and a social vibe; it’s a great place to stay.

For more information on planning a trip to Siem Reap, check out my Quick Guide to Siem Reap.

Exploring Beyond Angkor: The Roluos Temples

The temples of Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei are collectively known as the Roluos Temples. Built during the late 9th century, this trio of pre-Angkorian temples is situated about 13km east of Siem Reap city, in the modern-day town of Roluos.

Due to their location and scale, they are less visited than the iconic temples of Angkor Wat, or Bayon, but if you are interested in history they make for an interesting day trip where you can witness the temple design that shaped the Angkorian temples!

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Preah Ko Temple

The first temple you come to in this trio of pre-Angkorian temples is Preah Ko Temple. The name translates to the temple of the sacred bull, so named for the three kneeling bulls facing the towers. Preah Ko was the first temple to be built in this area, dating back to 879, and was one of the first permanent structures built by the Khmer empire.

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Bakong Temple

The next temple in the trio of temples at Roluos is Bakong Temple, the first-ever mountain temple in Cambodia. My mum and I loved exploring Bakong Temple as it felt so much more manageable than the other temple mountains we had explored during our three days in Siem Reap.

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The style is quite unique and can be seen a lot throughout later temples built in Angkor, including Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple and Phnom Bakheng. These so-called “mountain temples” are built from stepped layers, kind of like a pyramid, reaching up to a pinnacle shrine.

The design is thought to have been inspired by temples in Java, Indonesia, as it closely resembles Borobudur Temple which was built around the same period.

Lolei Temple

The final temple on our day trip from Siem Reap was Lolei Temple, the last temple built in the Roluos area.

We found this to be the least impressive of the 3 temples, partly because it is small in scale but also because it was under restoration when we visited (2019). Despite this, it remained a welcome slice of peace and quiet after the bustling temples of Angkor.

How to get to The Roluos Temples

To explore the Roluos Temples, I recommend renting a tuk-tuk for the day as this trio of temples is located 13km outside of Siem Reap.

Where to rent a tuk-tuk in Siem Reap

As one of the main modes of transport, finding a tuk-tuk in Siem Reap is no challenge. The old town market area is a great place to head to find a driver to take you on a loop around the Roluos Temples. Alternatively, you can book a drive for the day through Grab App, though it might cost you slightly more than booking directly with a driver in town.

💰 $15 – 20 per tuk-tuk

Map route to The Roluos Temples

The Roluos temples are located 13km east of Siem Reap, in the modern-day town of Roluos. The route to Roluos is more-or-less a straight shot and local tuk-tuk drivers will know how to take you to the temples. Click the star next to the map title to save it to your Google Drive for later.

The Lowdown on visiting The Roluos Temples

This day trip is perfect for history buffs that aren’t templed out after by exploring Angkor Park and is a great way to make use of the final day of your 3-day Angkor Pass.

🛺 Rent a tuk-tuk in Siem Reap to take you around The Roluos Temples
💰 $15 – 20 for a tuk-tuk plus your Angkor Pass
⏰ 3 – 4 hours to drive and explore each temple (half a day)

If you’re looking to explore more of the temples in Siem Reap, beyond the temples of Angkor Wat, then The Roluos Temples are for you!

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exploring beyond angkor wat roluos temples siem reap day trip temples travel guide
exploring beyond angkor wat roluos temples siem reap day trip temples travel guide

Planning a Trip to Cambodia

For more information on planning a trip to Siem Reap and other destinations in Cambodia, be sure to check out my Complete Cambodia Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country.

✍️ A Quick Guide to Siem Reap
✍️ 5 Tips for Visiting Angkor Wat
✍️ 3 Day Itinerary for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.

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