PAGODAS IN SIEM REAP
If you want to experience and know more about the lives of buddhist monks you can visit one of the pagodas in Siem Reap town.
The monks will welcome you and you may even be invited to watch their shanting during a ceremony. Usually, buddhist monks are really open-minded to other cultures and will be happy to tell you their life story or show you around at the pagoda.
These are the most important pagodas in Siem Reap:
- Wat Damnak
- Wat Bo
- Wat Preah Prom Rath
- Wat Thmei
Wat Damnak is the biggest Pagoda in Siem Reap. Wat Damnak means palace which it also was during the reign of King Sisowath. Many Buddhist Monks live in this Pagoda. It is located almost opposite the old Market, on the other side of the river. In Wat Damnak you will also find a primary public school and Life and Hope Association (lifeandhopeangkor.org) has here its office.
You can just walk in and look around. Don't hesitate to speak to the monks when you see them. Just be polite and they will be happy to show you around in their pagoda and to explain their living conditions. Most of them are well educated and will also be able to tell you more about the Buddhist rules and way of living. For women there are a few rules to respect when meeting a monk: don't dress to sexy, cover your shoulders and don't touch the monk.
Wat Bo pagoda was built in the 18th century and is therefore the oldest pagoda in town. The wall paintings in the Vihear are very special because they don't only present religieus scenes but also scenes of Cambodians daily living. It is only a pitty that the wall painting aren't in such a good condition. To keep them for many more years they should be restored.
In Wat Bo you have also like in Wat Damnak a public school. Around lunch time and late afternoon you see the children running out of the school when the bell rings. Wat Bo has also it's own radiostation and Buddhist highschool where the monks can complete their education.
WAT PREAH PROM RATH
Wat Preah Prom Rath is one of most beautiful pagodas in Siem Reap. It is located on the river side near the old Market. The monestry has many fine, colourful wall paintings and you will find many modern statues inside. The pagoda was establisched in 1915 and is therefore one of the youngest pagodas in Siem Reap.
Inside you will see often many monks in the early morning or late afternoon. They follow Boeddhist courses and English classes in this pagoda.
The small stupa at Wat Thmei contains mortal remains of the Khmer Rouge. The stupa contains skulls and bones of the victims that died during Pol Pot regime. It is not a nice sight but it gives you an idea of how cruel this regime was.
We listed the most important pagodas in Siem Reap but there are also others that could be of interest to you. Wat Kesararam has also beautiful, coloured wall paintings inside. Wat Po Lanka, Wat Athvea and Wat Preah Inkosei are also worth visiting if you want to get inspired by the Buddhist religion.