11 Jan 2017
Looming large on the road to Angkor is the Angkor National Museum, a state-of-the-art showpiece on the Khmer civilisation and the majesty of Angkor. Displays are themed by era, religion and royalty as visitors move through the impressive galleries. After a short presentation, visitors enter the Zen-like ‘Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas’, which has a fine collection of images. Other exhibits include the pre-Angkorian periods of Funan and Chenla; the great Khmer kings; Angkor Wat; Angkor Thom; and the inscriptions.
Exhibits include touch-screen video, epic commentary and the chance to experience a panoramic sunrise at Angkor Wat, though there seems to be less sculpture on display here than in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. The US$12 admission fee is a little high, given that US$20 buys admission to all the temples at Angkor. That said, it remains a very useful experience for first-time visitors, putting the story of Angkor and the Khmer empire in context before exploring the temples. An audio tour is available for US$3.