One of the earliest temples in the region, Bakong was built in tiers within a strict geometric matrix, a style recognizable in the later Angkor Wat. Though significantly smaller than that complex, Bakong has a charm all its own.
The central temple rises on 5 tiers and was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It dates to 881 AD, though the tower which forms its focal point was added much later.
Around two dozen graceful, free-standing “satellite” temples dot the grounds in various states of repair, some garnished with jungle growth. Stupas reflect the temple’s later embrace of Buddhism, while an adjacent monastery ensures the site retains its spiritual significance into the present day.
Bakong, along with Lolei and Preah Ko, is in the Roluos group of temples, off National Highway 6 which heads west out of Siem Reap.